Our Centric Cincinnati and Enterprise Applications & Solutions teams raised funds for the Special Olympics, helping 98 Special Olympians live their dreams.
There are a lot of things that go through your mind on the morning of a Polar Plunge when the air temperature is 14 degrees. “It’ll warm up a bit, right?” “Maybe the water has some sort of heater in it.” Even, “Nah, it’s too cold. They’ll probably cancel the event.” As it turns out, none of those things were true.
On the morning of January 29, in the middle of an infamous Midwest cold snap, members of our Centric Cincinnati operating group and National Enterprise Applications & Solutions Practice gathered at Jefferson Social, a small pub cozied up to the banks of the Ohio River. Nearly all the patrons in the packed building were in heavy coats and winter hats, as they were soon to be participants in the Greater Cincinnati Polar Plunge, a fundraising event to benefit the Kentucky and Ohio Special Olympics.
If you are fortunate enough to live in a region where polar plunges are unheard of, they consist of donning your finest swimsuit, climbing up a raised platform in (usually) below-freezing temperatures, and jumping in a body of water that is so cold it would defy whatever notion of “freezing” you have in your mind.
As we stood waiting by the bar, we overheard one of the event volunteers say they would need to crack an ice layer off the surface of the water in the small 30 x 10 foot, 4-foot-deep pool we were about to jump into. Awesome.
Before we knew it, our team of six was shuffling out the exit, heading down the alley of restaurants and bars that led straight to the plunge location situated in the entryway of Great American Ballpark.
Two mounted loudspeakers manned by a local news team greeted us as we saw group after group of plungers make the jump with grins of anticipation, only to come back above the water with faces that were reminiscent of Kevin McCallister using aftershave in Home Alone.
After a few minutes, the moderators summoned us to the steps leading up to the platform. Now all there was to do was stand in line, shivering and wrapped in our beach towels, taking a few steps forward every minute or so.
Then, it was our turn. We climbed the steps, the news reporters giving us a few encouraging words, and jumped.
Immediate shock. A shock that takes away your ability to catch a full breath and makes your only purpose in life to get to the ladder on the other end of the pool as fast as possible. After climbing out, the next goal is to run to the tents where your warm clothes await, every step on the way feeling like your path was made of pins and needles. After about 15 minutes of shaking your limbs vigorously to get blood back in them, you start to feel “normal” again.
The numbness and frigid temperatures were a small price to pay for the overwhelmingly positive impact we could make as a team and company. Centric Consulting raised $2,467 for the Kentucky and Ohio Special Olympics. Considering that it takes $25 to help send one athlete to the Special Olympics, we had a hand in funding 98 Special Olympians’ experience of a lifetime. Beyond our donations, the event raised $121,428 for the Special Olympics and will send 4,857 athletes to the Special Olympics.
Sometimes, the things that make the biggest impact take sacrificial action. Sure, we didn’t need to take the plunge. We could have just sent a check and called it a day while still having the same monetary impact. On the other hand, what are words or money if there is no action behind it?
One of our core values is to ignite passion for the greater good. Leaping into the pool didn’t increase our donation total, but what it did do reflects our passion for this cause. A polar plunge is a small price to pay for joining others in pursuit of change and helping people live their dreams, wouldn’t you say?