USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘jump-rope’
Game
general

Burlap Jump Rope- Colombia

Informant (“M”) is a 52 year old woman from Bogota, Colombia. She moved to the United States in 1992, at the age of 30. She has two kids, a boy and a girl, who she raised in the United States. She has four siblings, two brothers and two sisters, she was the second born. She has a 102 year old Grandmother. Collection was over Skype.

Collector will be specified as “S”.

 

Transcript:

“M:  We had a game that, I don’t know como se dice en ingles, it’s with the rope. Rope?

S: Yeah, like a jump rope?

M: Yeah. We played at recess every single day when I was in third grade, yeah. I remember very specific.

S: What sort of rules did the game have?

M: The rules is that you jump, and when you jump if you get stuck in the rope, you are out.

S: Did they use two ropes or one rope, was there a song that you sang?

M: You only used one rope, there was one person on one side, and someone on another, and you was moving the rope around.

S: You didn’t sing anything?

M: We count, either the person that was in the middle had to count, even if it made them tired.

M: Yeah the person who can jump for the more long time would win. But sometimes we moved the rope very fast, it was one way we made the person lose, because there was no way the person in the middle could jump that fast. But Colombia we used a specific rope, not the plastics or synthetics. It’s made with wheat, what is the name of that plant, the thing that they make of those bags that they store coffee. Very famous in Colombia. Let me look….

(Uses search engine to find name)

M: Burlap, that used to hurt a lot when it hit your legs. YEAH, it was very painful. Burns and it gave you marks in the legs, because we had a school uniform, skirts, and they hit you in the legs.

S: Just one more question, was the person in the middle usually a girl or guy, or both?

M: Doesn’t matter boy or girl, it was a mix, a mixed game.“

 

Analysis:

The game seems like a very standard version of jump rope, similar to ‘Double-Dutch’ played in the United States. The use of Burlap was emphasized by  ‘M’ because of how painful it had made the game, resulting in pain when the jumper lost, possibility attaching an extra ‘cost’ to losing the game. The moving the rope ‘extra fast’ combined with the pain generated by the sort of rope may have acted as a form of teasing among students.

The use of burlap is very common in Colombia, notably used on coffee bags (as the speaker noted), which is a hallmark of Colombian identity.

Childhood
Game

Coffee and Tea jump rope song

My informant from Jacksonville, Florida gave me a second jump rope rhyme:

“I like coffee, I like tea, I like [person’s name] to play with me. [that person jumps in and their name is spelled in rhythm to the song.”

Unlike the Cinderella rhyme, I had not heard this version. When I was growing up, the rhyme we sang was “I like coffee, I like tea, I like boys and they like me. Yes, No, Maybe so. Yes, No, Maybe so… [kept going until the jumper messed up]”. Both rhymes have the same beginning and same rhythm, but the outcomes are different. In the version collected from my informant, a second person who was called on had to jump in with the first. In the version I played, the jumper kept jumping while everyone playing chanted yes, no, maybe so. Whichever one was being said when the person messed up their jumping or got caught in the rope, was the fate of the person. I played these jump rope games when I was in third grade, the same age as my informant. These games were important to me because it helped build friendships. I had certain people that I played jump rope with on a day to day basis. It was also a big part of “recess culture” to know the songs, and not different versions. I came across this a lot when I moved around from state to state when I was in elementary school. I found that different regions of the country have similar songs, but are slightly different. Knowing the songs being sung during jump rope was very important for a girl’s ability to participate in the games. Jump rope culture also developed as there were certain groups of girls that always played jump rope and there were certain jump ropes that were “better” than others, so girls would race to our bucket of toys to claim the best jump rope as recess was starting. These collections were interesting because I was able to compare them to my childhood experience and compare the songs and the actual performance of jumping rope as my informant demonstrated to me. I also found how difficult it is to swing the rope exactly right when out of practice, and my informant had to correct me a lot in my technique of rope turning.

Game

Cinderella Jump Rope Song

My informant is the same as the nose game entry. Setting is outside in my yard over spring break, and the weather was very cold. She is 8 years old, from Jacksonville Florida. She attends a small Catholic school there. My informant plays this jump rope game on the playground with her friends. She sang the song for me and we also went outside and she demonstrated how she plays the game.

“Cinderella dressed in yella went upstairs to kiss a fella. By mistake she kissed a snake, how many doctors did it take? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5..”

My informant demonstrated the jump rope game for me. A long rope is used and two people hold one end and one person is jumping to the time of the rhyme. My informant had me and another person hold the two ends while she demonstrated the jumping. I asked her who plays the game and she replied that her and her friends play. I asked her if boys played and she said no. One time a boy in her class tried it but was really bad at it- boys usually play kickball at her school. The girl who is jumping will either start standing next to the rope, or will “jump in,” if they are more experienced. The swingers chant “one, two, three and over,” swinging the rope over the jumper’s head and they begin singing the song. The alternative way to start is where the rope is swung to a beat and then jumper runs in at the right time and starts jumping. My informant showed me both ways, but had a little more difficulty running in. My informant claims to have learned the song in first grade (she is now in third grade) and has been playing ever since. This collection was interesting for me because I sang the same song when I was growing up, even though I grew up in a different state. It was interesting to see that the song is conserved across the country. However, when I played we did not chant “one, two, three, and over” to start a game. This was a game predominantly played by girls when I played at recess as well.

Childhood
Game

Jump Rope Dogsledding

My informant remembers playing this game during recess in elementary school. She and her friends were especially fond of it during second grade. The following is her account of it:

One kid is the “musher”, and he or she holds one handle of the jump rope in each hand. Two or three (depending on the length of the jump rope) other children are the “huskies” who stand in a line with the rope of the jump rope wrapped around them. The “musher” stands at the back of the line. The “musher” calls out: “Mush!” and the “huskies” begin to run. The children run around the playground like this, pretending to be a dogsledding team.

Sometimes there are “dogsled races” in which two or more “dogsledding teams” will race each-other on the playground. I was on a particular “dogsledding” team that only lost twice. It is a game played for pride, not actual prizes. Often the more dominant child will be the “musher”, and the more submissive children will be the “huskies”. Some children will take turns, rotating between who is the “musher” and who are the “huskies”, but usually a dominant “musher” will remain in that position for the majority of recess. Being the lead “husky” not the most desirable position, since the first child usually gets rope burns on their stomach from straining to run against the jump-rope. Some “mushers” will snap the rope to get the “huskies” to run faster.

I remember playing this game when I was in elementary school as well. I always liked to be the “musher” because I was a very bossy child. I remember that when my team would race against another, we would first have to designate where we were racing to, since there was no common racing path that we all used. This was a game often played in the spring, even though we mimicked a winter sport. This may have been due to the shortage of jump ropes in the winter, since they are usually a spring and summer toy. I believe this game is important because it allows the children to work on their team-working skills while using their imagination. While it was fun, it also brought about a lot of problems. Often the teachers would ban the game because kids would pull too hard on the ropes and hurt the other children. Some kids even began to whip one-another with a jump rope once after they lost a race.

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