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Dodgers, Other Brave Souls Take Chilly Plunge in Manhattan Beach

Feb 04, 2024 06:07PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Crowds mob Chris Taylor and a bunch of shirtless Dodgers before they and hundreds of others took the "polar plunge" into the ocean on Sunday.

The first annual CT3 Foundation Polar Plunge drew Dodger players and hundreds of others into the chilly waters of Manhattan Beach on Sunday.

The event, chaired by CT3 Foundation founders Chris Taylor and his wife Mary and emceed by entertainer Mario López, raised money for the South Bay-based Friendship Foundation. More than 300 swimmers paid between $200 and $1,000 to participate in the plunge, which was followed by a VIP event and live and silent auction at The Strand House. All told, the event grossed an estimated $250,000.

"Today was a fantastic first for the Friendship Foundation," said Kelly Stroman, managing director of the Friendship Foundation. "Our friends, Chris and Mary Taylor, are incredibly thoughtful and generous. Their inclusion of our organization speaks volumes to their passion and commitment to truly make a difference in the community. To see so many Dodger teammates show up and take part in the polar plunge was so cool… Actually it was cold, but hey, that’s what a polar plunge is all about!"

Under heavy clouds (but with the rain holding off), multiple Dodger players and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts came out for their last off-season romp before spring training begins. Seen taking the plunge were Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Will Smith, Tony Gonsolin, Brusdar Graterol, Gavin Lux, and others.

(Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts greets young fans)

Taylor established the CT3 Foundation after Kyle Profilet, a childhood friend, lost his two-and-a-half year battle with the bone cancer known as osteosarcoma in 2019.

"Initially, our first few years in the foundation were aimed at helping kids with cancer; and in the last couple of years we've been introduced to  many great organizations, and met so many amazing people - that's kind of inspired us to help other areas of need," said Taylor. "This off-season we were introduced to the Friendship Foundation and were were immediately blown away. This foundation is so impressive and they've been doing  amazing work here in the South Bay area for such a long time."

Manhattan Beach Natives Embrace Wintry Waters

Also on hand for Sunday's event were past and present Manhattan Beach mayors, including Mayor Joe Franklin, as well as Bob Holmes, Russ Lesser, and Linda Wilson.

(Left to right: Mayor Joe Franklin, Dodger Chris Taylor, and former mayors Linda Wilson, Russ Lesser, and Bob Holmes.)

Surveying the scene (and "guarding our turf") were the longtime surfing crew of Jack Ashworth, Charlie Paine, and Christopher Dugan, who surf the north side of the Manhattan Beach Pier. As the men showed off their "Manhattan Beach North Side" "Team Paine" jackets, Paine noted that he had been surfing for 60 years, "even before wetsuits and leashes."

(The "North Side" crew: Christopher Dugan, Charlie Paine, and Jack Ashworth)

The 59-degree water was no big deal to their crew, said Paine, but still, "This is a great thing."

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