When I was assigned to cover the Polar Bear Dip on the beach at the Florida-Alabama state line, I figured it would be just another event coverage story.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Polar Bear Dip was awesome.
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I had a 40 minute drive back to the office to think about writing the story, and that was just enough to get me into trouble. A couple hours later, I handed my editor the most ridiculously overwritten piece of nonsense I’ve ever had the courage to slide across the desk, and told him to be prepared.
Some choice passages:
“As noon approached, many people haphazardly pulled to the shoulder and stepped out into the brisk January breeze, choosing to walk rather than risk being late for their appointment with the sea.”
“En masse, they dropped their clothes to the ground, baring bathing suits and untanned winter skin as white as the sand beneath their toes.”
“Children and adults, men and women, of all shapes and sizes, stood together laughing even as goose bumps rose across shivering skin.
Together, they looked toward the ocean. Then when the clock struck noon, together, they surged into the surf.”
Thank God for good edits, because some of stuff he cut really needed to go. Among the chaff were lines like: “They came by the hundreds, probably thousands, their numbers were impossible to count as individuals were swept into the current of the crowd as it flowed onto the beach like a river toward the sea.”
Hey… Every now and then you just have to try, right?