Taking the Plunge: My dip in the Deschutes at the Polar Plunge | Culture Features | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Culture » Culture Features

Taking the Plunge: My dip in the Deschutes at the Polar Plunge

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So after a week or so of mock-preparation for the Polar Plunge, writing an article about it and raising a few hundred dollars for the Special Olympics with my team, I kind of had to do it. So I took the plunge. And it was cold.


Riverbend Park was filled with hundreds of plungers and spectators last Friday. I arrived with my team, the "Lumberjacks," decked out in flannel. There were some other awesome costumes, including a team dressed up as the "Titanic" complete with a cardboard boat, and some hardcore girls in bikinis. Luckily for all of us, especially the bikini girls, the temperature was in the mid-'40s and somewhat bearable as we waited for Special Olympics Oregon to give us the go-ahead to plunge.

The worst part, by far, was the anticipation, which lasted for about an hour since we were one of the last teams to plunge. Another team who we were plunging with assured us it wouldn't be that bad - they had plunged before and were raising money for their brother, who has Down syndrome and is a Special Olympics skier. Still, I was pretty much terrified and couldn't wait to be warm and eating soup.

Finally, we were led to the gates and the minute they said "Go!" my team hurdled into the water like lemmings off a cliff. Honestly, it wasn't all that bad - jumping into that murky water with a bunch of other teams was actually kind of fun, and I was so amped up on adrenaline that it wasn't unbearably cold.

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As we emerged, the crowds erupted (as they did for all of the plungers) with wild cheers. The other plungers, many of them whose family members and close friends are Special Olympians, were in full celebration, sharing stories and hugging strangers. It was pretty cool. I felt like I was a part of something great - not just the mass plunge, but this incredible fundraiser for the Special Olympics. And the post-plunge bowl of soup was quite possibly the best thing ever.

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