Taking the plunge: Football coaches and players get wet to give back

by Robbie LehmanStaff Writer

Football players don’t typically like the month of August because it means two-a-day practices during the hottest days of the year. However, this March when various members of the Simpson squad will be participating in the Polar Plunge, it’s very possible Simpson football players may find themselves for the first time in their life wishing they were running around in full pads in the scorching August heat.

For the second year in a row, the Special Olympics of Iowa is bringing the Polar Plunge to Warren County just in time for the water of Lake Ahquabi to unfreeze on Saturday, March 29, to raise money for their organization.

Last year a group of six Storm football players and coaches formed a team and took the icy plunge.

“It’s a shock to your system, it wakes you up, but it’s a lot of fun,” Nathan Seberg, tight ends and assistant strength and conditioning coach and member of the 2006 Simpson football team, said.

Seberg, along with three of his senior defensive line teammates, were led by coaches Paul Davis and offensive assistant Kevin Ferguson into the lake. Guided by Davis, who is currently taking the year off from coaching, each member of the team raised $10 to cover the total $60 entry fee to partake in the event.

The plunge is open to any group of 6-to-10 people that raises the $10 minimum. 100 percent of the money fundraised will go to the Special Olympics program.

“I don’t mind getting cold and wet for a good reason,” Davis said. “It gives my players a chance to see I’m as crazy as they are.”

Davis and his teammates named themselves the “Dunkin’ Donuts” and made t-shirts as well as decorated inner tubes to look like different types of donuts. While many teams entered the subzero water hesitantly, Seberg says, the Dunkin’ Donuts sprinted and dove headfirst. Then, shivering, the six of them shouted the football team’s chant: “Who are we? Who are we? SC! SC!”

“It’s a fun experience and nice to watch and support the teams,” sophomore football player Zach Haworth said. “It’s a great thing to get involved in.”

Haworth attended the plunge last year as a spectator, but is considering participating in this year’s plunge.

Davis, who was tipped off to the event last year by Bruce Wilson, head men’s basketball coach, couldn’t be more excited. His 2008 team is made up entirely of alumni who plan to call themselves the “Buxton Boys.”

Davis has a vision of building this charity occasion into the premier event of the year for Simpson alumni, students and student-athletes. He expects a lot more than one team this year and has been working hard on spreading the word of the plunge. He is also involved in the charities Helmets for Hunger and Children’s Cancer Camp, and understands that the spirit of giving comes full circle.

“You can’t get unless you give,” Davis said.

This is the message that Davis is trying to pass on to his former players and all student-athletes: they are pretty blessed to be able to live the dream of participating in college athletics.

For anyone wishing to enter a team for the 2008 Polar Plunge, Davis asks that you don’t hesitate to reach him at 515-710-4657 or [email protected].