Hello everyone, happy Tuesday!
This past Monday I did the Polar Plunge. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s basically an event where a bunch of generous crazy people (like myself) jump into freezing waters to raise money for the Special Olympics.
Okay, I’ll be more specific. The Polar Plunge is a charity event. The idea is that the plungers raise money from sponsors and on plunge day, the ice is cleared away from a frozen lake and they plunge. The money goes to the Special Olympics chapter in your area. I plunged in Bozeman, Montana, so the money I raised goes to Montana Special Olympics.
Well lucky for myself and my friends, plunge day started beautifully. It was mid-40s, the sun was out, and the air was beautiful. (It’s still winter in Montana, so it was by no means shorts and t-shirt weather). As we were checking in the team, there was this casual (freezing) breeze and I joked that in thirty minutes, when we were all going to be plunging, it would pick up and turn into gusts.
I really should not have said that.
Thirty minutes later, as we were taking off our jackets and I stepped out of my boots, the wind was absolutely gusting. But it was our turn and we had to go: we were up, no backing down. The lake we were jumping into was entirely ice – strong ice. There were people walking on it a few yards away. Where the ice had been cleared away for plunging, the old slabs were sitting at least seven inches thick. The idea was that you run down the red carpet, step ankle deep in the water, and then jump in. In the water, there were two men in wetsuits waiting to make sure you don’t drown; at the water’s edge, there are two men to help you get out. Once out, you run back up the hill to the hot tub where you learn to breathe again until the next team needs room.
As I looked around, as I watched the teams ahead of me, I noticed that most of these crazy people had shoes on when they jumped in. But they had a dry pair to switch into; I did not, neither did my plunging partner. Well, that’s okay; who need’s shoes? So we slipped out of our boots, but as we stood there in our bare feet at the top of the hill we realized that this ground was not warm in the least, little bit. Before we even started running, our feet hurt. When we stepped into the ankle deep water, the leftover slush and ice felt sharp.
I jumped into the freezing waters of Montana and the worst part was not having shoes before I ever jumped in. After that, it was a breeze. (Except when you hit the water and forget how to breathe).
So we jumped in; neither of us died (that we’re sure of). So now I’m in the water. I see Estella – my partner – grab the hand of one the men who would help her out. My brain then registered the fact that I was supposed to grab the other man’s hand. My body did not understand. My body was in survival mode. Eventually, as I scrambled all over the ice, I was half lifted, half pushed out. And then I bolted for that hot tub like it was the last one on Earth.
In the end, this was probably the most fun I’ve had on a Monday morning ever. Overall, our team raised $506 for Montana Special Olympics (which are held in April).
As I was getting dressed into my dry clothes and driving with my fellow plungers to the nearby Starbucks, we all laughed and said things like “We did it once, but never again,” and “We can scratch that off the bucket list.” But when I think about the fun I actually had and the laughs and stories I got out of it, I’m not entirely sure. All I’m saying is, if you find me next year at the Polar Plunge, don’t be surprised.