In the middle of February, I will be once again jumping into a very cold pool of water in order to raise money for Greene County Special Olympics.
I first took part in the Polar Plunge when I was a senior in high school. Being a member of the swim team, we all banded together in order to raise as much money as we could. From what I remember, each of us managed to raise at least $50, and between the 10 people that had signed up I don’t think we did too badly for a bunch of teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18.
The look of our group was certainly goofy to say the least. We had split into two separate relay teams; one for the guys, one for the girls. The girls were all wearing tutus (I don’t know why, we were just an odd bunch) and most of our guys had bleached hair after our conference swim meet. I remember when we were all getting ready in the locker room. I was a little nervous about the plunge, as there was still snow on the ground and we had been informed the water in the pool was roughly 40 degrees at the maximum. I had a little surprise planned just to throw off my fellow teammates, yet when I looked at that pool the thought became much less attractive.
As they announced the school team as a whole, us guys volunteered to go first. I opted to go second I believe, and once we started there was just one thought in my mind: get through that water as fast as possible, get back and tag the next one to go. Simple enough, I had done it all the time in practice in our meets. When I was tagged, it was a simple process of just shutting off every natural instinct to not jump into barely above freezing water and making that leap.
When I hit the water, it was definitely a shock. However, I burst back up to the surface and ran (more of a waddle really) as fast as I could, leaping off the ladder out of the pool and sprinting. It was cold, sure, but nothing unbearable.
Once our guys’ team finished, the girls began to line up. However, there was a problem; they were down a person who had raised the money, but not shown up. I decided to be the moron of the guys by not only jumping in again, but volunteering to go first.
The pressure felt a little more on with the second because I had a few moments to stand on top of the platform and take a few minutes to reevaluate the decision I was making. In those moments, I decided to go with my gut feeling and reveal the surprise I mentioned earlier. I tore off my swimming trunks to reveal...a bright red Speedo. I do believe some in attendance are still mentally scarred from it to this day.
After a few shocked cheers, I made the plunge for the second time. It was noticeably colder this time around, so I was that much more inclined to go as fast as possible. After sprinting around the pool in the snow, my feet were numb. By the end of the relay, I couldn’t feel my legs at all. However, I still say the experience was a great one and I look forward to taking part again.
While being a part of the Greene County Popsicles, we are aiming to raise as much money as possible. If anybody is interested in helping, please visit http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/andrew-christman/2017-terre-haute to make a donation to my page. And this time, I promise there will not be a Speedo involved!
Andrew is a staff writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-847-4487.