The Plunging Plumbers
Most people would never be willing to jump into an ice-topped lake in the middle of winter for any cause, even to save their own mother, but there are a few that would be tempted to participate in a polar plunge once just to cross it off their bucket list. Then there are those, like us, who have plunged again and again. We habitual jumpers repeat this tradition for a different reason- we are crazy.
For the third consecutive year, Jason and I took part in the Polar Bear Plunge, a fundraiser for the Special Olympics. Now, before you gasp in dismay, remember: no ill-fated endeavor is too idiotic for charity. Diving into 30 degree water is stupid but diving into 30 degree water for a cause is heroic…or at least benevolently foolhardy. And believe me, you need those goodwill warm fuzzies when you’re submerged in water so cold that you can’t breathe.
Our team again dressed in ridiculous costumes for this event. This time Super Mario Bros. was our muse. Because of my blonde hair, I was nominated to come as Princess Peach. Being royalty was okay with me but it did require some gussying up. I didn’t finish sewing my skirt, crown, and necklace until 2 AM the morning of the jump due to some other stitching projects consuming all of my time. It’s hard being a Highness.
Our geeky theme turned out to be immensely popular. While we arrived too late to participate in the costume contest, which for unknown reasons started half an hour earlier than scheduled, I’m pretty certain that we would have won had we been present. Once our team had all gathered, it took us about 20 minutes to move the few yards to the jump line because so many people wanted their picture taken with us. Our costumes also attracted the attention of news crews and we ended up being interviewed by two different stations. Oh the woes of being everyone’s darlings! See the links I posted in the comments section to check out those news clips.
We were expecting to be blown about and snowed upon by a winter storm as we were bounding into Utah Lake but, thankfully, the skies cleared unexpectedly that morning for a bit. Although it was still unbearably cold, that sunshine, and its imagined warmth, made us feel a little better about charging into water that had been covered with ice 18 inches thick just a few days earlier. The lake was so iced up this year that the usual chainsaw method could not be used to cut a plunging hole. Yup, it’s been a frigid winter and the bits of the lake that weren’t frozen solid felt like they might as well have been when we hit them.
The plunge was a miserable but fun experience. Several of our would-be teammates chickened out at the last minute and practically had to be forced into signing up. They claimed that this would be their final plunge ever. Yet, before feeling had even returned to their extremities, they were plotting next year’s costumes. I guess that pre-plunge dread makes some people forget that this wacky experience isn’t all suffering. I can guarantee that Jason and I will be participating again next year because we are just that stupid. We don’t let things like heart-stopping cold, hypothermia, or frozen limbs get in the way of making fools of ourselves. And making fools of ourselves for a cause is even better. May the Speedo-girded glory of the Plunging Plumbers reign forever!