Jumping through Life


Jumping Through Life:

Lessons Learned from Jumping Rope

The Bouncing Bulldogs program is a competitive jump rope team based in the Triangle area. The program’s senior captains for the 2022–2023 season were Holly Copeland and I, Ariana Mason.

The program was founded with the goal of promoting “jumping rope for fun and fitness, and to help all children grow physically, emotionally, socially, and academically.” Along with these founding ideals, the team also has ten core values. Through the years Holly and I have learned so much from practicing these values. We learned from others, and now we have the privilege to pass on all we have learned to the next generation of jumpers.

Discipline. Fourteen and twelve, respectively—those are the years that Holly Copeland and I have been jump roping with the Bouncing Bulldogs. Throughout those time periods, we’ve had practices six days out of the week on a regular basis, and seven days during competition season, even waking up for morning practices at 6 a.m. I would definitely consider myself a morning person now! I enjoy completing work before the day starts, and I honestly think a large part of that is due to jump rope.  Members of the international jump rope team as young as second grade can start traveling for competitions. Everyone travels with and stays with the team, so we were taught to keep up with our belongings at a young age.

Teamwork. Jump rope is a sport that is easy to do individually, but the majority of events are group and team-based events. Groups are set at the start of each competition season and rearranged when necessary. Holly and I have been jumping together since we were in fourth grade. At first we were only in main group events together, but over the years we became Chinese Wheel partners (a style of jump rope involving two ropes moved at alternating times). One of my favorite jump rope memories is when we competed in Norway in 2019. Holly and I hit a clean routine and the judges smiled at us when we finished. It was definitely a highlight for me. 


Three young Bouncing Bulldog girls in matching pink t-shirts with a rope skipping workshop logo, smiling together in a gymnasium with sports banners in the background.On Page Image


Respect. The Bouncing Bulldogs program is a peer-led and peer-run organization. Because of this, high levels of respect run between all team members. As a younger jumper, you’re taught to listen to and respect your older teammates, especially when traveling. It can be scary to travel on your own, away from your parents for the first time, but listening to and respecting the older kids helps make it easier. They’ve been through it before, and they know what to expect and how to ease the tension. Reflecting back, Holly says, “At my second-ever competition, I roomed with Kenzie, and she taught me a bunch of card games that she would always do with her roommate. I started collecting cards from the places I’ve been and then teach the little kids I room with the same card games, especially when they’re feeling homesick.”

Leadership. Because the Bouncing Bulldogs is a peer-led organization, there are ample opportunities to lead. Holly and I have had the opportunity to be on the Journalism Committee (responsible for publishing every quarter) since middle school. At first, we learned under the guidance of Trinity alum, Ragan Copeland ’20, but now we’re co-editors and are able to teach the next generation how to format a newsletter, choose topics, and interview subjects.

Attitude. Spending time in the gym and around the younger kids, I’ve learned how to have and strive for a positive attitude in all situations. I remember when I was first learning how to teach, one of the older kids said to me, “Always push yourself to have a positive attitude. You might have had a bad day at school, but the kids don’t know that. You have an impact on their day and their self-confidence, so push yourself to be positive and set a good example.”  Those words hit home with me.

Every now and then, whenever I’ve had a bad day and struggle to find the energy to think positively, I think back on those words.

Perseverance. Jumpers that are part of the Bouncing Bulldogs competitive team can spend anywhere from three to seven days per week in the gym. As routines are prepared before the competition date, a lot of time goes into their creation—which often means lots of time spent at practice, repping and perfecting them. Reflecting on her years of jumping, Holly says, “It is not uncommon for me to spend more time at the jump rope gym than I do at my own home, especially during competition season. Many people ask me why I do what I do, and to the extent that I do it. The best answer I can give is that I was raised to finish what I started, and I can’t imagine what my life would look like without this sport and my jump rope family.” 

Trust. Trust between teammates is essential. There are some individual events in jump rope, but the majority are group events. Holly notes, “One of the best feelings I get at jump rope competitions is the trust I have in my teammates. Even though I know the number of hours we worked to prepare for a certain event, it takes mental fortitude to walk on any stage and know that your teammates will always have your back.” Jumping together require trust, not only in ability, but also in communicating when the group should practice and whether skills in a routine should be changed.

Time Management. Members of the team are jumpers, but they’re also students. They’re employees and they have social lives and lots going on. They learn how to manage their time well in order to excel not only at the sport, but also in their studies, and in all areas of life. We have morning and evening practices, sometimes both in the same day, so for me it was essential to learn how to budget my time. I couldn’t afford to be disorganized, and I like the structure jump rope has brought to my life.

Growth. From day one, jump rope at the Bouncing Bulldogs Community Center is all about personal improvement. The message is never to compare yourself to someone else, but instead to recognize that we’re all different and grow at different rates, which is perfectly okay. Holly remembers her first competition in second grade: “I was the youngest team member competing that year, and the only one to not receive an award. I also remember one of the older kids giving me a pep talk when she saw that I was upset, reminding me that if I continued to work hard and not compare myself to the other jumpers who had earned their awards, I too would have stacks of medals hanging around my neck one day. The most important lesson I learned, though, was not about how to win more awards, but the patience and persistence to grow into the jumper I knew I could be.”

Communication. There’s always something going on with the Bouncing Bulldogs. Whether it’s an international competition in Portugal or a halftime show for UNC, something is always happening, and as captains Holly and I need to lead them. It’s imperative that we stay in communication with each other to make sure we’re on the same page. Whenever one of us has to miss a practice, or needs to work on something, we always make sure to tell each other, so we’re able to lead as a team.

In conclusion, I can say that Holly and I have been deeply shaped by and have learned so much from our time with the Bouncing Bulldogs. None of it would be possible without our coach, Ray N. Fredrick, Jr. Coach Frederick also appreciates them: “Holly and Ari are hard workers, organized, amazing communicators, and they both are able to deal with stressful situations consistently while staying true to the mission statement and the core values of the program, and also to themselves.”  We are forever grateful to our coach and team, and we look forward to seeing where our jumping will lead us as we head off to college next fall.