Monday, July 25, 2011


I feel bad that I have to take such an well-meaning ride and group it with extreme sports. I know for a fact that the log ride is fun. You climb into an artificial log boat. Depending on its size, it carries as few as four riders and up to twelve. It's a nice, slow ride that weaves between buildings and goes under caves before its final drop. The approach to the plunge is through a tunnel. Once at the top, the log goes out into the open before taking a rapid descent into water.

I've actually ridden this ride and it wasn't bad at all. The log ride hasn't lost its innocence. I like that in a ride. No big-shot lights. No over-inflated ego p-zazz. Nope. You've got your log boat, the track and the slide. It's the implications of the log ride that causes me to worry. The implication the the boat is wood. Orginally, the log ride was used to transport lumber and logs down mountainous terrain to a sawmill by using flowing water, the boats were logs.

Perhaps this ride led to the "Let's use wood for fun" era. Want to play a game, kids? Try hitting a small, hard ball as it flies 60 mph at you. Right, hit it with this piece of wood. Okay, let's say you're not a pro. If some hard object is flying toward me, even at 10 mph, shit, even at 1/2 mph, I going to either run or duck. I can't understand why waiting for the anticipated SMACK of ball on wood is considered fun. Especially, for a Jewish girl like me, who undoubtedly would miss the ball all together. 

Sure, I've tried softball. I've stood, the center of attention, waiting for a ball to hurl toward me. Fun? I think not. First throw, I duck. Another pitch, great! super! I throw the bat and run as far as I can, ending up at the snack building. After a few minutes, I come around the corner with a hot dog and Ding Dongs. I don't eat DIng Dongs, they just make me look cool--even so, I was kicked off the team. 

That was my last soft ball game.

I moved on in life without having to deal with stick sports until college. Even though I studied dental hygiene, I still had to have units in phys ed. to graduate. (Why does a dental hygienist need to take phys. ed? I finally decided  that it was to learn different ways to get your teeth knocked out.) 

I hate physical activity. Now that I think of it, I was never encouraged to get involved in sports. I had Barbie and Ken dolls. I also had the first pink, Barbie convertible car. I suppose Barbie did keep me out of trouble for awhile  On Barbie and Ken's first date, they took Barbie's car and managed to 'do it' in the little sport coup. In those days, premarital sex was frowned upon... bad girls went to special homes for the unwed, had their babies, signed their baby away and came back as if none of it ever happened. It was all smoke and mirrors. I had to send my Barbie to the closet for her pregnancy. I didn't my mom to find out. Of course, she did, and wrung the truth out of me. That's how I became a reader.

In Dental hygiene school, Phys Ed was forced on me. Mandatory. I decided to try the ski class. In theory, it seemed innocent enough--after all, there's no place to ski in Columbus, Ohio.  I figured we'd just talk about what it would be like to ski. My kind of sport. But first class, we were carted to a hill somewhere outside of Columbus. I don't know where, because the shock that overtook me upon learning we would put on skis and a go down a hill, left me in a vacuum. Who knew that they had a big snow maker that blew layers of snow onto a hill?. Who could have guessed we'd at be outdoors? I heard nothing and saw nothing from the moment the announcement, "Let's go ski!" was made.

On  top of the hill. I attach my feet to 2 thin, flat pieces of wood. We're in a huddle. As the instructor goes over safety instructions, I feel one of the skis slide. I shift positions, and in that one moment--which is near now in the top of my sheer-terror-moments list, I began sliding down the hill backwards. My recently learned snow plow technique wasn't effective in stopping my descent into what I imagined would be sure death. I saw myself trapped in a snow drift. Trapped and freezing to death. I saw myself eaten alive by a huge avalanche and disappearing, gasping for air, until finally suffocated. Going over a cliff, falling into an ice cave. 

The fact that this was a hill, with a snow machine regulating the amount of snow didn't occur to me during the descent. I'm a Jewish princess and didn't deserve this--that's what I thought about, that and the worry they would dress me in the wrong outfit for my funeral. I'm screaming for help. It seems like I'm halfway down the hill before the instructor reaches out and grabs my hand. We were still at the top of the hill. I had managed extreme skiing for only a foot or two.  

Fortunately, a few days later, I was in my dorm room with a towel over my head, breathing steam into my lungs for the cold I now had. (My people are desert-dwellers. The snow? I've never heard of a Jewish Eskimo, have you?)) I managed to knock over the boiling was: Could I use the burns to get out of ski class and still get credit?

Needless to say, although the log ride is fun, I stay away from sticks no matter the shape, no matter the need, no matter the fun. And because the log ride maybe, was wood in its beginning stage, I didn't want to take a chance and never rode the log ride again.