Comet Skippers jump at the opportunity to perform at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Comet Skippers perform at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

By Josie Lorenz | The Chronicle 

The Comet Skippers jumped into the spotlight at the 2021 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

Jumpers from around the country were offered an opportunity to be part of this famous parade as part of Jumpers United, a group of jumpers from 33 teams and 29 different states, and seven Comets took that opportunity, qualifying and making their way to the Macy’s stage.

Junior Ellie Rogan has been a Comet Skipper for seven years. When she found out that Jumpers United were taking applications for the parade, she knew she had to take her chance, especially when COVID-19 restrictions have impeded the Skippers from going to such events in the past year.

“When I heard that they were accepting applications for the parade, I knew I had to do this because this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Rogan said. 

Ever since she was little, Rogan had hoped she would achieve great things. She saw performing at the parade as a huge honor. This was not the first time the skippers had gone to the Macy’s Parade and the preparations for those older on the team inspired the newer teammates. With the encouragement of upperclassmen, Rogan was determined to make it into the parade.

“I remember when I was really young and I watched the older high schoolers on my team, practicing for the Macy’s Day Parade,” Rogan said. “I thought, ‘oh my gosh, that is the coolest thing ever’. I knew I wanted to be able to do something like that one day, and to take all of the available opportunities I had.”

Freshman Ryan Rogers also climbed his way up into a coveted parade slot. Coaches all over the country were emailed asking for jumpers to participate in the parade and Rogers took his shot. While he may not have as many years of experience as many other jumpers on the team, his eyes were just as set on the parade. 

“When we did get to meet with the other jumpers, we all kind of knew each other because the jumping community is really small,” Rogers said. “It was more like a reunion, than a meet-up.”

The group spent hours preparing for the parade. On top of their normal practices they even added some additional work to help them prepare for the long parade route. 

We would practice the parade route maybe three times a week, [for]a mile, or mile and a half,” Rogers said. “I even went on runs every day to prepare.”

With repetition and drive, Rogan and the team put their time and their mind into showing their best work. Whether it was longer practices or shorter rest time, the team worked hard and they had the success in the parade to show for it.

“I was running through the routine constantly,” Rogan said. “We would show up early to practice and jump around the school. I would run through the routine even in my living room; anything to prepare… but it was 100% worth it because the parade was so fun and such an honor.”

Junior Jonathan Luo was chosen to perform in the prestigious parade and was confident in the team’s skills. 

“We’ve been doing the heritage parade every year but, obviously, the Macy’s Parade is on a different level,” Luo said. “But I’d say for us since we’ve [each] been doing a parade since we were 10, we knew that we had what it took.”

The opportunity to perform wasn’t the only motivation; the crowd also added to the excitement. Before this event, it became harder to connect with others in the jumping community, due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade gave the team opportunities to connect, train, and bond with jumpers outside of the Comet Skippers.

“I know we all had a lot of fun. It was a completely new experience seeing jumpers from all across the country, especially since COVID,” Luo said. “We were excited to perform again.”

In Rogers’s eyes, all the hard work paid off when the event finally came. All of the praise from the audience and the joy of jumping made him feel accomplished and proud, as he had put in so much time and effort to get where he was.

“The experience was probably one of the best in my life,” Rogers said. “You go in, and as soon as you start jumping, people are cheering,” Rogers said. “There was one lady that shouted ‘good job, that’s hard work’. And [it] just felt really good.”

With achieving these goals, Rogan felt elated to be part of something as recognized as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. In the end, she was happy to put in the extra work so that the 25.4 million people viewing the parade would enjoy it.

“It was honestly so incredible,” Rogan said. “Just getting to be there never really hit me until I was jumping on that floor and I could look up and see everything that I’ve seen on TV. It took the longest time to realize what I was being a part of.”

The experience they got from this performance in the parade motivated the team to improve upon themselves and their abilities, giving them more reason to take on more goals, chances, and training.

“It’s helped us to branch out and get more opportunities throughout the team,” Rogan said. “We’re together but now we’re closer because we’ve spent so much time practicing and what we’ve accomplished. It can be kind of overwhelming at first, but we were able to do it when we worked all together.

Photo contributed by Nicole Rogers