I am counting down to that moment Saturday where I will, for the fourth year in a row, run headlong into the Jimmy Floyd Center outdoor pool - yes, I said outdoor pool – for the annual Polar Bear Plunge.
Call me crazy if you want, but I find it rewarding to freeze for a few minutes if it helps some very special people compete in the sports they love. The proceeds from the plunge benefit the Wilson County Special Olympics, and, as an athlete myself, I think everyone should have a chance to get out there and toss a basketball, or participate in a track and field event, or any number of other sports offered through Special Olympics.
I was blessed with the ability to participate in any sport I wanted growing up. I ended up in quite a few, from gymnastics to basketball and softball just to name a few. My body may hate me some days because of all of it, but I wouldn’t give any of those times back for any money in the world. And I want to help some of those wonderful athletes get the same kind of joy that I did. If that means jumping in to 30 degree water, what the heck? It’s one day for all of two minutes – I can do that. This year might just be the coldest one I’ve dealt with, considering the single digit temperatures we all had to endure last week, I have a feeling that water might just be a little colder this year.
I have to say though, I hope that it isn’t almost 60 degrees on Saturday. I know some of you are rolling your eyes right now and thinking “Is she nuts?” Let me explain my reasoning.
The reason I hope for such an occurrence is this - when you go from standing around in 60 degree air to jumping into a 30 degree pool, the shock to your system feels much worse. If it’s 35 degrees standing next to the pool, then the 30 degrees inside the pool isn’t all bad since you were already numb anyway. If you’ve ever taken the plunge, then you probably understand what I mean. If you haven’t, I think you should consider doing it – at least once. You don’t have to be like me and do it every year, but it’s a good feeling knowing that my one moment of craziness gives a lot of deserving people a chance for their moment of greatness.
And if you haven’t had the pleasure of attending a Special Olympics event like I have, I encourage you to try to do so. It makes that moment of sheer craziness all the more worth it to see the smiles on the competitors faces when they cross that finish line or have that medal draped across their shoulders.
Kimberly Jordan is The Democrat’s general assignment reporter. Email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @wilsonnewsroom.