"He taught the ropes of life with 2 ropes" Double Dutch Forces say bye to longtime coach
COLUMBIA, S.C. (W.A.C.H.)--Countless young people simply knew him as "Coach Mike". Tonight, they were saying goodbye. Mike Peterson died last month, but his legacy will live on with one of the most successful teams around. The Double Dutch Forces say Peterson was known for teaching children the ropes of life, by using two ropes.
More than 100 people gathered at Martin Luther King Park Friday, where memories were built and lessons were learned, remembering Mike Peterson of Columbia's Double Dutch Forces. Freda Davis-Roseborough was an original jumper and drove from Philadelphia to release balloons in his honor.
"Mike was worth it. There was nothing he wouldn't do for any of the kids. Mike was the glue. He was a rock for us," says Freda.
Peterson died just weeks ago from what's believed to be a heart attack. Freda says the 57-year-old touched countless lives since the competitive jump roping team started three decades ago. Adults and children alike put on their uniforms again to pay tribute.
"When you put that uniform on, it takes you to a different frame of mind where the Forces family is there to support you. The Double Dutch Forces are a family. 30 years is a long time to exist. In order to be around that long, you have to have some type of bond," says Freda.
Peterson was known as the "double dutch daddy", but it wasn't always just about double dutch.
"He really bought into the mission of double dutch, that you can teach these kids the ropes of life between two ropes. There was always a story he would be able to tell because he worked for the Department of Juvenile Justice," says Freda.
"Mike was so selfless and I know it came from his faith. He walked and lived in a way God would be pleased. That's what Mike was all about, recognizing the potential in every child and being able to draw it out."
Peterson's funeral is tomorrow afternoon. The Forces hold hundreds of titles on the state, national and world levels. There are currently 65 jumpers, from elementary school to college-age.