It makes sense that hockey players would be well suited to the Polar Plunge. There’s no doubting their toughness or their comfort with ice and extreme temperatures. So naturally, some members of Madison’s hockey community have been plunging together in the Madison Polar Plunge for several years now.
But this year is going to be a little different for the Shrinky Dinks, who are made up of women from the Madison Dread Pirates and Sun Prairie Rage hockey clubs. The Shrinky Dinks’ Plunge in 2018 is being dedicated to SOWI athlete Krista Hinckley, who is heading to Seattle this summer as a member of Team Wisconsin for the Special Olympics USA Games in bowling.
“I felt good just to be nominated, but when I heard I made the Special Olympics Team Wisconsin I was jumping up-and-down happy. First thing I did was call my 92-year-old grandma who taught me how to bowl to share my good news with her.” – SOWI athlete Krista Hinckley
Hinckley’s sister, Natalie, is a hockey player for the Rage and a friend of the Shrinky Dinks. She approached them with the idea of taking the Plunge in honor of her sister’s USA Games accomplishment.
“Of course we said yes!” said Shrinky Dinks member Kelly Staerzl. This gave the Shrinky Dinks an added incentive to their annual tradition. “Once a year, we like to get together, raise some money for a great cause, and check out the other side of the ice,” Staerzl said.
Of course, Hinckley was beside herself to have the support of the Shrinky Dinks as she embarks on the unforgettable USA Games adventure. “I am honored that Kelly and the Shrinky Dinks are dedicating their Plunge to me. My sister Natalie is helping me host a ‘thank you’ party for them after the plunge,” Hinckley said.
Hinckley has gone to many of her sister’s games to cheer them on, so this is a nice way for them to help cheer her on. Not that she needs much cheering, considering how happy Hinckley was just finding out she was selected for Team Wisconsin. “I felt good just to be nominated, but when I heard I made the Special Olympics Team Wisconsin I was jumping up-and-down happy,” Hinckley said. “First thing I did was call my 92-year-old grandma who taught me how to bowl to share my good news with her.”
“Once a year, we like to get together, raise some money for a great cause, and check out the other side of the ice.” – Kelly Staerzl
Although Hinckley won’t be taking the Plunge, she’ll be there with a front-row spot to watch the Shrinky Dinks plunge for her. She’ll also get acknowledged by the emcee during the Plunge for her achievement in making Team Wisconsin. This is just the kind of friendliness and support that makes SOWI so special to Hinckley. “My favorite part of Special Olympics is knowing I will meet friendly people whenever I go to one of their events. I enjoy meeting new people,” Hinckley said. “I moved here just two years ago, and felt right at home joining the Sugar River Special Olympic team.”
By doing awesome things like taking the Polar Plunge for her, the Shrinky Dinks and the women of the Madison hockey community have helped make Hinckley feel right at home too.