“One, two, three, dance with a tree,” she said as she skipped. Jump roping is what Carol did every morning before school. Carol was not the richest kid on the block but her family made due with what they had. She had earned enough money from doing odd jobs to buy a blue jump rope. It was her favorite thing in the world.
Carol was eight years old and had five jubilant brothers and sisters. Everyday after school her mom went to work and she took care of the little ones. Her younger brother, Jack, was the man of the house. He was just one year younger than her. Most of the time he needed help with his homework. Her younger sister, Sarah, who was three years old, was as cute as a newborn kitten. Her hair was as red a cardinal’s feather, her eyes were brown, and she had an absolutely adorable nose. Amanda, 2 years old, had big brown eyes. She was always whining and crying. She was hard to please. The last of her siblings was Brownie -- the sweetest, little, black boy. His brown eyes, brown hair, and love of brownies earned him his nickname. He stayed in one place as long as he had a brownie.
Carol always loved blue. She wore a blue dress every day to school, as well as a dainty blue ribbon in her hair. Carol was quiet and gentle. She always jumped rope by herself or with her family.
One day, in the morning a tall, thin-legged woman, who looked like an ostrich, walked by. She saw Carol jumping rope and stood there for a couple of minutes. She was amazed at Carol. When Carol finally noticed she was watching, it was time to go to school.
The next day when Carol was jumping her little blue rope, the lady came again. This time she spoke. “Hi, my name is Mary. What is yours?”
“My name is Carol,” she said quietly.
“I see you out here every morning. You are a great jump roper. I would like for you to come to jump at the gym on West Street at 6:00,” said Mary.
“I don’t know, I will think about it,” Carol said. “I have to go to school. Bye”
That whole day Carol thought about what her mom would say. Maybe she doesn’t have to know, she thought.
When she got home from school with Jack, she told him they needed to be at the West Street gym at 6:00 with all the children. The only problem was transportation.
Then an idea came to her. I could walk and bring everyone with me, she thought. It’s only an hour away.
So, an hour before 6:00 the family left. Sarah said about five minutes into the walk, “Where are we going?”
Carol said, “Just come on. We need to hurry up.”
Only a couple minutes later Amanda said, “I am too tired to walk.”
Carol tried to ignore the whining, but didn’t succeed and ended up carrying Amanda. After an hour of walking Carol reached the gym with her family. What an entrance she made with Jack holding Sarah’s hand and Carol carrying Brownie on one hip and on the other a sleeping Amanda. Around Carol’s neck was the blue jump rope.
The ostrich lady said, “Hi, nice to see you again. This is a jump rope group that participates in competitions. There is a competition tomorrow here at 8:00 A.M. Would you like to compete?”
“Without ever seeing me practice?” she asked.
“Sure, you are a great jumper. I think you could win the competition,” the ostrich lady seemed to squawk at her.
“Well, what should I wear and how long will the competition last?” Carol said excitedly.
“You can wear that little blue dress that you are wearing right now and competitions last at least two hours, maybe more,” the ostrich lady said.
“Ok, I’ll do it,” Carol said.
“Oh yeah, one more thing,” the ostrich lady said, “You need a name for your team, which is basically you.”
“I think it will be the Blue Girl,” Carol said strong and firm.
“Sounds good. Let’s get to practice,” and off the ostrich lady went swaying side to side.
Carol thought, This is going to be great.
Jumping back and forth, hopping, turning, and singing was how Carol practiced that night.
At 8:00 the family walked home, happy and tired.
The next morning Jack, Sarah, Amanda, Brownie, and Carol walked to the competition. Carol warmed up and was ready to compete. It was breathtaking, all the people, music, and laughter. Carol had never seen anything like this before. When her team name, The Blue Girl, was called to compete, her siblings cheered as loud as a siren. Her belly had butterflies and she was happy.
Carol did the best jumping she had ever done. She hopped on one foot, she did a flip, and she skipped with ease. Brownie clapped. It was great fun.
The next 30 minutes seemed to pass like hours until all the other teams had competed. Finally, it was time to announce the winners. One of the judges rose and walked over to a microphone. He announced the winners of the six- and seven-year-old competition. Then, as Carol’s heart pounded loudly in her chest, he cleared his throat. “In the eight-year-old category,” he began, “first place goes to The Blue Girl.”
She had won, with a little help from Ostrich lady and her family. Everyone cheered. Jack asked if he could hold Carol’s trophy. Silently, Carol thought, I can’t wait to get home and practice some more.