It’s everywhere. An overwhelming flow of tags on Facebook, the murmuring in dining halls, the shrieks and cries of the victims of the cause. It has dominated lower campus with an overwhelming amount of activity, stagnant in the pooling groups of people that stop to watch. The Polar Plunge has infected the Wheaton community like the plague. And I am incredibly baffled by its popularity.
Living on lower campus, I have been thoroughly immersed in this peculiar phenomenon by means of being unable to open or look out my window without hearing someone screaming or running around bare-chested, high on adrenaline. It has been difficult for me to be neutral about this matter. Although I am baffled, I don’t find it as an act of stupidity. Daring others to jump into a “freezing” body of water may just be strengthening the inter-connectivity of our community in an incredibly odd fashion. The one aspect I find odd is the overall hype and fear hidden within the people of Wheaton. I, personally, do not find this to be much of a challenge. The Polar Plunge was originally founded within the United States and Canada as a charity event, usually hosted in the middle of January. The trend of the Polar Plunge has started incredibly late, and I believe that it has made the challenge both more and less appealing.
In the middle of April in Massachusetts, the weather has been tolerable, to say the least. As all have been aware, the weather has been marvelous throughout the past week. Diving into a greening pond that is most likely well over sixty degrees does not follow the same requirements as people diving into icy water at below zero temperatures for a charitable cause. We, at Wheaton, currently have subpar Polar Plunge opportunities. I believe the thrilling aspect of the Polar Plunge is when it is most frigid in the participating area, as this eliminates the attitude of “this is stupid, but my apathy will be misinterpreted as fear if I don’t participate”. If you are going to do something questionable, go all out and do it for a good cause.
I completely understand that this is a trend, and trends tend to have a manipulative aspect to the originating subject (i.e. Harlem Shake and several memes), and that in order for a trend to be successful, it needs to be attractive. I don’t plan on analyzing the need for people to dip their whole bodies in the green, muddy body of water that is Peacock Pond. But this is the Polar Plunge. If it’s not freezing, it’s not really worth doing.