Selectmen Kevin Murphy And David Braga Compete In Polar Plunge For The Troops

On the list of all-time great rivalries there are Muhammad Ali versus Joe Frazier, Duke versus North Carolina and the Boston Red Sox versus the New York Yankees.

Now Falmouth can add Kevin E. Murphy versus David Braga to that list, for tomorrow the two selectmen will go head-to-head as they dive — or more likely, walk gingerly— into the frigid waters of Old Silver Beach.

This is the second year in a row the pair have participated in a polar plunge. Last year they did so on New Year’s Day in a fundraiser for the Cape Cod Center for Women. This year they prolonged the pain and suffering that goes along with taking a dip in Falmouth’s mid-winter ocean waters by a few weeks in order to participate in the annual Polar Plunge for the Troops, which raises funds for the Falmouth Military Support Group.

Last year’s Braga-Murphy showdown was a competition that started the prior summer when Mr. Braga made a playful comment at a board meeting that he would take the plunge if his colleague did.

This year the stakes have been raised. Both are putting a $50 donation to the military support group on the line to see who can stay in the water the longest.

At recent meetings, Mr. Murphy has talked the kind of trash that would make Ali proud, including this gem following Monday’s session: “Hey Braga, you better take a warm shower on Saturday morning because that water’s going to be cold.”

For his part Mr. Braga has been reticent, at least publicly. “He’s just trying to psych me out,” Mr. Braga said on Wednesday. When asked if the tactic is working, Mr. Braga said, “No. Not at all.”

At recent meetings, Mr. Murphy has talked the kind of trash that would make Ali proud, including this gem following Monday’s session: “Hey Braga, you better take a warm shower on Saturday morning because that water’s going to be cold.”

At the past two board meetings, Mr. Murphy has even gone so far as to try to lure Town Manager Julian M. Suso and Acting Chief Edward A. Dunne into taking a January swim.

Mr. Suso pointed out to the chairman last week that he did, in fact, dip his toes into Old Silver Beach last year on New Year’s Day. Whether he will go further tomorrow is unclear as the town manager remains non-committal. “I’ve taken it under advisement,” he said, adding in half-jest, “I never did confirm the date or time with Kevin on it.”

Polar Plunge Not Part Of Suso's Contract

Prior to coming to Falmouth, he laughed that he was never informed about the possibility he may have to participate in a polar plunge as a town manager. “It never occurred to me something like this would come up with any regularity,” he said. “But I recognize that all this is for a good cause and it is certainly not unwelcome. It is another fascinating aspect to a fascinating community.”

The Dunnes can already lay claim to one member of their family having taken a swim in the Atlantic Ocean this year, though it was not the chief. It was his wife Melinda A. Dunne, who did so on New Year’s Day in Maine. “I don’t know why she did it,” he laughed in a phone interview this week. “I’ve been married to her 21 years and I still haven’t figured her out. It was something different I guess.”

Related Content

4th Annual Polar Plunge for the Troops 

Where: Old Silver Beach 

When: Registration starts at 11:30 AM; the plunge is at noon

Participants are asked to give a $20 donation to the plunge, which is being held in memory of the late-Sergeant Matthew R. Gallagher of North Falmouth. 

Additional information can be found at the Falmouth Military Support Group’s website.

He had a good excuse for not following her into the water that day: “She needed me to hold her clothes and take the video.”

As he is currently battling a cold, one that has hit several of his fellow officers, Chief Dunne was also unsure whether he would be heading to the beach tomorrow.

And though his predecessor Anthony J. Riello did so in January 2009 shortly after being hired in Falmouth, Chief Dunne pointed out that “he did it when he was the chief. I’m only the acting chief. Maybe I can just put my toes into the water. I may put that out there.” He may have to do more than that as Yarmouth Deputy Police Chief Steven Xiarhos plans on attending tomorrow’s plunge, and in doing so has put out a friendly challenge to his counterpart in Falmouth.

In preparation for tomorrow’s event Mr. Murphy said “I’ve been taking a swim once a day” before pausing to add “in the bathtub.”

For all his bluster, Mr. Murphy said, he will most likely end up on the losing end of his bet with Mr. Braga. “Quite candidly, I know I will pay the extra $50 to charity right away,” he said. “I’m not foolish enough to be sick the rest of the winter.”

While he has been the more vocal of the two in public, Mr. Murphy said, behind the scenes Mr. Braga has not been afraid to trade verbal jabs with his colleague.

Though all of the banter is being done in fun, Mr. Murphy said it should not underscore the importance of the event, which is going to benefit the Falmouth Military Support Group. “It is for a good cause,” he said. “What we do in our community is work to make sure we take care of those who take care of us.


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