Double Dutch girls top athletes, scholars

August 28, 2008 6:59:18 PM PDT
Whether you jump rope for fun or fitness, Double Dutch has to be the ultimate challenge the sport has to offer.And the Pink Panthers of south suburban Markham have taken it to new heights. Joyce Dickerson organized the team four years ago.

"Double Dutch is a sport from when I was a little girl that we just did on the street all day long...and it was just a sport now that they're not having recess in school anymore it was a sport I wanted to bring it back to life," said Joyce Dickerson, team founder.

Working out at the Hazel Crest Park District Field House, the team began with just four members now 60 are involved.

"We get to meet other people from around the world Japan and people from Canada. A lot of people; it's very interesting, see a lot of new tricks and everything," said Michelle Cagle, team member.

"I think you just have to just be yourself and just jump because you want to have fun and I think that's what you would have to do," said Tia Baldwin, team member.

In their first two years of competition, the Pink Panthers were ranked among the top Double Dutch teams in the world-- a category that includes Japan, China and Germany.

August 2nd in Detroit, Michigan, the team won a gold medal competing against 250 teams from around the globe, which makes them the world champions.

"To get to the championship it took a lot of hard work and discipline you have to really be dedicated to do this sport," said Dajae Robinson, team member.

Girls are not only athletic achievers, they excel in school, too, where they all are above a 3 point average.

"It teaches me about time management and how to maintain good grades at school and its gives you something to look forward to," said Carissa Townsend, team member.

"I find it a privilege and an honor to be in front of the girls," said Joyce Dickerson. "I look for the day when a jumper will come back and say because of this team I am where I am today."

To learn more about the Pink Panthers, visit pinkpanthersdoubledutch.com


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