When I crafted my 101 list, logrolling was nowhere in the realm of activities I thought about trying – but when I unexpectedly discovered a Community Education class offering to teach this very skill, how could I possibly resist? Answer: I couldn’t.
Once I had secured my place in the class, I asked my friends if anyone wanted to join me for an afternoon of attempted logrolling. I fully expected everyone to reply with a quick, “No thanks” – but one of my friends surprised me and said, “Sure, I’d love to!” She registered for the class that same day, and two months later, both of us received instructions intended to prepare us for the adventure that lay ahead:
That Sunday afternoon, my friend and I met up at a local lake on a stunningly hot and sunny July day. Away from the water, the day would have been exceedingly uncomfortable; but the conditions were absolutely ideal for an afternoon spent in a lake. After checking our names on the class roster, my friend and I waited for the other 16 participants to arrive. We greeted another adventurous woman in her 30s – then watched the remaining 15 class slots fill one-by-one with: children.
After the two instructors (only two for a class of 18?!) provided basic instructions to us all on the mechanics of logrolling, eight boys and seven girls (ages 5-15) eagerly took to the water, while we three adult women looked at the scene a bit less optimistically. The two instructors placed three logs (note: not real wood logs, but garish red-and-yellow plastic things shaped like a log) into the shallow edge of the lake, then looked at one another. It takes two people to ‘staff’ a single log – so how did these two instructors think they would be able to manage three logs between them? Answer: Use all of the class adults (and the sole 15-year-old boy) as their unpaid help.
So let me get this straight: The class organizers thought it would be a good idea to provide a measly three logs for 18 people, and less than a third of the staff necessary to successfully manage those devices? And they expected me not only to work during their class, but to pay them for that “privilege”? What is wrong with this scenario??
So what was supposed to be a fun excursion with my friend turned into me serving as a camp counselor for two hours, with only a handful of breaks in my newly assigned responsibilities to actually attempt the task I signed up to try, i.e., getting on a log and actually trying to walk on it while it rolled!
Though I was irked inside, I suppressed my emotions (as best I could) and helped the two instructors manage the enthusiastic hoard of children who all wanted to get on the log RIGHT NOW! Once each child had a turn, I made sure that my friend and I (and the other adult woman and the 15-year-old boy who had been recruited to ‘help’ [read: work]) also slid into the rotation, so that we received as much ‘log time’ as everyone else.
Facing the log for the first time, I found that I was able to stand up on it with relative ease. Staying on it, though, was another matter altogether. As my feet hugged the curved surface, I looked at the far edge of the log (which the instructors said was supposed to help us maintain our balance) and quickly pitter-pattered my feet up-and-down. Only, I made one ‘pitter’ – and before my other foot could ‘patter’, I realized it was struggling in mid-air – and a second later, my entire body was in the water. I had walked exactly half a step before I fell off the log. Hmm… I put both of my feet on the sandy lake bottom, then re-mounted the log. I stood, looked at the far edge of the log, moved my feet pitter-patter – and then wound up in the lake again. During my first round of logrolling, I never completed more than two consecutive steps.
When my next turn to attempt the task at hand arrived (ten minutes later), I didn’t have much more success than I experienced during my first round of logrolling. In fact, by the end of the day, I had only managed to achieve about seven consecutive steps. (I maintain that had this event occurred on real logs [you know, the items made of wood that are encased in natural grippy bark] I likely could have done better; but even then, I suspect my “personal best” would have maxed out around a dozen consecutive steps.) Meanwhile, many of the little kids were doing amazingly well on the logs! (Now, to be fair, some of them went to a camp last summer where one of their daily activities was logrolling – so I didn’t feel too bad about my relative ‘poor performance’ when compared to their minute-long turns on top of the log.)Yet despite not having natural proficiency at logrolling, and in spite of effectively being taken advantage of by the class organizers, I still managed to have a decent time at this event. I found myself laughing every time I fell off the log, and eager to pop back up and give it another go. I also thoroughly enjoyed playing in the water at the beach. (While I have visited this park a few different times, I never took the initiative to actually venture into the lake – but now that I have done it once, I will be much more inclined to splash around this site in the future!) All in all, I was glad I tried logrolling. That being said, I don’t think I need to do it again. One afternoon of this activity feels like enough for me. 🙂
[To see expert logrollers in action, check out the video below. They make it look so easy!]