Top of the Morning, Feb. 27, 2014
I asked Lynnsee Brownfield if she had seen the forecast for Saturday (temperatures in the 20s, a good chance of snow).
"Yes," she said. "I don't want to talk about it."
Brownfield and up to 500 others will participate in the annual Polar Plunge at Lake of the Woods in Mahomet. The chilly event raises money for Special Olympics Illinois. If you'd like to give it a try, call Jackie Walk at 217-355-1750.
Brownfield, a 28-year-old special education teacher at Urbana Middle School, has plunged before. Asked what it feels like to barrel-roll into freezing water, she said "it's approximately 104 degrees colder than you imagined it would be."
How do you practice?
"I don't want to give away all of my secrets, but it includes a tricycle, 16 gallons of ice-cold water and my husband's swim trunks."
A friend asks you if they should do it. You say ...
"Are you insane?! But, yes, you should."
Ever run into any fish?
"When they are frozen and floating at the top, it's unavoidable."
What's your pre-plunge music?
"Before my eardrums go numb, it's usually a nice mix of Eminem, the Beach Boys and Billy Ray Cyrus."
Showing school spirit
Several area schools are sending teachers and students into the water Saturday, including Rantoul High. Last year, more than 25 Eagles took a dip.
"I am hoping we have our biggest turnout yet," Rantoul special ed teacher and event organizer Joel Kukuck said.
Led by students Tylor Vannarath, Janet Napoli and Onessia Washington, Rantoul — which goes by Freezin' Eagles — has raised serious funds for Special Olympics. Now comes the hard part.
"I have found out that the colder it is, the better the water feels," Kukuck said. "Students and staff still look at me like I'm crazy when I say that unless they have actually participated in the plunge."