NOTE – This story is a couple of years old, from February 2018, but never got a chance to publish it. No excuse really just failed to update and post it.
With me participating in Polar Plunge 2020, I wanted to share my experiences from my first attempt.
The day of days arrived, and we were setting frozen sails towards Seaside Heights, NJ.
We, or should I say “I”, had volunteered to jump into the Atlantic Ocean with a bunch of strangers to support the Special Olympics. It was pretty awesome actually!
It’s not every day that we head to the beach in February, with speedos and towels, but there’s always room for new adventures. Heck, we didn’t bring the beach chairs or beach games as I feared that the snow would hamper the family beach fun.
We hadn’t been to Seaside Heights since the storm and severe flooding that hit the area and devastated the beach a few years earlier. It would be interesting to see how well it had recovered.
The Polar Plunge is based on teams and individuals who sign up to raise funds for the Special Olympics NJ chapter. It had been running for 25 years and was originally started by a bunch of hardcore cops.
I was part of a small team of freemasons, who did this insane swim for charity. It is what we support and believe in, and how we help – we do stuff, raise money and make other people happy. And, their happiness makes us happy. It was a win-win situation.
Our team had 60 people, and each had to raise a minimum of $100. I hammered the team record with over $3300 raised in less than 4 weeks. It was very rewarding to be top of the leaderboard, and I was pretty darn proud of myself.
The downside. Because I had raised more than $100 and because people have happily donated to my cause, I had to jump in. No turning back!
Most teams had some theme of funny outfit lined up – Santa, deers, bees, caveman, ballerina, strong man, polar bear, and patriots.
It would be fair to say that I and my mate might have scared a few hundred people with our outfit, and shared images that cannot be unseen.
We were sporting American flag thongs … and that’s it.
To make matters slightly worse, if that visual did not make you vomit a little in your mouth, both of us were slightly overweight, pale and hairy.
Not a pretty sight on the beach, but thank god it was winter and limited exposure to sun and other people were also dressed rather interesting.
What blew me by surprise, and with amazement, was the patriotism on display that day.
Many people were dressed in red, white and blue. The national anthem was blasted over the beach and everyone saluted the flag being held by an old dude on top of a van.
The banter and camaraderie that day was beyond what I had expected. Everyone were super polite, friendly and in a great mood. We were all there for the same purpose and we all ended up with frozen nipples.
At the sound of a horn, we all ran screaming into the freezing ocean, ready to be greeted by Elsa’s wrath.
When the cold waves hit my chest it felt as if I couldn’t breathe properly, just for a split second, and then I dived into the next wave.
Once I had done my duty, I ran on to the beach only to be greeted by my family laughing at the sight. And, my wife realized she had not recorded me getting in or out, so to show my true courage I did it again.
I quickly dried up, got dressed and as quick as the beach got filled an hour earlier, just as quick it emptied as people ran for the warmths of their cars.
Support my 2020 Polar Plunge – click here.