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It was 30 degrees outside and partly cloudy. What would possess otherwise rational and clear thinking men to break ice with an axe and plunge into freezing cold water? I’m not exactly sure why, but the Conception Seminary Polar Bear Club tradition lives on. As a seminarian, I recall participating in the event two out of my three years. In recent years, the seminarians have been particularly keen on cutting a hole in the ice in order to jump in. Each person must submerge their entire body successfully in the ice cold depths of Lake Placid, and one is awarded a T-shirt. Retail value, about $10.

It was a little bit of lack of foresight this year that forced seminarians to use an axe as an impromptu tool to break through the shallow part of the ice.  Normally someone is out far ahead of time with a chainsaw cutting a nice square hole in the frozen lake, a good enough distance out that it requires a ladder to emerge from the water.  This year we settled with a little higher than knee deep water, since the thickness of the ice prevented further progress, but I assure you, it was still very, very cold.  The numbness from my fingers has faded so that I am able to post this message.

In the end, it was about twenty seminarians who took the plunge, including two of us monks.  While for many it does not sound like a good time, for those who brave the elements, it is oddly refreshing and invigorating.  I’m not exactly sure why.  Nevertheless, enjoy the pictures from the days festivities.
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