Why We Love the Jump

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Ten reasons the Puddle Jump is the best college tradition (say us)


By H. Jay Burns
Photographs by Phyllis Graber Jensen

1. Tool time. Using a StrikeMaster gas-powered auger, pickaxes, and a two-man saw that might be a relic from Bates’ forestry program, Outing Club members hack out a hole with vigor, if not precision.

2. Perfect provenance. Long a St. Patrick’s Day mainstay (invented in 1975 by Chris Callahan ’78, Scott Copeland ’78, and Lars Llorente ’78), the Puddle Jump’s busiest version is now during Winter Carnival.

3. Risk-reward. “Everyone who jumps takes a personal risk for the glory of tradition,” says BOC president JeanMarie Gossard ’10 of Andover, Mass.

4. Fear factor. “I’m scared,” said Becca Chacko ’10 of Palo Alto, Calif. Yet she was steely-eyed as she clung to a friend before her “first and last” jump on the 30-degree afternoon. Post-dip, she reflected: “Worse than I thought.”

5. Numbers game. Friends jump together. Largest group this year: six.

6. Dignity begone. “You try not to fall going in, and try to come out gracefully,” says Gossard.

7. Naked guy. Remember to detour the Admissions tours next year.

8. Sinking feeling. During the two-hour jump, the ice around the hole sinks and water floods from the hole, adding to the splish-splashiness.

9. Thaw in relations. Costumes were a new twist this year, and Hieu Nguyen ’13  and Quan Mai ’11 of Hanoi jumped in with Vietnamese flags as capes. The times they are a-changing.

10. Mission accomplished. The Outing Club’s goal at its 1920 founding was to “make the out of doors more entertaining.” The scene on Jan. 22, 2010: Three hundred people at center ice on Lake Andrews, busting a gut. BOC vice president Kellen MacFadyen ’12 of Anchorage, Alaska, surveyed the scene and concluded, “There are no cliques at the Puddle Jump.”

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