The Vertical Workout: Doug Raigosa ’16 and his 25 Jump Ropes

Doug Raigosa ’16 considers running to be a horizontal workout. This is not to say he thinks a horizontal workout is a bad workout. As a member of the cross-country team, Raigosa is certainly not opposed to traversing the track in a forward-facing direction.

However, Raigosa prefers moving in a different direction: Up. And down.

Raigosa, accordingly, prefers a vertical workout.

“You’re sweating after a mile of running, that’s for sure,” Raigosa said. “But you’re dying after a minute of jump-roping.”

Yes, Raigosa jumps rope; in fact, according to him, he’s the only jump-roper in all of Westport.

“Jump-roping is like a mini circus,” Raigosa said. He delighted in his recounts of improbable turns and impossible flips; he smiled in his recounts of smaller players on the team being picked up by their teammates in order to be spun around and jumped over as if they, themselves, were the ropes; he laughed in his recounts of jumping rope for the first time in front of friends—his legs like a bouncing jackhammer, his rope like a whip in the air—and watching as his friends stared in awe with mouths agape.

“And I love it,” Raigosa said.

Raigosa picked up the hobby in fourth grade while living in Newtown, Conn., where his mother enrolled him in a jump-roping course through the town’s Parks and Recreation department. Pamela Patterson, the teacher of the course, took a quick liking to Raigosa.

“He was always looking to move on to the next level,” Patterson said. “And he didn’t need a lot of outside encouragement to do it.”

Nonetheless, some outside encouragement came along rather soon. Shortly after Raigosa joined the class, Patterson created the “Moon Jumpers Jump Rope Team” and recruited players for the squad. Sure enough, Raigosa was on the six-person short list.

For the next four years, Raigosa practiced with the team three times a week, picking up an entirely new sport in gymnastics to supplement the agile flips and tumbles required by his demanding jump-roping regiment.

And his work paid off.

By placing at least fourth in multiple regional competitions in the “Double Dutch relay” event, the “speed relay” event, the “individual speed” event, and the “freestyle” event, Raigosa put himself in an elite few to qualify for the national jump-roping competition—three times in three years.

Though he was facing “ridiculous” competition, Raigosa put up a formidable fight. While he didn’t win any events, in the “individual speed” event, in which competitors try to jump as many times as they can in a 60-second interval, Raigosa finished among the best with 120 jumps.

“Sure, we have enemies at competitions,” Raigosa said. “But nobody is really enemies. We’re all ‘frenemies.’”

Despite this mostly non-competitive atmosphere, Raigosa still did what he could to compete. According to him, he would scrutinize the “event rubric” that detailed what the judges were looking for in his routines. This criterion was based on scoring in categories like “Rope-manipulation” and “Timing”  .

However, the category most resonant with Raigosa, according to him, was Creativity, in which he could showcase his original “attitude.”

“I would always max out in that portion,” Raigosa said. “I’m always picking up a rope to create a new trick. Jump-roping allows for so much creativity.”