Blast from the past: Ice bucket challenge was a game changer in summer of 2014

GRAEME COUSINS casts his mind back to the summer of 2014 when an ice-cold social media challenge changed the game in terms of getting parental permission to do high risk activities

Saturday, 28th August 2021, 10:00 am
Graeme Cousins takes on the ice bucket challenge in 2014 with the help of his children Lucy and Ben

When I was a young lad I would rhyme at my parents for them to let me take part in high risk activities such as climbing trees, jumping off roofs and reading Hardy Boys novels.

Each time I was refused permission to take part in a dangerous activity I’d come back with the line, “But Simon Callender’s mum and dad let him do it.”

I didn’t always use Simon Callender as the benchmark. Sometimes it was my cousin Mark. On other occasions I’d create an imaginary friend to uphold my case for putting my life on the line.

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“But Jimmy Staples does it every day.”

The response from my parents would be the same: “If those boys stuck their head in the fire, would you do it too?”

At the time I’d have responded by means of staring at the floor and shrugging, but then in the summer of 2014 the ice bucket challenge came along and the game changed... “Mum, dad, can I pour a bucket of freezing cold water over my head?”


“But Jimmy Staples did it and he’s nominated me to do it and if I don’t I’ll be a social pariah.”

“Okay, fair enough, but at your age I’d hoped you’d have knocked imaginary friends on the head.”

For anyone who doesn’t remember the ice bucket challenge, it involved a bucket filled with water and ice being tipped over your head, a donation to charity, then it was your turn to nominate someone else.

I remember at the time being dubious about accepting my nomination. I’ve no problem with the charity element, but I’m not a fan of organised tomfoolery on a worldwide scale. Fun should not follow a template.

The fact that nominees are given a timeframe in which to carry out this challenge makes it feel like a terrorist threat.

Back in the summer of 2014 I deliberated long and hard about whether to jump on the bandwagon or become a pantomime villain.

In the end a text message made my decision for me.

After reading the message that said, ‘Wise up, you grumpy spoilsport’, I decided to go through with the challenge.

I couldn’t very well ignore the text considering it came from my old mate Jimmy Staples.

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