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Might as well JUMP!: Island rope skippers to appear in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Abigail Harrison and Anna Warga practice their Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade routine in the gymnasium of Woodward Middle School in their event uniforms on Monday.  - Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review
Abigail Harrison and Anna Warga practice their Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade routine in the gymnasium of Woodward Middle School in their event uniforms on Monday.
— image credit: Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a much-loved seasonal tradition that marks the official beginning of the holidays, by anyone’s calendar. The parade is attended by millions and watched by even more, but this year a trio of young ladies from Bainbridge Island will be a little closer than most.

In fact, they’re going to “jump” right in.

Among the 200 jump rope athletes from around the nation who are performing in this year’s 87th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are Abigail Harrison, Molly Harrison and Anna Warga of the Bainbridge Island Rope Skippers.

Organized by the Heartbeats Jump Rope Team in Cleveland, Ohio, the group will appear under the acronym J.U.M.P. (Jumpers United for Macy’s Parade).

Jump rope is a national competitive sport that has been featured on television on ESPN Sports, FOX Sports and many others and is gaining in popularity across the country.

“It’s an amazing sport,” said Bainbridge High senior Abigail Harrison. “And the community around it is great.”

Anna Warga, a BHS junior, agreed.

“You get to push yourself creatively and design new tricks and routines,” Warga said.

Previously, in 2009, the parade featured 140 jumpers from around the country ages 12 to 24. Several athletes from Bainbridge Island Rope Skippers were there, including Harrison.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “We hadn’t been able to be a part of the parade for a few years.”

Now the act is being revived for this year’s event.

“We leave for New York on Sunday,” said Warga. “We get Monday to ourselves, and start practice two times a day on Tuesday.”

With 200 people jumping rope in sync while walking in step with a massive parade, the organizational challenges become immediately evident and the need to practice is paramount for success. All participants have already learned the parade routine, but Tuesday is going to be the first time they all try it together.

“It’s a lot to organize,” Harrison said. “Getting the whole group together is a lot.”

While jumping rope is often recommended as an accompaniment to an exercise routine or athletic training regiment, some people may be surprised that it’s such a popular sport unto itself. The girls both agree that if you want to jump rope, there’s no replacement exercise: You just have to jump.

“It’s mainly just jumping,” Warga said. “It’s our sport.”

The participating athletes will be jumping rope while walking and performing many tricks in unison for the entire 2½-mile course that winds through the city in front of a crowd that often numbers more than 3 million.

Are they nervous?

Yes.

But not about what you might think.

As it turns out, the scariest part for these world-class rope skippers is finding their place in line.

“It’s going to be pretty hard,” Warga said. “We’re right in the middle somewhere.”

Excitement easily outweighs the nerves, however, and the island athletes are looking forward to representing their hometown in the parade.

“I’ve always watched the parade ever year,” Harrison said.

Warga said the parade is an important part of the holidays and is looking forward to the trip.

“Being in New York at this time of year,” she said, “it’s going to be so festive.”

The Bainbridge Island Rope Skippers often hold workshops and instructional events for those interested in trying their hand at this fun and challenging sport. For more information visit www.facebook.com and search “Bainbridge Island Rope Skippers.”

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade begins at 9 a.m. and is broadcast nationally by NBC and locally by KING 5. Check your local listings.

 

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