The thought of jumping into Lake Michigan to start the new year has always intrigued me, but never enough to actually do it. However, each year I get a little closer.
In 2017, we went down to North Beach at noon on Jan. 1 to watch the happy revelers run in and out of the water and I started thinking about taking the plunge in 2018. To get a feel for it, I stuck my fingers into the icy water and imagined what full submersion would feel like.
We were back on the beach on Jan. 1, 2018, but I didn’t get wet then either. I stood on the pier with the other onlookers and watched the heartiest of the Splash and Dash folks strip down to their swimming suits for pictures, but no one got into the water. The ice shelf along the water’s edge blocked access to the lake, despite attempts by the organizers to break through with a backhoe. The disappointing compromise for the revelers was rolling around in the snow outside the Racine Yacht Club.
Another opportunity for a frigid splash to the new year happens on Jan. 1, 2019 and this time I think I’m up for the challenge because I’ll have a buddy. No, not Carl. Nick, our 17-year-old Rotary exchange student from Brazil, wants to join me. Since the average high temperature on Jan. 1 at his home on the island of Ihlabela, Brazil is 86°F, this will truly be a memorable experience for him.
Carl will be there to take photos, be ready with our towels and jackets, and hopefully won’t need to tap into his former EMT training to resuscitate me (Nick will be fine, even though he’s got far less body fat than I do for warmth).
So, if you’re free at noon on Jan. 1, come on down to North Beach and cheer me on, or better yet, take the plunge yourself. All the proceeds from the event go to local charities.
I’ll give you some insight on my experience next month.
In the meantime, Happy New Year!