It’s January 1st, 2012 in The Riverfront community, and more than 100 residents, young and old, gather at the community swimming pool with their suits on and towels in hand. Nothing can keep the annual Polar Bear Plungers from taking their wild ride down the 100-foot slide into the bone-chilling waters of The Riverfront Swim Club pool.
Why do the residents of The Riverfront strip off perfectly good winter clothes to take part in this crazy event year after year? “It’s perfectly insane,” comments Pam Sweet, Club Manager and organizer of this event, “but it’s a Tradition! We have a year around calendar of social events, clubs and special interest groups, but this is one event that brings everyone together to just let loose.”
The Riverfront Swim Club has been hosting this event since it’s resort-style pool and clubhouse opened in the winter of 2001. Over the years, thousands of residents have earned bragging rights (and cool T-shirts) as members of Polar Bear Plunge Club. Some plungers say it’s cathartic, a cleansing shock to the soul to start fresh in a new year… others, not so introspective, say it’s just a great way to recover from too much fun and too little sleep on New Year’s Eve.
Either way, these plungers are finding a certain joy and exhilaration in starting the year with numb extremities and chattering teeth. With so many willing participants… maybe it’s something we all should try?