When I decided to participate in the 2009 Polar Plunge, I didn't consider how cold the water was going to be. I thought about a lot of other things: helping raise money for Special Olympics felt good; meeting a group of West Virginia bloggers that had organized for the event would be fun; spending a day outside my normal routine would be refreshing.
But, I didn't even consider the cold water.
I'm a tough guy. A former farm kid. I've slopped hogs during blizzards, and fed hay to horses during ice storms. I've spent some time in the elements, and the elements didn't kill me. They only made me stronger.
As the line that led to the platform from which plungers plunged into the iced-up water shortened, I heard the MC announce the water temperature to be a near-freezing 34 degrees. I leaned forward and whispered to Bill Lynch, who was standing just in front of me:
"I'm starting to feel a real sense of dread."
"Embrace it," he said.
I laughed, and then I did. And then, a few minutes later, I jumped into the water. Fully submerged, I remember thinking that the cold water hurt more than I expected it would.
And then I thought: "I hope when I surface, I'm not going to cry."
Yeah, I'm a tough guy...
I'll be there in 2010. The event is fun, and the goal is more important than a few moments of discomfort. Plus, it gave me an opportunity to get to know folks I might not meet otherwise. Hanging out for much of the day with a bunch of West Virginia bloggers --who raised about $300.00 for the cause--was really enjoyable.
(And so was the hot shower I took when I arrived home!)