I first learned of the Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day in 2012. My roommate from Vermont was visiting New Jersey and I took her to Asbury Park so I could prove that our coast line beats her ski slopes (Although Jersey has great skiing too, so that’s a double win for us). While walking along the beach we stumbled upon some leftover revelers celebrating that year’s Plunge. I had always wanted to do a Polar Bear Plunge so I decided then that I would participate in 2013 if I could. I kept my commitment to myself and as 2013 got closer I began fundraising for the five great charities that benefitted from this year’s plunge. The charities were: The Lt. Dennis Zilinski II Memorial Fund, Impact Oasis, Horizons National, Providence Medical Clinic, and Sea Bright Rising which is dedicated to the recovery of the town of Sea Bright following Hurricane Sandy.
This year’s Plunge, in addition to being the 10th year of the event, was especially significant in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Monmouth County really came together to show each other the support that exists amongst neighbors in difficult times. And of course, there was the huge crowd of people sprinting into the freezing cold Atlantic to start the New Year. What I learned was that jumping into the water was easy, in fact, it was refreshing. The hardest part was getting out of the water. That’s when I felt how cold the outside air actually was. Nevertheless, I’d definitely do it again. Here’s to a 2013 season filled with many, many more dips into the waves of the Jersey Shore.