January Polar Plunge
By Jane Kashlak
Wildwood, NJ - It was 24 degrees in the bright sun. We were wrapped in our warmest parkas. So were about two thousand other spectators, shivering on the beach in Wildwood, NJ.
If we thought we were crazy, standing in frozen waves, in 24 degree weather, waiting for the show to begin, what about those other guys??
500 of them were standing in the 24 degree temps, wearing only their bathing suits.. BRRR....
Then the true insanity - they took off the moment the whistle blew and raced right into the frigid, 33 degree Atlantic Ocean. No hesitation. No looking back.
Hundreds of them had to run through ice and snow to get to the ocean this year. Nothing deterred them. They had a mission.
Each person who raced into the cold ocean raised money for New Jersey's Special Olympics. Law enforcement agencies sponsor this annual January dip in the big pond.
This year, participants didn't waste too much time frolicking in the surf. In and out, that was the drill.
Our uncovered hands were already aching and numb from the cold, after holding our cameras for just ten minutes. And we were wearing parkas, and our clunky but warm Tibetan street hats.
We rewarded ourselves for our bravery in the line of duty with a bowl of soup and a cheesesteak.
Same time next year.