Our Northwest

"Freezin' for a Reason" at the Polar Plunge in Seattle

Tuesday, February 26, 2013by  Victoria Hanlon

male swimmers at polar plungeOn Saturday morning, there were multiple reports of several large polar bears roaming through South Lake Union Park. Naturally, the WALLY team, being the curious bunch we are, decided to do some investigating into these seemingly absurd claims.

Once we arrived at the park, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the polar bear rumors were true! One may question why we’d be so excited to see these wild animals in a Seattle park. It turns out the bears were quite friendly and had gathered for a great cause, the Special Olympics Polar Plunge.

The Polar Plunge is somewhat of a traditiogroup entering water at polar plungen in Seattle. The annual event is organized by local law enforcement agencies to raise funds for 10,000 Special Olympics athletes across the state. Thousands of participants dress up, or in some cases down, and take a plunge into the frosty NW waters.

band playing at polar plunge

The majority of the participants I spoke with jokingly linked the word insane with their impending soak in Lake Union. These conversations perked my interest in how the first polar plunge was developed. Was the first plunger a trendsetter, loser of a bet, or just someone’s crazy old uncle? Alas, I must admit this project was one far too sophisticated for my Google research to handle. After a semi-intense search (or at least one I’ll never admit to how much time I actually spent on it), I decided that sometimes traditions shouldn’t be questioned, especially those that can bring together polar bears, penguins and Blue Thunder.

swimmers leaving water at polar plunge

Didn’t get a chance to join the “freezin’ for a reason” movement? Not to worry, there is still one more Polar Plunge left. Join us and the Special Olympics plungers on February 23 for the Tacoma Polar Plunge. We’ll be there rain or shine. Finger crossed for shine…and perhaps 60° weather!

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