I grew up in a city. Not THE city, my beloved Manhattan, but not too far away either. Jersey City, NJ – a place of few yards, asphalt playgrounds and alleyways. And in the 70s, in the city, you played outdoors. All day long. In the streets. My brothers played Wiffle Ball, Steal the Bacon and some game that involved a pink high bouncing ball and a wall. I jumped rope. And lip synced to the Grease soundtrack, but that’s not germane to this post.
So I know from jump roping. But I never saw someone jump rope like Mark Rothstein. Courtesy of our two committed physical education teachers, Mark spent an entire day at our school on Friday, performing his rope tricks and involving each and every student in a subsequent jump rope workshop.
Tres impressive. But much, much more impressive was his ability to have the entire school population, sitting in a darkened room, eating out of the palm of his hand for the duration. He was able to take the screams of excitement from over 300 students and in an instant turn them into the stunned silence of an enraptured audience. And he found a way to incorporate those oh-so-important-especially-in-these-times character words into his performance, including integrity, kindness and respect.
And so, yet again, the students in my school were given an experience, and not just a lesson. I. love. it. If you’re wondering, I did do some jumping. In my classroom, with my students, wearing heeled boots. And I did 10 nicely formed jumps in a row. Not too shabby. No photographic evidence exists. Just the way I like it.