Most people put their heads down and just try to get through the cold winter months, hoping for an early spring. Not Mike Ravin. For over 11-years, he has been participating in the Special Olympics Massachusetts’ Polar Plunge, a fundraiser where people jump into the icy Atlantic Ocean to raise money for the organization and its’ athletes. And while Mike does not go into the water, he greatly anticipates the chilly days of winter and the anticipation leading up to one of his favorite annual events that supports his team.
So who goes into the water? His brother Mark, Sister Allison, his close friend John while Mike and his mother Diane hold the towels. It’s all for Mike’s Special Olympics team. Together they raise between $6,000-$7,000 each year and spend a day enjoying the event’s festivities and dressing up in “I Like Mike” team t-shirts, shorts and colored socks.
Participating in events like the Polar Plunge along with competing as a Special Olympics athlete over the past 12-years has dramatically altered the course of Mike’s life for the better.
He was born with a mild case of autism and for years Mike was stubborn and experienced shut downs that kept him from participating in many school activities. One day he heard of the Cambridge Warriors, a Special Olympics team in his area coached by David Tynes. Mike began training with the 20 additional athletes on the team every Saturday for several hours. He soon developed talents in track & field, bowling and power lifting while also becoming better at following directions and attending to tasks.
Training and competing as a Special Olympics athlete gives Mike confidence and has helped him grow. He trains with a bowling league every Tuesday night and enjoys the camaraderie among those in the league as well as the chance it provides him to participate in the Winter Games every March. Recently he graduated from dead lifting 175 lbs. to 200 lbs.
Mike is well supported by his family and relatives who drive from Kentucky every June to watch him participate in the Summer Games. He and his Cambridge Warrior teammates (now 80 athletes strong) encourage each other to be their best on and off the field. He loves his Cambridge friends like family. Even as a veteran athlete, Mike still experiences positive experiences with Special Olympics and significant changes in his life. He is eagerly anticipating this year’s Passion Plunge and looks forward to raising money to give back to an organization that has greatly enriched his life…while having a great time!
The Polar Plunge supports vital programs such as competition and health programs that athletes like Mike depend on. You can help by being a Plunger or supporting someone you know or even Mike’s team. Go on over to www.PolarPlungeMA.com and see what you can do to help athletes like Mike.