What do you get when you put together four Elvis Presleys, the Baywatch lifeguards, seven William Wallaces, and one too many guys in speedos? The 2013 Dunleavy’s Pub Polar Plunge. The 12th annual Special Olympics fundraiser brought together thousands of people to ring in the New Year by jumping in the Atlantic.
One o’clock approached and folks began lining up, preparing themselves for the plunge — though there was some disagreement about what time the event was supposed to start. The white tuxedo-clad Dunleavys hadn’t even arrived yet, but spurred on by the sound of multiple whistles (we blame the Baywatch crew), the herd of hundreds took off and ran the quarter mile to the water’s edge.
Being a seasoned plunger, I realized that a false start had just occurred, but I joined the crowd and ran through the tidal pools to jump in anyway. I took one big dive, stayed under for a brief second, and stood up screaming, then made my way back to my towel to dry off.
Back on shore, I heard the bullhorn from a fire truck stating what most of us already knew: “That was not the official start.” However, for the hundreds of premature plungers, it didn’t matter. They quickly dried off and started making their way back home.
We heard plenty of disappointed mutterings from the crowd regarding the event’s start time, which was listed as 1 p.m. on most official websites. I decided that I didn’t need to stick around to dive in again, and neither did the hundreds of other soaking wet participants.
An hour later, the Dunleavys officially ushered hundreds more people into the cold waters for their annual baptism.