Rakeem Jones: Fayetteville women organize Double Dutch competition for kids and adults
Many of today’s youth are not physically active.
A great deal of their summer has been spent in front of a screen. The lack of physical activity derives from technological advances.
In the past, conversations took place out on the street. Nowadays, connections are made via social media platforms. Before access to technology was prevalent, young people gathered outside to play until the streetlights came on. While many of the boys opted for football and basketball, the young ladies jumped rope. The more experienced jumpers used two ropes at the same time in a game called “Double Dutch.”
On Saturday, Anedra Walls, along with Natalie Maddox, organized their inaugural Double Dutch competition to promote physical activity — like it used to be — among youth and adults. The event was held at the Ponderosa Shopping Center.
But Walls and Maddox have another mission: They promote body positivity within the plus-size community primarily through their I Am Plush brand.
Walls started I Am Plush in 2011 to put on plus-size-forward events such as an annual fashion show.
Prior to founding her brand, Walls and her family relocated to Fayetteville from Florida. Colony Place, a housing community located off Owen Drive, was where Wells was introduced to activities like the neighborhood drill team. However, it was the neighborhood Double Dutch team that truly caught her attention.
As a member of the Double Dutch team, she competed locally and performed in parades throughout the community. She fondly remembers the days with her friends and the camaraderie.
Double Dutch history
According to the National Double Dutch League’s website, the sport’s founder, David A. Walker, traces the origins of Double Dutch back to ancient Chinese and Egyptian ropemakers.
However, Walker believes that the game evolved when English saw the children of Dutch settlers playing in the streets of New Amsterdam (now New York City). Walker, a retired New York police detective, noticed the lack of intermural sports for girls in schools.
After impressing the New York City Board of Education, the sport was integrated into the NYC public school system in 1973. Though Walker formed governing bodies for the sport, his motivation was the need for physical activity among the youth.
Double Dutch in Fayetteville
Walls, and her friend/partner, Maddox, set out Saturday to bring back that feeling of friendly competition among friends.
In addition to Double Dutch, they were giving out free school supplies along with food and drinks. There was also a bounce house on site for smaller children.
Anieca Shields, the manager of Rainbow in Ponderosa Shopping Center, like Walls and Maddox, wanted to ensure that the children were properly prepared for the school year. Through continuous collaboration, Shields hopes to connect with residents in and around the store.
Meanwhile, the two women are preparing for their fashion show. Furthermore, they will be announcing the date for their next Double Dutch competition.
They encourage people of all ages to come out, compete and have a good time. For more information about how to be involved, call 910-965-1184 or visit them on Facebook through their I Am Plush Fashion Show page.
Salute to Anedra, Natalie, Anieca, and every activist getting active. Peace.
Rakeem “Keem” Jones is a community advocate and father of three from the Shaw Road/Bonnie Doone area of Fayetteville. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.