Century High School freshman John Moses and several other area jump rope athletes will be part of a nationally televised performance during the 95th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday in New York City.
Moses, along with several other Howard and Baltimore county athletes from Kangaroo Kids, an area youth jump rope team, have been chosen to participate in the Thanksgiving Day tradition. The performance entails completing a mobile jump rope routine alongside giant character balloons, celebrities, floats, marching bands, performance groups and clowns.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to me,” said Moses, 14. “Not a lot of people know about the sport of jump rope so this is also a great way to raise awareness of it.”
Area jump ropers joining Moses include Cassie Baldwin, of Columbia; Emma Breznak, Catonsville; Isla Gleeson, Ellicott City; Michael Laper, Ellicott City; Jenna Meek, of Ellicott City; Mason Meek, of Ellicott City; Foster Sariscak, of Columbia; and Evelyn Smallidge, who attends Quinnipiac University.
In addition, the area group will join more than 100 other jump rope athletes in the Thanksgiving Day performance.
Moses began jumping rope with the Kangaroo Kids when he was eight years old, he said.
His favorite aspect of the sport is the opportunity to “create routines that are unique to oneself,” adding it’s also “one of the best ways to get cardio exercise,” he said.
Starting from Central Park, the athletes will be jumping the entire 3-mile parade course, which winds through New York City in front of huge crowds and millions of viewers of the NBC live broadcast.
After arriving at Herald Square in front of the Macy’s flagship store, the group will be featured in a one-minute segment on the NBC national broadcast, which has an estimated 50 million viewers. This choreographed TV routine, built around the 112 athletes performing a complex interconnected double-Dutch matrix, flanked on both sides by a single rope routine, will include national and world jump rope champions.
Laura Moses, John’s mother, said the whole family will be traveling to New York City to watch John jump.
“We’re all very excited … He loves to jump and he’s very good at it,” she said. “We want to support him and we already wanted to go to the parade … This is the perfect excuse to go.”
Organized by the Heartbeats Jump Rope Team from Cleveland, Ohio, the performance group will appear under the acronym J.U.M.P., which stands for Jumpers United for Macy’s Parade.
Members of JUMP are male and female, ranging from 12 to 26 years old. Jump Rope routines feature gymnastics and dance moves, all done while jumping a rope. Athletes build foot skills, upper body strength, endurance and coordination, according to a news release.
To jump the entire distance, the athletes have to be in peak physical condition. Moses said he began practicing for the event in August, in addition to his regular team practices, totaling 13 hours of jumping in a week.
Broadcast nationally by NBC, this event officially kicks off to the holiday season. The parade will begin at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day morning, returning to the traditional in-person parade throughout Manhattan, after last year’s event was virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.