Perhaps the Nr.1 “FUN” Weekend for the year – Special Olympics Virginia’s Annual Polar Plunge – was held over this past weekend. Over 2,000 people who are brave or perhaps referred to by others as silly/crazy/What were you THINKING!!/Have you lost yer freakin’ MIND??!!/You ARE FLIPPIN’ NUTS!! (you get the idea) have a wonderful time by stepping into a very cold Atlantic Ocean – with a bone-chilling temp of 37, air temp of 37, but fortunately not too much of a breeze to really make things interesting. This year was faced with continuous threats from area forecasters by either snow or sleet or rain just not sure which order – fortunately, Mother Nature saw fit to not just hold off on all of that, but actually give a break in the clouds with some sunshine after the Plunge – perhaps maybe a smile of approval from above? Why? Because these folks and their very supportive contributors, take the time each year to raise much needed $$$ to help Special Olympics Virginia provide the quality education, coaching, multi-venue sports and athletic competitions throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. There are other fund-raisers throughout the year, each has its own unique challenge and ‘fun-factor’ built-in. You have a team of manly-man types who like pulling a large aircraft on the ramp at Dulles International? Sure thing. Ya’ want to go to a river gorge and do something different? Gotcha. There are Torch Runs, Truck Runs – which blow the doors off of the old 70s movie “Convoy” – all in the spirit of helping those with intellectual disabilities. Despite their challenges, to a person, these wonderful “God’s Special People” as some refer to them as, never EVER have a bad-hair day. You’ve recently read about one of them in the “Chatty Cathy” Monday Musing’s (http://www.cadellphotography.com/blog/2014/1/chatty-cathy-and-her-friends---welcome-to-team-human-morning-light-rail-style). There are countless others in varying degrees of skills, capabilities, and aptitudes. Every last one of them benefits from the generosity of donors who contribute hard-earned money to someone else who really benefits and appreciates that opportunity otherwise not possible without this community support. There is a whole lot more that goes into the Annual Polar Plunge besides jumping into the Atlantic – there are the preliminaries which lead up to the actual plunge. Take some equally questionable people who like to run, walk, push a wheelchair, or be pushed in a wheelchair, for a morning 5K run along the boardwalk. Yeah – that is a whole lot of fun to watch just by itself, as there are a cast of characters from Captain America and The Flash to one ‘dude’ who ran in bikini bottoms that had fur-lining – I’ll leave that questionable visual alone… to formation running by some of the crew from an aircraft carrier, along with many other (just shy of 1,000 participants) who all took part in this ‘start’ to the day. Toss in a volleyball contest on the beach – great idea – lousy weather conditions, and you have just the first 3 hours of a very long day of fun. Costume contest – this is a growing, living, breathing, legend all its own. Over the years, there is a ‘sustaining group of regular characters’ who stick to what they know – the Polar Bears – designated as the almost official ambassadors of good will – especially when it comes to tiny tots and FM Radio Announcers. This group shows up every year, walking up and down the boardwalk, being the subjects of countless photo requests with kids, families, crazy plungers, and oh yeah – you want to get a group of radio personalities together? Bring on the Bears. Done. Others dress up as Star Wars characters, Star Trek types, and various themes all related to the Plunge itself. This year, the obvious popularity of the hit TV show “Duck Dynasty” resulted in two guys walking around simulating Willy and Jase Robertson. The guy playing the part of Willy was a dead-ringer that made more than a few people pause for the cause and wonder – yours truly included. Several thousand spectators show up for this weekend and are quite happy to be here to cheer these wonderful plungers on. This is truly a community event that I hope will continue to grow. Soooo.... like this view of what appears to be an impossible hill to climb (actually it's the lower elevation of Cleghorn Mountain, California - elevation is over 5,300 feet - this view is at the base at 2,000 feet.) When you see that ray of light (hope) that beckons you on, reaching your goals will happen if you really try your best and remember that placing your faith in someone greater than yourself will lead to some really spectacular rewards.
To view the Polar Plunge event – as recorded by several volunteer photographers (2 of us are registered professionals):
To see how the Cool School Challenge went – please click on this link:
Hope your week is going well!!