So this past Saturday was the Polar Bear Plunge fundraising event for the Special Olympics of Ohio.
Pics and some video here.
The event raised a little shy of $60,000 actually, three times as much as last year according to someone I was in line with for dive registration. It was so much fun, I’d really love to do it again next year. Like I’ve been saying, the chance to do a Polar Bear Club-esque dive during the winter has been a dream of mine.
The event, which started off a few months ago, was meant to culminate with a public dive by teams and individuals at a pool near the polar bear exhibit at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. I was initially disappointed that we weren’t going to dive INTO the bear tank itself (albeit without the bears around), but I got over that pretty quickly. The zoo itself is pretty awesome, albeit a bit out of the way from the city. Our GPS sort of got us lost going there, we were technically directed to the service entrance of the zoo. The security guard at the gate was kind of amused at us, which was a little embarrassing.
Tess’s brother Anthony and some of her aunts and grandma came to Columbus, to be part of my little cheering posse. It was a semi-blustery day, alternating between being almost spring-like and actually quite cold. We got to the zoo around 12:30 for check-in, and there were so many people we still hadn’t started by the 1 pm scheduled by the organizers. Seriously, there were a lot of people there, not to mention a flurry of last-minute donations by people.
My turn finally came, and I was up on the stage overlooking the pool by myself with the MC (only individuals or groups of 4 or less went at a time to avoid injury). In hindsight, I really should have put more thought into just how cold it was going to be, and just how shallow the body of water would be.
It’s kind of hard to describe just how shocking it was. You think that “Hey, it’ll be warm after all those people diving in before me!” or “You know, if the air is colder than the water, it’ll feel like a hot tub!” or even “I’ve had the hot water cut out for a second while in the shower once, it’ll sort of the same thing!” No. No no no no no. It is ice cold, freezing as shit, and an utter kick to the face, like I got smashed with a giant cold pack.
That being said…an amazing experience.
Anyway, like I said, it was seriously a lot of fun. I can’t wait to try and do it again next year, hopefully I’ll be able to put a team together.