I first heard about the Polar Plunge when we decided to get a group together for FCA. However, because of conflicts, we were never able to assemble a whole team, so my friend Ryanne Skalberg and I decided to do it on our own. The entrance fee was $60 per person, but a week before, we realized that we were each $60 short! Ryanne and I decided that no matter what, we were going to Plunge
We took over LXA’s kitchen, made cupcakes, and sold them to LXA, ATO, SAE, Worth and Picken. Everyone was especially nice when they realized that the money was going to support the Special Olympics, and soon we had people donating huge amounts of money and not even taking cupcakes! In the end, we sold over 100 cupcakes and got lots of donations from people.
The actual event was Saturday, March 29, at noon. Since we weren’t officially with a team, we could register with any other group. Ryanne and I scoured the lists, looking for a name that we might recognize. Discovering her cousin Curtis was on the Buxton Boys, we signed up with them.
Of course, we had to pick the biggest, buffest, most intensely dressed team. These guys had body paint, football helmets, shoulder pads and tutus. The Buxton Boys didn’t care that we were just some random groupies, they just cared that we were all there to help the Special Olympics.
The Buxton Boys are all former Simpson football players including Simpson coaches Kevin Ferguson, Nathan Seberg, Justin Snyder, and Ryan McDonough, led by Coach Paul Davis. The team named itself the Buxton Boys in reference to Bill Buxton Stadium. It started with six members last year, but this year was up to about 17–plus us– and coaches hope to keep the team growing as a fun alumni event.
Ryanne and I are amazing Buxton Boys. We showed off our Buxton Boy-ness by carrying picnic tables and eating extremely humongous helpings of food.
A total of 18 groups plunged. Some ran while others inched their way in. Some toddlers went a few feet and ran back to shore. I thought that they had the right idea!The Buxton Boys, however, stayed on the shore chanting and getting pumped up and then charged the lake.
I took off my glasses, and was completely blind as we entered the water, so I tried to keep Ryanne in sight. Unfortunately, her red shirt was one of about 20. I reached the line of scuba divers that marked the end of our plunge and realized that the mass of red that I’d run in with was chanting and bouncing in the water. They seemed to be yelling something about green beans. Later, I was informed that it was the football team’s chant: “Who are we? Who are we? SC! SC!”
Football players now have my deepest respect. No one spends an extra minute in freezing cold water chanting. That takes absolute toughness. Football players also have my deepest sympathy… No one spends an extra minute in freezing cold water chanting. That takes absolute insanity.
I bounced along with them, trying to chant, but really just muttering about green beans. Then the bouncing and chanting stopped and the red mass moved back towards shore.
Every participant got a free sweatshirt, and we were all invited to a reception afterward. The reception had scads of food, door prizes and a costume contest, which Paul Davis, in a football helmet and pink tutu, ended up winning. Other notable entries involved speedos, diapers and the Flintstones.
At the reception, two guys got up to speak. They were spokesmen for the Special Olympics, two brothers who participated in the Special Olympics in previous years. Both plunged as a team this year, and one participated in an event that involves plunging once every hour for 24 hours!
These guys were really inspiring when they spoke about their experiences with the Special Olympics and how much they appreciated our assistance in raising money for the event. We found out that there were over 150 plungers that day, and we raised more than $18,500. It was really exciting to see how a simple thing like jumping into a lake could help raise so much money for such a great cause. Ryanne and I will definitely be participating again next year, and we’d love to see the entire campus out there in crazy costumes “freezin’ for a reason!”