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Jump, hop and a skip away from a good cause

Bainbridge Island Rope Skippers Sarah Sharman, Kelsey Gonwick and Jessica Fay perform at the 2012 USA Jump Rope National Competition.   - Courtesy of Hannah Sprague
Bainbridge Island Rope Skippers Sarah Sharman, Kelsey Gonwick and Jessica Fay perform at the 2012 USA Jump Rope National Competition.
— image credit: Courtesy of Hannah Sprague

It’s about more than jumping. It’s about more than tricks.

And it’s about more than getting your competition on the ropes.

This week, it will be about good cause.

“Jump rope is kind of an underrated sport,” said Bainbridge High student Hannah Sprague. “We’ve always tried to promote it and get kids on the island interested in it. This takes it to a whole other level.”

BHS seniors Ally Clement and Hannah Sprague, and members of the award-winning Bainbridge Island Rope Skippers team, are welcoming all to come experience their impressive talent at “One World One Rope, One Night!”

The two teens hope that the audience will open their hearts to the sport — and their wallets to a good cause.

“We’re fundraising for One World One Rope,” Clement said. “What they do is raise money for children to come over from different countries to go to the world competition, and for jumpers from the U.S. to go to Kenya and Tanzania to teach kids there.”

One World One Rope, One Night! will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 19 in the high school’s Paski Gym. The Bainbridge Island Rope Skippers will perform a range of jump roping feats, along with special guests from Kirkland’s Team Hot Dog.

“We’ve done halftime shows in the past, like at halftime at basketball shows. This will be that, times 10,” Clement said. “We’ve got longer, different, cooler, more-exciting routines.”

Donations collected at the event will benefit the One World One Rope nonprofit.

One World One Rope promotes the sport of jump roping to kids in Tanzania and Kenya. It aims to benefit communities in those countries by imparting leadership skills and a healthy lifestyle.

One jumper to take a hold of such inspiration is Hamisi Kondo from Tanzania. He has taken his love of the sport leaps and bounds and now jumps with Team Hot Dog from Kirkland.

Kondo and three other Hot Dogs — Brian Hsu, Robbie Csontos and Kevin Canady — will be a special feature at the Bainbridge event. They will display the skills that have taken the team around the world, from Africa to Hong Kong.

“Having the boys will have a big impact,” Clement said. “They can do stuff that people can’t even imagine you can do with a jump rope.”

The event is the culmination of Clement and Sprague’s senior project. Each high school student is tasked with a project during their senior year that demonstrates an involvement with their community.

The project also offers an opportunity to truly display the sport.

The girls noted that they usually don’t get to feature the full breadth of what they do as skippers at events such as half time shows. One World One Rope, One Night! is an ideal opportunity for people to get the full picture of what the sport of jump rope is all about.

“At this show we want to show off all the different things that we can do,” Sprague said. “Normally for halftime shows we do little snippets of our routines. This will have our full routines that we compete with.”

In fact, the skippers will take the routines they showcase that night and compete with them the very next day at a regional competition.

“For competitions, it’s much different than other sports where you play one game and that’s it,” Clement said. “For jump rope, you have many different events — single rope, Double Dutch speed — all those you have to practice and be ready for.”

But the sport has brought the girls more than just a healthy hobby and the thrill of fierce competition. The jump rope community has become a part of who they are.

“I started jump roping in third grade. I was in soccer and gymnastics before that and I loved the sports; they were fun and good exercise. But jump roping is a whole different community and it was just more tight-knit,” Clement said. “I’ve grown up with it for many years.”

Sprague has a similar story to tell.

“I started in fifth grade,” Sprague said. “I did other sports, too, soccer and softball, but as things got busier it was really hard to figure out what I had time to do. Jump rope has been the one thing that has always been there.”

“We’ve all become such a tight-knit family,” she added.

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