NYC DATA: Double Dutch Jump Rope

Double Dutch

Double Dutch is a street game where two jump ropes are held at two ends and turned in an eggbeater fashion. While the ropes are turned, one or more players jump over them. This game requires a lot of coordination and quick reaction.

It is believed that the origins of this game go back to ancient Phoenician, Egyptian and Chinese rope makers. They walked backwards with a bunch of hemp tied to their waist, and two strands of this hemp were attached to a wheel. The hemp was supplied by the runners who had to jump the twisted rope. These runners had to have fast feet, good eye perception and agile bodies in order to perform their task. It is possible that this ancient technique of rope making has evolved into a game.

In later times, Dutch settlers on the Hudson River brought the game to the town of New Amsterdam (now New York City). When the English arrived, they saw the children of these Dutch settlers playing the game, hence the name – Double Dutch. The game has since grown into a popular urban pastime. However, it became virtually non existent by the late 1950s, due to lack of recreational space around NYC.

In 1973, David Walker, a NYC Police Community Affairs detective at the time, joined forces with partner, Detective Ulysses Williams to breathe a second life into the sport. They developed the game into a competitive team sport and the first Double Dutch Tournament was held in February 1974. The American Double Dutch League was formed by David Walker around the same time and the sport has grown in popularity, both nationally and internationally ever since. Double Dutch Jump Rope is a popular fixture at the Annual Street Games event hosted by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Every year, during the month of December, the National Double Dutch League sponsors a holiday classic competition dedicated to founder, David Walker.

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