(Copyright @ The Hartford Courant 2001)
A lot of jumping is going on inside the Roger Wolcott Early Childhood Center.
The center on East Wolcott Avenue is home to many after-school and summer programs, and for the past seven weeks it has also been the home of the Doublicious double-Dutch team.
Head Coach Lisa Williamson and Assistant Coach Lisa Williams run Doublicious. Williamson, a mother of five, also runs both the double Dutch rope-jumping program and the drill team at Windsor High School. She is also a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves and head of the security at the high school.
“That’s how I got most of the girls this summer,” Williamson said. “They either came from the high school, or they heard about this through word of mouth.”
Karla Dunkley, 15, is also on the high school team, but jumping rope is not all she is interested in.
“I’m doing this now because it’s good exercise for my legs,” Dunkley said. “I’ll be joining soccer during the school year.”
Double-Dutch jumping uses two ropes at the same time, one turned clockwise and the other counterclockwise, creating an eggbeater effect
. It started about 300 years ago, according to information Williamson passes out to the new girls that explains the history of double Dutch and shows the proper ways to jump. In 1973, two New York City Community Affairs police officers organized the first American Double Dutch League Tournament.
Most of the girls knew how to jump rope before they joined the team, but those who don’t are not turned away.
“Lisa [Williams] teaches the smaller kids how to jump double Dutch,” says Jazmine Maldonado, 12. “She’s very patient and encouraging with them.”
Williams works for the Windsor Police Department.
Doublicious meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m. Warm- ups begin at 6:30 p.m. and the girls get organized and stretch to the beat of the music. Then they split up into age-defined groups to practice routines that will help them improve speed, coordination, strength, endurance and teamwork.
Doublicious members come from Windsor and other Hartford area towns. They include Robin Adams, 13; Jaleesa Ashley, 13; Temesha Brooks, 14; Whitney Brown, 13; Shaleah Carr, 14; La’vosha Chandles, 10; Kassandra Chichedjian, 9; Lenore Clarke, 9; Keisha Clay, 11; Alex Cruz, 10; Nascalia Dillon; 10, Karla Dunkley, 15; Jessica Jackson, 13; Shanelle Lawrence, 15; Suequanna Lewis, 17; Latoya McGregor, 13; Bianica Maldonado, 14; Tiffany Mason, 13; Daminica McGregor, 13; Emily Sanchez, 10; Neshea Sinclair, 6; Judine Sweeney, 15; Tenesha Thompson, 14; Donella Turmon,16; Kareema Wilcox, 15; Jazmine Maldonado,12; Nishel Thompson,11; Patreece Eady,10; Carmen Millan,11; Shanice King,13; Kelly Jackson,15; and Andrea Ramsey,10.
Alex Cruz is the only boy on the team, a fact Williamson is striving to change.
“Double Dutch is not only for girls. We are trying hard to bring in boys, but our efforts are bringing in slow results,” she said.
Williamson plans to keep the team going throughout the school year, getting the team ready to compete in the spring in the American Double Dutch League.
Others are encouraged to join the team during the school year. Although requirements say members should be in 5th through 12th grade, younger kids can join to practice with the team.
The youngest member now is Neshea Sinclair, 6, who did not know how to jump before she joined the team. Williams, who spends a lot of time with the child, taught her.
Neshea is too young to join in competitions, but she jumps and trains with the others.
“Our goal is to train her as one of the rest,” said Williams. “That way when it’s her time, she’ll be ready.”
For information, call Lisa Williamson at 860-523-7238.