Most Batesies would answer, “I jumped in a puddle.” It was the day of the annual Puddle Jump, hosted by the Bates Outing Club, a day when brave Bates students take the plunge into Lake Andrews in the frigid month of January. A tradition that began in 1975 on St. Patrick’s Day has only increased in popularity over the years, and has become one of the most anticipated events of the Bates College Winter Carnival.
The atmosphere surrounding the Puddle Jump helps get the jumpers motivated.
“The entire environment was so hyped up, so I wasn’t really thinking. I just kind of went and did it,” said first-year Julia Savage.
The crowd was excited and anxious, and everyone was cheering, encouraging the jumpers who crept cautiously towards the gaping hole in Lake Andrews. Some people wore costumes, others wore bathing suits and some wore their birthday suits.
“I think a lot of people were very excited and nervous at the same time. But once we got out there in the cold in our costumes, the atmosphere lit up and was completely euphoric! It was definitely one of the best events we’ve had so far!” said ThuyMy Do, also a first-year and a first time jumper.
After jumping, students ran to the nearest residence hall to shower and get dry clothes, or trekked over to rugby fields for a bonfire to enjoy some hot chocolate and cookies. Students were freezing, but invigorated. Despite the cold, many first time jumpers plan to jump again.
“The puddle jump is something I hope to do every year that I am on campus,” said McCabe.
What started among a group of friends years ago on St. Patrick’s Day, has become one of the most exciting and memorable experiences for a Bates student. According to Savage, “It’s Bates tradition. It’s what makes a Batesie a Batesie.”