Cold enough for ya?


Mary Fafard

Andrew Tascarella, Sawyer Masure, Brittney Malik and Gabrielle Straight prepare to take the plunge for Team JSC

It was shortly after 11 a.m. when I stood on the snowy surface of Lake Elmore in front of the hole cut into the ice and said to nobody in particular, “I’m going to die,” three or four times. Andrew Tascarella said something reassuring back to me that I didn’t really hear, and a few moments later, he jumped into the dark lake in the middle of February. Then it was my turn.

This was Feb. 11. A handful of students representing JSC, Tascarella, a junior majoring in tech theater; Brittney Malik, a sophomore with a double major in communications and theater; Sawyer Masure, a sophomore and business major; Gabby Straight, a freshman majoring in musical theater; and I jumped into Lake Elmore for the Polar Splash.

Donations were handed in before the event began and will go to the Morrisville Rotary and Morrisville Youth Soccer. In the past, donations have gone to Justice for Dogs, United Way of Lamoille County, Laraway Youth and Family Services and more.

This year, the Polar Splash raised $12,595. Around 30 people jumped, mostly in teams, with team names like Ice Ice Babies, Wolf Coaches and Micster’s Tricksters. I’d been under the impression that this was a fun event.

Until I jumped.

I held my nose and closed my eyes and did it. I don’t even remember what the water felt like. One of my feet sank into mushy lake bottom, and I pushed myself up. I don’t remember how I got to the ladder either, but I do remember I was so cold that I couldn’t even curse properly, each word only half formed before it shriveled on my lips. A kind woman handed me a towel and a blanket, and Mikayla Turner from SERVE walked with me back to the warming tent. With every step, my socks stuck to the ice and snow. My feet felt like senseless blocks of wood.

I dried off and changed in the changing room with Malik and Straight. My skin had turned so red that I looked sunburnt. As I left with Turner, a few people asked whether or not I would do it again, and I told them no, emphatically. One man laughed at my response and said, “I’ll see you next year.”

In the warmth of the JSC van with my toes stinging and Turner asking if I wanted to stop to get a hot drink, I wondered why I’d done this to myself. I tried to tell myself that I did it for charity, but charity had nothing to do with it. I’d jumped because it made a good story.