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Mirror Lake jump 2012: Prepare to plunge

Lantern file photo

Forget Summer Orientation and the first 12 weeks of classes at Ohio State; you haven’t earned your Buckeye helmet stickers until you’ve participated in the Mirror Lake jump.
I don’t think anyone will understand why college students decide to get plastered and jump into a glorified pond. My mom still can’t grasp the concept. Every year she asks me, “Are you jumping this year? You are going to get sick!” But many of the OSU faithful see the risks associated with the jump as a rite of passage.
I’ve heard several conflicting reports as to why Buckeye students make the jump. When I first came to school in 2009, I was told that the purpose was to raise the spirit of former football coach Woody Hayes to help us beat that state up north. In subsequent years, I have been told that a group of students just decided to jump in Mirror Lake and other students began to follow. Neither explanation really matters to me. As we approach the holiday season, I think that the point is to celebrate our great university and reflect on why we love this school.
For first-time jumpers, there are several things you should expect. I can tell you right now that you aren’t prepared for how cold that water will be. When I jumped in 2009, the chill from the lake knocked the breath right from my lungs.
Bad weather is usually in the forecast too. I remember snow in 2010 and rain last year. Oh sure, when you run to the lake in your underwear the adrenaline will help keep you warm. But when you finally leap from safety into the dark water, be prepared for the most intense cold you’ve ever felt. It’s like Santa Claus punched you in the stomach with a brain freeze. And once you get out of the water, you still have to sprint back to your house or dorm, covered in pond scum and mud.
But as disgusting as the lake might be, it is the most satisfying filth imaginable. I still remember everything about each jump. I remember the people I was with and the time I fractured my tailbone, but that’s another story. As my last jump approaches, I prepare for Santa’s fists once again. Remember to be safe, but this is your time to show your Buckeye pride. See ya at the lake!

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