Getting Dunked (Not Me) For A Good Cause

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Over the course of my career as a newspaper editor and publisher, I was called upon to sit in a dunking booth a few times, for one charitable cause or another. Being dunked is not the most pleasant of experiences. The water is invariably cold since the tub was likely just filled out of a water hose, and the sun has not had a chance to warm it. Then, there is the sudden shock of being plunged into the water, when someone bent on vengeance and flush with cash hits the target. Even though one knows it’s coming, the sudden descent into cold water stuns the system. At least it did mine.

I helped raise a fair amoun

t of cash, since in Nacogdoches folks lined up at the Do Dat Barbecue for a chance to dunk the liberal editor. Was it something I wrote? But getting dunked is not the most humbling experience I endured in the name of charity and community goodwill. Anything to do with me riding four-legged creatures usually did not end well.

Hopping on a donkey for a game

of donkey basketball was terrifying. The donkey chosen for me knew exactly what to do in order to be rewarded with a carrot, and that was to gallop from one end of the basketball court to the other, screech to a halt, and wait for me to shoot a basketball. I missed, of c

ourse. It’s hard to make a layup from the back of a donkey.

Another time, I agreed to ride a horse trained in the English style of riding, which apparently is considerably smoother than Western style. I was given a glass of champagne, as were the other fools, I mean participants. The obje

ct was to get from one end of the arena to the other without spilling the bubbly.

Good grief. I can’t walk while holding a glass of champagne and not spill it. I barely lasted 10 feet before deciding this was a waste of perfectly good champagne, so I drank what was left.


My days of sitting in a dunking booth, riding a donkey on a hardwood floor or hopping on an elephant (did that once) are likely over. That is not the case for my Beautiful Mystery Companion,who happily volunteered to perch on a dunking booth to raise money for the LeTourneau University choir, which is going to perform at Carnegie Hall next June. At her urging, I found a friend to loan us a snorkel mask and fins. A fellow professor wore a suit with tennis shoes and pretended to read a book, which quickly disintegrated after a student hit the target.

Soon, it was my BMC’s turn for 15 minutes of infamy. She managed to climb into the booth wearing the flippers, a feat I could not have possibly accomplished. I plunked down $5 for three chances to dunk her.

Now, some of you reading this might wonder if this was not the wisest move to make in the interest of harmonious matrimony. In many cases, that would be correct. But we have a good relationship, and she urged me to try to dunk her. It was my connubial duty to obey.

The night before, the Boston Red Sox had won the World Series to my great satisfaction, and they did it fairly early in the evening, allowing me to get a fine night’s sleep. So I was well-rested and prepared as I stepped in to chunk at the disc target, about 20 feet away. I pitched from a stretch, rather than a full windup, not wanting to strain a body part. And, blam! I hit the target and dunked my BMC on the first pitch. David Price would possibly be proud.

I missed on the next two, perhaps subconsciously not wanting to push my luck. But the crowd was thin, being lunchtime, so I bought another trio’s worth of balls and dunked my BMC on the second pitch this time. Her shift ended, and she headed home to change.

It was for a good cause, and my BMC was a great sport. I won’t say I fear revenge, but I am not getting anywhere near the swimming pool if she is behind me. Best to err on the side of caution.

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