Elementary team has fun but takes skills seriously

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Criss-cross and double unders are some of Madison Robinson’s favorite jump rope tricks.

“Double unders is where the rope goes under your feet two times,” Robinson said.

And criss-cross is where the jump roper crosses the rope in front of him or her while jumping, she said.

Robinson, a fourth-grader at Margaret R. Brown Elementary, is a member of the school’s longstanding jump rope team, the Brown Bouncing Bears.

Coached by teacher Tiffany Thurston, a former Bouncing Bear herself, the team is made up of nearly 30 students in first through fifth grades. They practice once or twice a week, learning different tricks and routines, and perform at community events and gatherings.

The team will be performing during halftime at the Seymour boys varsity basketball game Dec. 14 and the girls varsity basketball game Dec. 15.

“We’re not a competition team,” Thurston said. “But that doesn’t mean the kids don’t take it seriously. They practice at home and after school. They work hard and have a lot of fun, too.”

Thurston said because a lot of students move in and out of the Brown district and they lose jumpers after fifth-grade, it can be a challenge to keep the same kids on the team.

“There’s a high turnover rate. We lose students. We get new ones. But when they are on the team, they are committed to doing their very best,” she said.

On Nov. 10, the team participated in a workshop at Seymour High School, led by the elite and world-ranked Indy Air Bears jump rope team from Indianapolis.

“It was an honor to be able to work with them,” Thurston said. “They were our mentor team when we started back in the early ‘90s.”

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