If you've spent any amount of time on the Internet in recent days and weeks (and if you're reading this, chances are you have), you may have noticed a sudden, inexplicable rise in the number of people dumping buckets of ice water on themselves. In case you're wondering, no, they have not gone crazy. They've just accepted their Ice Bucket Challenge.
The game goes something like this. A person dumps a bucket of ice water on his or her own head and challenges the next person (or persons) to do the same. If they accept the challenge, they get to challenge the next person or persons, and so on and so forth. That's the silly part. The serious part is if you accept the challenge, you're encouraged to donate $10 to the ALS charity of your choice. If you refuse (as, for famous example, President Obama did recently), you're encouraged to donate $100.
This thing has gone viral in the USA over the past week (it started about a month ago, and even earlier if you take out the ALS-specific aspect of it) and has been all over Facebook, Twitter, and even primetime network TV. If you want to learn more, here is a decent overview from our friends at The Verge and here's a social media breakdown of the phenomenon on Mashable. Meanwhile, all that ice and water has managed to raise not only awareness but has more than quadrupled the usual amount of donations to the ALS Association. Over $7.5m has been donated in the last two weeks. Impressive.
Thanks to the Internet, the challenge is now starting to spread to other countries. One of the latest participants is AS Roma, specifically the CEO, goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis, and the one and only Ashley Cole. And soon, presumably, we shall be treated to Didier and JT doing the same.
When I was at university, one of the classic pranks we used to pull on our friends was to fill a garbage can full of ice and water and dump it over the side of the shower stall on an unsuspecting victim. I can tell you first-hand that it's not a pleasant experience, though if you know that it's coming, it's probably not so bad. And of course the viral version of the game is not just for our silly personal amusement. It's for a great cause. And it's working.
Time to fill up those buckets at Chelsea!