Last year I walked away from the Bermuda Heart Foundation and said “I’ve got this” on the road to building the Bermuda Jump Rope Federation. Long story short, there were more days of “Do I have this” or “What the hell am I doing” or “Sionna, you potato head, what the hell were you thinking”. Then the former. However, I survived. I took a massive personal financial loss, but it was a necessary sacrifice to build the foundation of a federation.
Now, after a full inaugural season of the Bermuda Jump Rope Federation — which is registered charity No 991, the obtaining of such status a feat in itself — I very proudly stand tall and look at what was accomplished from our hard work this year, and I smile from ear to ear.
My jump family, who are the foundation of this federation, have grown and strengthened, which gives me so much pride I could burst. But there’s no time to burst, as I’m just getting started.
This year is the culmination of years of groundwork. This has grown from a once-a-year workshop within the Bermuda Heart Foundation to a charity of its own, soon becoming a national sport governing body that will recognise jump rope as a sort” on island.
Shaun Hamilton taught me to see beyond just a team. The Bermy Bouncers are one of my biggest accomplishments to date, but so is Jump 2B Fit, Bermuda’s school-based jump rope programme, and so is our community outreach programme, which puts jump rope in as many local and government-sponsored events year-round. And so is our Lunch and Learn series that goes into corporate companies and actively leads a fun jump session for all fitness levels.
I could go on for a while, but my point is that what Shaun said to me has sunk in deep: to grow a programme into a federation, you need to spread your roots as far as you can.
The Bermuda Jump Rope Federation is a “thing” now, jump rope in Bermuda is a “thing” — something boys and girls want to do. And, I say again, we are just getting started.
Bermuda will lead the Pan-American region in how this sport should be built from the ground up in our sister countries. Our youth will lead the way as ambassadors of the sport, and on our island as they take the lead in school tours and community displays around the world.
The possibilities for the youth of Bermuda in this sport are endless because this sport is just getting started. I am giddy like a child when I think of all the global opportunities for growth in this sport and for the tiny speck of an island we are, and how big of an impact we can have. I ... let me correct myself ... we have a lot of hard/fun work ahead to get us there.
My life was forever changed by this sport. It has made me an entrepreneur, has made me a community figure, a coach, a director, mentor and so many other things ... it has made me a better person.
For all the dark days of figuring it out and climbing the steep business learning curve, the insane brightness of the days ahead makes it worth it five times over.
Life has been hard, and I am still finding my way, but the feeling of being a newbie coach, or cowering at the mere magnitude of World Jump Rope are long gone. The awe of it all stays fresh always, but only when wisdom from experience sinks in can you have a sense of calmness and certain pride regarding your own skill sets.
This former English as a Second Language teacher is now a sports delegate, founder and chairman of a federation, and head coach of a national team. And I have to tell you, I’m just getting started. And it feels damn skippy good to know it.
Thank you, Jump Rope, for the life you’ve given me and for the adventures yet to come.
Sionna Barton will be leading a Jump Rope Showcase at Elliot Primary School on Tuesday starting at 6.30pm