Kathy's Kolumn in the March 11, 2008, Tomahawk Leader
By Publisher Kathy Tobin
Aging does things to you.
And, in response, people do crazy things.
Take for example the “goal” that was on the “bucket list” of Marion Kohl. The Tomahawk School District swimming pool director apparently spends too much time submerged. She didn’t think life would be complete without participating in the Kinship of Tomahawk Polar Plunge.
At 40-something, this mentor did it not once, or twice, but three times before serving as a bit more sane lifeguard at this year’s event.
The lack of logic also was what led to Tracy Steinbach’s plunge last Saturday. She explained afterwards that she has a 25th Tomahawk High School class reunion coming up this summer and was “feeling really old,” so she decided to jump into the icy waters of Lake Mohawksin – to what? Feel better?
She even put a co-working friendship to the test by making Sherry Venne jump with her. The Thelma and Louise odd couple were a hit and shivered away with the top team prize – a large plunger. Their cold cash pledges came to $1,170. Tracy was the top pledge-getter, too.
All sensibility also seemed lost with this year’s oldest jumper. Darlene Weirick of Gleason admitted to being 60-something. She hesitated for a moment or two at the hole’s edge and then took her leap. Age does not equate to wisdom, apparently.
You have to understand that some people think it’s “cool” to chill out dressed in a swimsuit walking on three or four feet of ice, just hours after the thermometer plummeted to nearly 20-degrees below. And some push the challenge to the limit.
Chad Lashua has jumped numerous times and been ever so close to winning the Longest in the Water award. Each time it’s been snatched away, however. This year, Chad took a leisurely swim around the ice pit like it was a summer swim at the beach. By noon the temperature was a balmy 19 above, after all. He pushed his tolerance to the maximum by staying submerged for a full 2 minutes. By then, he says, he had lost most of the feeling in his arms. His fingers were still tingling a good hour later.
All of this year’s plungers were savvy enough about ice and cold winter air to know to bring along footwear and place it near their exit. I guess my brother, Shad, took part in the plunge in Lake Michigan and stepped out onto the icy surface with bare feet. He not only had hypothermia to deal with, but lost a footprint or two of skin to the frozen tundra.
Like I said, you’ve got to wonder about people’s sanity – and it runs in my genes.