For Lindsay Schwabe of Monona Grove Special Olympics, the Region 6 district basketball tournament in Madison this past Sunday was a great way to follow up an eventful Polar Plunge season.
Although Schwabe’s team lost both their games, it was still a special day for Schwabe and she was proud to earn her fourth-place ribbon. “It was a lot of fun to play different teams and meet new friends,” Schwabe said. “It was a blast.”
It was also the type of day that validates the herculean efforts of Lindsay’s Big Chill – the fundraising powerhouse team that has plunged every year for the last decade at the Madison Polar Plunge in honor of Lindsay.
It’s through fundraising efforts like theirs that more than 300 athletes on 48 teams were able to enjoy the event in Madison, one of nearly 200 sports tournaments held across the state each year.
Growing from a small team of five a decade ago, the 2020 Lindsay’s Big Chill saw an incredible 35 members take the plunge and contribute to a phenomenal fundraising total that exceeded $15,000, all of which goes directly to sports, health and leadership programming for athletes like Lindsay and her fellow competitors on Sunday.
“It was a blast to see my family and friends there and to have fun with them.” – Lindsay Schwabe
Lindsay’s Big Chill even included a surprise first-time plunger this year. Despite raising funds for the team for many years and helping out in an administrative role, Schwabe’s step mom, Paula, had never taken the plunge.
This year, Paula finally joined the team on the platform and in the water to help celebrate the team’s tenth anniversary. “Paula said it was cold when she jumped in but she told me it was awesome to jump,” Schwabe said.
This year also included a heartwarming feature story on Fox 47 by reporter and Madison Plunge emcee Dannika Lewis that showed Lindsay’s team practicing for this weekend’s big tournament. The segment also highlighted Lindsay’s Big Chill’s decade of plunging that had raised a whopping $65,000 for Special Olympics Wisconsin prior to this year.
Many of this year’s plungers attended the basketball tournament on Sunday too. Schwabe had no less than seven members of Lindsay’s Big Chill come watch her play basketball at James Madison Memorial High School, making for an impressive cheering section. “It was a blast to see my family and friends there and to have fun with them,” Schwabe said.
For Schwabe, it’s a statement that could equally apply to the Polar Plunge. She knows her supporters always have her and her fellow athletes’ backs. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Polar Plunge or a basketball tournament, Lindsay’s Big Chill will be there and it will certainly be fun.