New York City high schools have added an unconventional new varsity sport: double Dutch, an advanced style of jump rope in which competitors leap between two twirling ropes. School officials say adding double Dutch is a good way to get more kids involved in sports. By next year, they expect to have at least 10 teams competing citywide.
The game was brought to New York in colonial times by the Dutch and has been competitive in New York since the 1970s. It has recently grown in popularity, especially in Japan, and teams from around the globe compete annually at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
But so far, New York City is the only school district in the United States to adopt it as a sanctioned sport. "Our hope is that other districts will follow our lead and create their own leagues," says Eric Goldstein, chief executive of the city's Public School Athletic League. "Then we could have intercity double Dutch championships!"