Today’s guest blogger is Jeron Udean from Strother Communications Group. His firm has supported IWCO Direct’s marketing communications efforts for nearly 15 years. When he mentioned an interest in the Polar Plunge, he was quickly added to the team.
A few months back I was on a conference call with Debora Haskel, Kurt Ruppel and Ashley Leone when I asked about the status of this year’s Polar Plunge team from IWCO Direct. The Polar Plunge is a fantastic fundraising event for Special Olympics MN. When I mentioned my cousin has participated in the Special Olympics for years and my wife is pursuing her Master’s in Special Education, I received an offer I couldn’t refuse – to join the IWCO Direct plunge team.
Not knowing what to expect, I showed up at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis this past Saturday on a balmy afternoon. Luckily I wasn’t invited to last year’s Plunge, when the temps were below zero. Saturday was in the mid-40s but felt even warmer. Upon arriving I made my way over to the tent to get my IWCO Direct t-shirt, meet a few fellow plungers, and start to gather my wits. I had written a few questions down earlier in the day, knowing the answers could only be discovered after I plunged. If you’ve never experienced the Plunge, or are curious about what it’s like, here was my experience:
What type of jump would I do? Heading into the event I knew it was an option to jump in with your legs straight and only get wet to around your belly button. Still, I wasn’t sure if I would choose that option, or a more daring dive. None of that mattered once I lined up with my plunging group. Some said, “We’re belly- flopping,” and that quickly answered any questions I had about my technique.
How cold is it, really? It’s really cold. I would describe the moment you hit the water as a momentary state of panic. My immediate reaction was to get to the ladder and get out of the water as quickly as possible. For some reason it hurt my feet the most, I remember feeling like I was walking on needles as I made my way to the ladder and toward the warming tent.
Don’t you freeze after you get out of the water? That was the biggest unknown for me. I had visions of myself standing around wrapped in a towel with my teeth chattering, trying to fight off hypothermia. But it wasn’t like that at all. Once you get out of the water you are quickly ushered into a warming tent that is kept at sauna-like temperatures. In fact, I would say the spectators are forced to brave the elements more than the participants, as they have to stand around longer and don’t have any adrenaline flowing.
Would I do it again? Perhaps. However, next year I might participate by donating money to the cause. That’s really important too!
Speaking of donations, IWCO Direct’s team was incredible, with 48 plungers raising more than $38,000 in donations. Like everything they do at IWCO Direct, the team continues to build upon its success. This is the fifth consecutive year they’ve exceeded the previous year’s contributions. This was a great event and everyone involved, from those who plunged to those who donated, should be very proud of the IWCO Direct team’s effort.
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