If you don’t think swim trunks and winter boots are a fashionable combination, then you haven’t chilled yet with folks at the Brian Leahy Memorial Polar Bear Plunge. Families, pets, young, older, and those in between were among the brave souls who dove in at Tenean Beach earlier today.
The second annual event benefitted the Leahy-Holloran Community Center (LHCC) in Neponset. Leahy, an L Street Brownie for 10 years before his passing in 2009, took part in the South Boston organization’s own “Polar Plunge” every New Year’s Day.
To ring in 2013, participants registered on the beach at 12:30 then psyched themselves up for the plunge. Warm-up exercises included jogging, jumping jacks and throwing a football around. Some sported black “Freezin’ for a Reason” hooded shirts for the fundraiser, while others arrived in neon green and pink wigs.
As the bathing suit-clad crowd sprinted into the ocean, splashes, cheers, and whoops rang out through the winter wind. An ambulance and the Boston Police Dive Team were on hand to ensure the safety of all.
“It’s freezing! It’s freezing!” one boy screamed upon hitting the shore.
Christina and Jean, donning the aforementioned wigs, dove in slightly after the crowd. Christina (in pink) started her polar bear swim career with a friend in Coney Island, which hosts themed plunges. But for Jean, a Cambridge resident, Tuesday’s dive was a first.
As Christina searched for her pants, which had gone AWOL, she said, “It’s not that bad. If you can swim in the Atlantic in the summer, there’s no reason why you can’t do this.”
A Roslindale resident, she had experience in the New England waters in the late fall, swimming at Old Orchard Beach this past November sans the snow. These chillier dips reap good benefits for her.
“It makes me feel happy to be alive.”
Among others who disrobed for a good cause were Randy and Tammy of Fields Corner.
“It’s cold,” Tammy said, though laughing. “Stupidest thing I’ve ever done.”
With 15 mph winds and gusts up to 25 mph, the day’s 33-degree temperature was the least of their worries.
“I think it’s the snow on the ground that made it worse,” Tammy noted.
“Yeah, and being barefoot,” said Randy.
This was the first plunge for the couple who seemed cold enough to cross it off their bucket lists and be done with it. But would they do it again next year?
“I said no, but I think I might,” said Tammy.
“It’s the shock factor,” Randy added.
A pizza party, donated by Joe Sammartino and Phillips Family Hospitality of Boston, was held afterward at Boston Bowl where families, friends and neighbors gathered to warm up and celebrate the new year indoors.
For more information or to make a donation to the LHCC, visit leahyhollorancommunitycenter.com .