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Log rolling lesson an exercise in laughter for Janesville moms

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Anna Marie Lux
June 18, 2014

JANESVILLE—Carleen Courtney and Gabrielle Berget Perez have come up with a new idea for mom's night out.

Log rolling.

Just look at them falling off that big timber, splashing into the pool and laughing as they try it all over again.

The folks in those log-rolling championships on ESPN never seem to have this much fun.

Earlier this week, the sisters were the only students in a new log rolling class sponsored by the Janesville Recreation Division at Rockport Pool. What the class lacked in numbers the women made up for in enthusiasm.

Teacher Logan Lindau steadied a 12-foot log as Carleen and Gabrielle took turns stepping onto its carpeted surface.

The women quickly discovered that balancing on a log in water for any length of time is a lot harder than you think.

“Bend forward and put your arms like this,” Logan advised.

He showed them how to put one arm in front and one in back to stabilize themselves.

Carleen and Gabrielle climbed aboard the log again and again with their feet pattering like they were squashing ants. At times, they appeared to be holding their own.

Then, splash, dunk!

In the drink.

Laughing, Carleen and Gabrielle did not seem to mind still another spill.

“You want to stay right on top of the log,” Logan said. “If you roll back, you have to run fast to get back on top. The faster you run the faster the log rolls.”

Gabrielle had seen the notice for the class and suggested she and Carleen go.

“We've been playmates forever,” Gabrielle said. “We have to try new things.”

She knew it would be something the two would laugh about years from now, when their kids are grown.

Logan, who is a lifeguard at the pool, gave the women sound advice midway through their first lesson: “Practice makes perfect.”

The city offered log rolling in the past, but it was discontinued until now.

“We had the logs at the pool,” said Shelley Slapak, recreation director. “They were sitting idle for several years, and we want to give them life again.”

Logan volunteered to teach the class because he log rolled as a boy. For several years, he entered the log-rolling competition at the Lumberjack World Championships in Hayward.

“I was pretty good,” Logan said.

The 20-year-old nursing student stopped doing it a few years ago, and he is re-learning the technique.

“It's all about getting a feel for the log,” Logan said. “Everyone should try it at least once.”

Carleen and Gabrielle finished their hour-long class with a couple of minor shin bruises and more laughter.

“It was great,” Carleen said. “I'm looking forward to coming back.”

Anna Marie Lux is a columnist for The Gazette. Her columns run Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call her with ideas or comments at 608-755-8264, or email amarielux@gazettextra.com.



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