Kevin Love Takes The Polar Bear Plunge For Special Olympics Minnesota
Timberwolves forward Kevin Love has Southern California ties, so he has a little experience testing the chilly ocean waters early in the year. But that doesn’t exactly prepare you for a dip in a Minnesota lake in early March.
“This is a little bit different,” Love said, smiling.
Love took the Polar Bear Plunge presented by Law Enforcement for Special Olympics Minnesota on Saturday at Riley Lake Park in Eden Prairie. This is the 16th year of plunges for Special Olympics, and it has grown into a spectacle where people volunteer to raise money for the cause then jump into the frigid water wearing unique costumes of their choice.
[Related Content: CLICK HERE for a photo gallery from today's Polar Bear Plunge]
Love and mascot Crunch each took the plunge with a group of Special Olympics athletes, and they did so with the second group in front of a packed crowd. Love helped lead the Special Olympics Minnesota oath, and then took two leaps in his Timberwolves attire before hitting the hot tub to warm up.
It was Love’s idea last week to take the jump in support of Special Olympics, and he enjoyed the unique experience despite less than ideal weather for the event—by the time Love wrapped up his second jump.
“I was with the jumpers last week and I said, you know, this is something I’d want to do, jump in the water, make me feel alive for a great cause,” Love said. “It all came together a few days ago, and I decided to come out, have a great time.”
Plunging has continued to grow over its history. According to PlungeMN.org, in 2005 a group of 100 plungers raised $275,000 in five locations. By 2008 it featured 2,500 plungers in 11 locations and raised $725,000. Last year, 12,000 people plunged at 16 locations and raised $2.8 million for Special Olympics Minnesota.
On Saturday in Eden Prairie, Love’s presence raised additional buzz. Before he arrived, kids and their families expressed their excitement to see the Wolves’ two-time All-Star participate in the event.
Once the event began, participants jumped into the wearing a collection of costumes ranging from super heroes to fairy tale characters and everything in between.
Everyone came together for the same goal.
“Whether it’s for a great cause in sunny weather or cold weather, it’s always great to give back,” Love said. “More than anything we had a lot of fun doing it. The athletes had a lot of fun jumping in there. For some it’s their fifth time, sixth time doing it. My first or second time was a lot of fun.”
It’s a new experience for Love, and it’s something both he and the Special Olympics Minnesota athletes will take with them long after Saturday’s event is complete.
“It’s great—all the athletes were really great today since I got here,” he said. “I’ve only been here maybe an hour or less, but they brought me in, all smiling and high fives. It was a lot of fun—it was great.”