Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Making a splash
By Kyle Carter STIHLTIMBERSPORTS.com
BRISTOL, Conn. -- It was typical form for Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg of the Mike and Mike in the Morning radio show on ESPN Radio and ESPN2.
Both hosts wanted to know why they had been sent to the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS exhibition set up in the parking lot on the campus of ESPN.
Greenberg looks over the Carhartt clothing he changed into before trying out the logroll.
Greenberg stood in nice jeans and a button up shirt, eating a bowl of yogurt mixed with cereal. He stared at the logrolling pool, the 40-foot speed-climbing trees and lumberjacks holding axes, and asked the question aloud.
"Why am I here?"
Golic wore shorts, an Under Armour shirt and a huge smile. He was on a mission from the moment he stepped into the parking lot to find out why ESPN wouldn't let him try any of the chopping or sawing events. Once it was confirmed that he'd only be allowed to try the logroll and speed climb, he frustratingly asked the same question.
"Why am I here? I want to use an ax."
The rest of morning, which was celebrating STIHL TIMBERSPORTS 25th anniversary, followed suit. Golic was asking questions and giving commentary on a sport he enjoys and watches on ESPN, Greenberg was looking for the first opportunity to slip out.
It was their radio show dynamic personified, with Golic taking the role of the man's man and Greenberg taking the role of the…softer, more sensitive man.
Before they got involved in the events, the two hosts made their way around the event site and enjoyed a demonstration from the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS professionals -- Dave Jewett, Mike Slingerland, Nathan Waterfield and Will Roberts. Golic was impressed with the amount of power the lumberjacks used, while Greenbergs commentary was more on the technical side.
"They actually chop the log while they're standing on it?"
Golic surmised that of all the six chopping and sawing disciplines, the only one he definitely couldn't do was the springboard chop. Other than that, he wanted to take his shot.
"I really want to try the hot saw," he said. "Somebody get me legal on the phone."
Greenberg's last stand
Once he gave into the fact that was going to have to try something, Greenberg put on a pair of Carhartt pants, a STIHL TIMBERSPORTS competitor shirt and reluctantly made his way to the logroll pool where he was fixed up with a helmet.
Greenberg basically let the log just slip from under his feet.
"What would happen that would make me need a helmet?" he asked, clearly concerned that this was not going to end well.
Logrolling professionals Katie Rick and Shana Martin were there to coach him though the process and Roger Phelps, promotional communications manager for STIHL Inc., tried to give him some encouragement -- to no avail.
"What would make you think I have the talent for this?" Greenberg asked. "I have no talent at all, for anything."
After getting steadied on the log in the middle of the pool, with Ricks and Martin stabilizing it on each end, Greenberg decided it time to give it a shot -- there was no way out of it. Less than a second after the support team left him with just the log, he was wet. And he got a splinter.
"It's impossible," he said. "I don't have any idea how anyone does that."
His second try, to his credit, was better but still not good. After declaring the water disgusting and walking to the side of the pool, Greenberg just looked at his producer with a smile that was not born from happiness.
"What can be said at this point?" he asked with his arms out. He went to locker room to dry off and did not reappear.
The lumbering lumberjack
Once he realized he wasn't going to get past legal and get his hand on something sharp, Golic turned his focus to conquering the two events he could try.
Golic gets his pole-climbing face.
First up was the speed climb, a 40-foot pole tackled usually by a man, his spurs and a rope. Golic, happily, was wearing a harness and didn't have to worry about the trip down the pole -- assuming he could go up.
Professionals Guy German and Derek Knutson were there give pointers as Golic strapped in and geared up. His first attempt wasn't pretty. About three feet into the climb, he was stuck. He made that trip down the pole on his own.
"It made me mad," he said afterward. "I wasn't going to stop there."
His second attempt bordered on impressive.
After another slow start, he eventually was able to baby-step his way up at least half the pole. He did need the harness for the trip down, but took his time recovering at the bottom of the pole.
"There's a lot of technique involved, as well as strength," he said, out of breath. "You really have to be aggressive in digging those spurs in and…I need a beer."
Instead of a beer, Golic was ushered to the pool to try his hand at the logroll. And again, his first try wasn't pretty. But again, he was determined to get it right. Each time he went into the water, he got out a little smarter and a little angrier.
After a few pointers from Rick and Martin, he held his own for 5 or 6 seconds on the log opposite Rick, which is an impressive stand for a novice.
"These lumberjacks not only have to be skillful but there's a lot of endurance involved," he said, summarizing his day.
After drying off and posing for photos with the crew, Golic went for the locker room to clean up. Forty five minutes later he was on the SportsCenter set, giving his opinion on the Favre retirement.
Footage from the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Exhibition will air on the Mike and Mike in the Morning show Wednesday, August 4th between 6:00 and 10:00 a.m. ET on ESPN Radio and ESPN2.