Column: Freezn' for a Reason: A news editor reflects
Call me crazy, but for a long time now, I've wanted to jump into a lake during winter. I don't think I'd be able to explain why, exactly. Just one of those things, I guess.
So on Saturday, my opportunity finally came. With the second annual Freezn' for a Reason jump into Little Pine Lake, I finally had the opportunity to jump into a frozen lake in the middle of winter. I was so excited the night before I could barely sleep.
The morning of the jump, I set about making my game plan. Would I do a cannonball? A belly flop? Would I just walk into the water? All important questions to consider if I wanted to be prepared when my time came.
My team - a combination of the EOT Focus and the Whiskey River Bar - was seventh in line, so I had some time to observe jumpers who had done this before to figure out the best way to go about it.
When it was our turn to jump, my co-worker, Zac Zacharias and I decided that Zac would do a belly flop and that I would go backwards into the water. A nice contrast in styles, I thought, that was sure to get us points.
I can tell you right now that I wish I had gone in face-first, because when you're going in backwards, you can't see when you're about to hit the water.
Zac, at least, had the advantage of being able to brace himself for impact. Me, I had no such luxury.
As I leaped off the board, time seemed to slow down. Before I closed my eyes mid-flight, I watched as the crowd snapped a few photos of us mid-air.
Zac hit the water before me, plugging his nose.
I waited for impact.
I wondered, as I began my descent towards the lake, what the water would feel like. Would it be as cold as some people told me it would? Would it maybe not be that bad, as others had said?
Turns out reports of the frigidness of a lake in winter are absolutely as cold as common sense would tell you.
At first, I'll admit, it just felt like a cold lake. We've all gone swimming too late in the fall, or too early in the spring, and been treated to some pretty cold water. Like Lake Superior, anytime.
But then, after a moment in the water, the true coldness hit. It was, in a word, shocking. Not much can compare to the sensation of cold once your body adjusts to it.
I scrambled toward the ladder, my mind focused on only one thing - getting out of the water that I had just gotten into.
Later on, as I was snapping pictures of other teams and jumpers, I noticed that I felt invigorated and energized. It was a warm day and the event was raising thousands of dollars for Kinship of the Perham area, but I knew it was neither of those things that made me feel like I did - no, it was the lake, the water, the experience of jumping into a frozen lake in the middle of February.
For those with cabin fever (myself included), jumping into a lake is certainly no vacation to Mexico or Florida. And it's definitely no break from work. What it is, though, is maybe a little more nebulous and hard to define, but whatever it is, it definitely adds a little something to the winter experience.
Call me crazy (and after Saturday many people have!), but I can't wait for next year.