Q: How did you learn to teach logrolling?
A: I saw this New York Times article about a woman who taught logrolling and I cut it out and put it by my bedside. I thought about it for a good two months.
I really just wanted to try it. To get on that log. It seemed so bizarre.
So I contacted her — the owner of Key Log Rolling. I asked, “Would you come to Pittsburgh? Or even Indiana? I have family there…” But there weren’t any classes that were close. Finally I ended up taking a training workshop — it was a training so you could teach other people. I thought I couldn’t possibly teach other people. But I could!
Q: So you drove to the training class? Sounds like you were really into it!
A: Yeah. I’d watch videos of logrolling clubs at colleges and the girls were taking out the guys. I also saw video of Abby Hoeschler, the woman who trained me, and she was rolling against other professional female logrollers. I think men and women can do it equally well…
Anyway, my friend and I went to Ohio.
Q: How many people were there?
A: There were five of us including the instructor. One was my friend and the other two were men.
The men had bought the log and started trying it. They were young, really fit dudes who had started the program at their pool. They were super competitive.
Q: So how did the class go?
A: It was basically getting on the log, falling off the log. Getting on the log, falling off the log.
Q: How do you get on?
A: The safest way to get on is when you’re in water that’s a little less than waist deep.
There are people holding the sides of the log. You wrap your legs around it like a horse then look at your partner and count to three. You’re facing each other at that point.
Then you put your hands on the log and you pop up on the pads of your feet and you start moving immediately. If you stop you will fall off. After you pop up, you’re not facing each other.
Q: I’m not sure I understand. What do you mean, you’re not facing each other?
A: One person goes backwards and one goes forwards, and you try to trick the other person into falling off. You’re facing in opposite directions and you’re competing against the other person.
You know like how in Dirty Dancing she is practicing in the woods? There on that fallen tree? The way she pops up is just like how you pop up. When I was in the class I was thinking, “This is just like Jennifer Grey!”
Q: This sounds like someone is going to get hurt.
A: Not at all. If you think about it, you’re falling away from a rolling thing so your body clears it.
Q: What if you get near the side of the pool?
A: It is free-floating. The only scary thing is that you always keep it perpendicular to the side of the pool. When we were on it, it didn’t move much, but when we fell off it would travel a little bit.
Q: What else did you learn in the class?
A: There’s a whole history to it. For loggers, it’s how they would get the logs down the river. Then it became a game to pass the time.
The woman who taught me comes from a long line of logrollers in Wisconsin. Her mom was like the logrolling queen of her town.
Q: So you are now certified to teach others how to logroll?
A: Yes, we got certificates. I want to bring it back to the community center pool where I work but it’s too expensive.
Q: How much do they cost?
A: Like $2000 or $2500. My new plan is to write a grant.
You can buy a log made out of wood but it’s insanely heavy. The other kind is plastic and hollow. You fill it with water. And it doesn’t take that long to drain. I’ve heard it’s really easy to empty and store.
You can attach paddles to make it go slower when you’re learning. In the class we took those off after about two hours.
Q: It seems impossible.
A: No! That’s why Abby Hoeschler, my teacher, is going around teaching it. For like team building — that kind of thing.
It doesn’t matter how strong you are. You could get like a 200-pound muscular guy knocked off.
Q: It sounds like you had a really good time.
A: It takes a lot of practice but it’s enjoyable right away.
My friend also fell in love with it. She looked awesome. She looked like her people were logrollers. She’s a musician too and she is really good with rhythm; I think that helped her.
And I thought there was no way I was going to be able to do it. People think you’re insane when you talk about it, but I say it’s wonderful and you should try it! I think everyone who tries it is addicted.