Cover Story interview with Cassidy Ermigotti by Olivia Bush
How did you find out about the Zero Gravity jump rope team?
Zero Gravity was started by members of an old team I was on based in Bucks County. I was with Zero Gravity from the beginning because I had the privilege of my friends actually creating and building the team.
How old were you when you started jump roping?
I was six years old and it was the summer before first grade.
What inspired you to start jump roping?
I started through a summer camp. This then evolved to being on the school team the same year. It just grew from there and I will always tell people I will jump until my legs fall off.
What are the different categories of jump rope?
There are many different categories of jump rope, (over thirteen to be exact). Some categories include double dutch, single rope speed, single rope power, and freestyle routines. There are many categories that branch off from these that are all unique in their own ways. These categories are also judged differently so It is a pretty cool system.
What is your favorite category to perform?
My favorite events are singles freestyle and any double dutch freestyle event, especially in pairs. I also recently started to like triples, which is a category under power that you can start at fifteen.
What is the hardest thing about jump rope?
There isn’t really one specific hard thing about jump rope. There are a bunch of little things that you personally can find hard based in your own stamina and endurance. Personally, I find speed events hard and talking myself into doing new tricks. The mental game can drag you down, so you have to have a new sense of trust with yourself.
Is there anything you dislike about jump rope?
There is nothing that I will ever dislike about jump rope. I may complain time to time about a speed workout, but I will never dislike it because it makes me better, and it feels amazing in the end. I get a big sense of accomplishment at the end of practice, so there will never be any dislikes or regrets that I will associate with jump rope.
What is your favorite part about being able to jump rope for others around the country?
It’s extremely refreshing to share my passion and spread education about fun exercise. It’s great to see the looks on people’s faces, especially kids, when you are jumping double dutch or on a pogo stick. I have also had people call me their hero and ask for my autograph, which is really cool and amazing since I know I touched someone in some way.
What is your favorite routine you have performed?
My favorite competition routine I have ever performed was my singles freestyle last year at the regional competition in Maryland. It is my favorite because I got first place and I had just recovered from an injury, so it was hard to practice and super rewarding after awards. My favorite performance routine was at St Joseph’s two years ago because it was the first performance as Zero Gravity and it was during Christmas, so it was like a miracle to see the crowd get so into our routine.
What are some of the coolest places you have traveled with Zero Gravity?
The coolest place I have been to with Zero Gravity is Disney World in Orlando. It was so cool to experience this for the first time with my closest friends. Also, competing in the ESPN World of Sports complex. It was an experience like no other! The coolest place we have ever performed was at Madison Square Garden. It was so cool because it is such a well-known stadium and is like a dream come true to perform there!
I heard you went to the Junior Olympics, can you tell me more about that?
Yes, I went to the Junior Olympics two years ago in Houston, Texas. It was a great experience as a team since it was our first major competition, and everyone did so well! It was also extremely cool because there were other sports competing in the same building, so we were exposed to more unique sports such as cup stacking. Being there exposed us to the competitive world of other sports like cup stacking, as I mentioned, and sports like cheer and gymnastics.
What was the road you took to get to the Junior Olympics?
The process was long and hard, practice was at least twice a week for three hours each. Also, we went to smaller competitions to prepare ourselves since we had never competed before. In the end it was extremely rewarding, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
What was your favorite part about competing in the Junior Olympics?
My favorite part about competing in the Junior Olympics has got to be the feeling of community and utter support from every team there and especially your own team. This competition really opened me up to the world of competitive jump rope where you can be friends with people from North Carolina, Virginia, and even Australia. It got me used to how a competition worked and that is very valuable going forward.
What other competitions have you competed in?
I have competed in various competitions in Maryland and about three regional competitions. The biggest competition I have ever competed in was last year at nationals in Florida. You must qualify at a regional competition in order to go to nationals or junior Olympics and right now my team is planning to go to nationals again.
Do you keep track of all the states you’ve competed in?
I keep a map of the United States on a shelf in my room and I stick push pins in the states where jump rope has taken me.
What is one of the biggest things you have gotten out of jump rope?
Jump rope has been a great way for me to explore many different places in the United States. I have also gotten to see many colleges and even consider some to apply to in the future.
Submitted by our members as well as teens across the world.