Holland Origin Stories: Double Dutch

Holland Origin Stories: Double Dutch

From time to time we get asked about certain names, phrases, stories, titles – and sometimes we gotta prove or bust some myths!

Toni Ortega reflects on Holland’s Double Dutch Battles, the first of which took place this very week in December 2006.

Back in college, Mel Berner and I were pretty excited about the birth of Holland Project.  We knew that money was something short of hand as per usual with non-profits so we felt we needed to figure out a fun way of making some cash for a project we felt needed to happen in Reno.  

I’m not sure how exactly we came up with starting a Double Dutch battle especially since it was already fall turning into winter that year and COLD, but we did it.  The idea was pretty simple -double dutch teams would compete at an event and put on a show for the community in hopes that their support would be given to Holland.

I ended up being the captain of one of the teams.  We called ourselves team TIght Ropes and were undefeated for the three years we participated.  The members of our team varied a bit by year, some folks moved away, got too busy, etc.  but off the top of my head members included at various times:  myself, Mel Berner, Princess Ortega, Nick Larsen,  Caedron Burchfield, Brandon Shirey, Anthony Alston, Eric Pascual, Danielle Biselli, Meghan Collins, Ciara Clements, and Rob Brown (He didn’t jump.  He made our mixes and made sure our beats per minute were on point with each jumper)  I don’t think I’m forgetting anyone but my apologies to anyone I may have forgotten.

Our team colors were teal, pink, white, and purple.  We were pretty serious about weekly practice and upping our game every year with additional tricks (think acrobatics and speed jumping), dance routines, chants, our own flag, and one year we made stickers that read, “Tight Ropes crushing every team’s high hopes!”  Admittedly, we were kind of the “bullies” of the double dutch battle scene, but it made for all the teams to really get serious about it, even though it was just for fun.  We wanted it to be a real competition.  However, I do remember that once during training time before the actual battle, I got into my Volvo to find that someone from another team anonymously left a note on my windshield.  They wanted to let me know that their team was ready and going to win.  I never figured out who it was, but it was all in good fun and just made us practice harder.  The practice paid off too because we never lost a battle.

I still jump rope from time to time, but it’s hard to get enough people to double dutch.  It was a great three years and even cooler than it lasted much longer than that afterward.  Some memorabilia I still have somewhere in the archives of my storage our the first year Holland Double Dutch battle T-shirt, my team Tight Ropes t-shirt, and the trophy from what I think was our last year competing.

I have no idea where my ropes went, maybe they retired and went somewhere south.  It was a good time and we were pretty good too.