When my students asked me a few weeks ago to participate in a fundraiser, of course I said yes. I almost always say yes to my students. I get sucked into student activities more than just about any faculty member I know.
But of course, when they asked me to be in a dunking booth, I did think the weather would cooperate. I pictured a warm sunny day with no breeze at all.
Instead, we got a cool overcast day for the event. And of course, we had a breeze. We always have a breeze. What was I thinking? And the water was cold! For a very long half of an hour, I shivered on a small platform, watching my students hurl balls at a target, getting plunged into the water whenever their aim was perfect.
The dunking booth is very popular amongst my rural students, many of whom spend many summer evenings playing softball. But they seemed more interested in showing off their skills than in actually getting me wet. They kept apologizing to me, and I kept saying, "It's okay. I won't take it personally." The student who was helping to run the booth kept laughing and saying to me, "No, you aren't supposed to be nice to the crowd. You are supposed to taunt them."
Another student explained to me later: "In the dunking booth, you are supposed to trash talk the crowd, get them angry so they want to throw balls and dunk you." He rolled his eyes: "What happens when we put an English teacher in the booth? She's all nurturing and supportive, saying things like - oh, that was close, just throw that ball a little higher."
One of my male colleagues explained to me why I was the only female professor on the list of faculty who volunteered to go in the dunk booth. "I don't know any other female professors willing to appear in front of a group of college guys in a wet t-shirt." Uh, yeah. I never even thought about that.
Anything for a cause.