For lacrosse team, cold comfort

Monday, January 31, 2011; D02

After spending an hour in a warm tent enjoying music, it was time to get ready for the main event.

Thirteen girls from the Archbishop Spalding High lacrosse team joined almost 12,000 others as they prepared to take a quick dip in the Chesapeake Bay on Saturday afternoon. With air temperatures in the the low 30s, the crisp, cool weather was less than ideal for bikinis.

Sophomores Jane Tuffer, 15, center, and Sabrina Davis, 15, right, kept each other warm as they huddled together for a photo. "It was very cold, but it was really exhilarating," said Truffer.

A few weeks ago, senior Mackenzie Jones encouraged her team to sign up for the 15th annual MSP Polar Bear Plunge, a fundraiser for Special Olympics Maryland. Last year team members wrote letters to troops overseas.

Then this past December, they raised money and donated five bicycles to Toys for Tots. Fundraising has become their way of team bonding.

"Maybe it's our school that's instilled it in us and it being Catholic," said Mackenzie, "but we think it's good to give back to people."

"We think Special Olympics is a great organization," said Mackenzie. "It gets people moving. And sports is a passion of mine and everyone else's here."

Before taking the big plunge on Saturday, the team had collected almost $1,600 in donations from friends and relatives.

"I thought it would be a lot worse though," said Davis. "What made it better, was that everyone else was freezing, too. It was like, 'Okay, if they're freezing, I'm freezing. It's not that bad."

Even if, says Truffer, "for 20 minutes I couldn't feel my feet."

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