Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Polar Plunge.

One thing I know for sure, and that is, if Peter was not my child, I would not have ever done or considered doing the Polar Plunge. Who, at my age, would consider jumping into a freezing cold lake in the middle of February?
Several years ago, I was approached to first contribute, and than asked if I would consider participating in the the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics. My initial response, was "No thanks, but I will donate." After a bit of soul searching, I realized I really did not have a reason not to do the Polar Plunge. Physically, I could do this. Sure, it would be cold, and talk about a bad hair day...but I thought about all the people who live with disabilities, whatever the disability could be...some of these individuals struggle every day, they may be in pain, and the majority of the time, a smile is present on their face. So, a little uncomfortable coldness, and drippy looks were no reason to not participate. I signed up.
Now collecting money or asking for sponsors turned out to be fairly easy, as I have extremely generous friends, but also, when I asked my friends to join me, they were very willingly to donate in place of jumping as they said, we will cheer you on from the sidelines. So fortunately, the year I jumped, I was graciously rewarded with donations. That made the experience even more sweet.
I jumped for Peter and all his friends who participate in the games and all his volunteers who coach and help at all the events. Was it cold? Very! Did the majority of my toenails break in half because they were frozen...yes. Did it take all day under many blankets to warm up. You, betcha! The most interesting phenomena that occurred was after I landed in the water. We jumped off a pier into water that was over our heads. When I came up I experienced an amazing sense of calm, and felt no need to move, until I heard the four paramedics yelling to move, swim. Later, under my ten blankets I googled this phenomena and learned that is called cold water shock. Reading that information, and actually experiencing it, I gained a sense of comfort for those on the Titanic, that would be the ones who did not get into the boats. If they felt like I did, I am thinking they just slipped into oblivion without distress. That discovery in itself was quite rewarding. The cold water shock theory made for an interesting experience, however ,one that would influence further jumping decisions. Will I ever do it again, most likely not. I will let the youngsters do it. I will gladly donate and help, but most likely will not participate in the jumping. It was a great experience, I am glad I did it. I am glad I made the decision to at least give it a try. I laud those who do this every year...especially the "older ones" and think it is a great event. May the jumping continue and the donating for those of us, who like to watch.

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