2009-01-09 / Sports

Sorrentino Center Hosts Double-Dutch Holiday Festival

By Isaac Parsee and Stan Brown

The jumpers, officials and spectators gather at the Sorrentino Center. The jumpers, officials and spectators gather at the Sorrentino Center. The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation's Sorrentino Center hosted the 18th Annual Double- Dutch Holiday Festival Tournament on Saturday, December 27.

100 jumpers participated and 100 spectators witnessed the tournament, while 8 officials from the American Double-Dutch League New York Affiliate were on hand to officiate the event. Nine volunteers from the Stan Brown Pepper Steppers acted as floor judges for the event.

Prior to the actual competition, several speakers spoke to the participants regarding issues important to their development as jumpers and human beings.

Tournament organizer, Stan Brown, Sports Director at Sorrentino, spoke to the participants on respecting their bodies and preparing themselves for life outside of the center. Brown spoke on topics of Drug and Alcohol, Teen Pregnancy and the importance of applying themselves in their classroom study and practicing to improve their jumping.

Senior members of Stan's Pepper Steppers, recently back from defending their world championship Double Dutch title at the world-famous Apollo Theater, the second week of December 2008, shared experiences with the tournament participants and their parents.

Laa'Neisha Jones, Peter Alvarez, Katherine Rocha, and Jessica Berrios, spoke of their experience of capturing top honors in the speed category (at the Apollo) for the third straight year. 400 jumps, with an average of three steps per second were required in the two-minute test in which only the left foot is counted.

Laa'Neisha, Peter, Katherine and Jessica spoke about the importance of making wise/good decisions and not following the crowd.

They further talked about how it feels to be the best at their craft and how they have a target on their backs because other groups are trying to beat them and take away their championship.

They further articulated to the youngsters how important it is for them to remember from whence they come and that they must reach back and bring others along with them. Truly, this group of youngsters is a great group. They are fantastic role models for the younger jumpers following them.

At the sound of the buzzer the competition was on! Jumpers from Queens, Brooklyn and Suffolk County competed in several categories; compulsory, speed and free-style, against the clock and each other. The participants ranged in age from 8 - 17 years old and from the third grade to high school.

The First Place Winners: High School Level- Stan's Pepper-Steppers; 8th Grade Level - Sorrentino Jumpers; 7th Grade Level - Jumper + 3.

Special thanks go to the Far Rockaway Weed & Seed Initiative, Team Deuce/Sorrentino, and the Department of Parks and Recreation, for sponsoring this event.

Who says that there is nothing on the Rockaway peninsula for its youth to get involved in? Parents looking for positive activities for their children or youngsters looking for fun and exciting things to do, check us out (Team Deuce/Sorrentino) at the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation's Sorrentino Center located at 18-48 Cornaga Avenue in Far Rockaway. Call 718- 471-4818 for more information.

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