Dodgeball Breaking Records

Imagine if you will, thousands of people facing off across a field of green, the members of each side clad in a uniform colored to represent their party, weapons placed between them. At the sound of a mighty call, the two sides will rush toward the other in hopes of being the last standing.

What reads like the battle scene straight out of “Braveheart” is planned to take place on May 22 on the sports fields of our very own Anteater Recreation Center.

The weapons? Dodgeballs. The battle? The 2010 UCI Super Dodgebowl, UCI’s valiant attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest dodgeball game played. Taking over for Mel Gibson? First-year Sam Shaw.

His blonde hair is gelled but messy, as if he has other things to worry about. His knee is bouncing like he’s on the move. He talks with his hands, smiles a lot and he hasn’t kept still for a moment during our meeting. One conversation with Sam is enough to understand what he calls “the burning passion” that he has for this record-breaking attempt.

So how exactly do you decide to break a world record?

As Sam tells it, his brain was wandering as he fell asleep one October night. He thought it might be cool to break a record. During an outing to Barnes and Noble he discovered the Guinness record category for largest group participation and decided UCI was ready-made for this record category.

The University of Alberta currently holds the Guinness World Record for largest dodgeball game played. With two teams of 600, the Canadian university broke the record early this February, but Sam thinks that UCI should be more than able to beat their 1,200 players with at least 2,000.

And why not? There are 22,000 undergraduate students, 5,500 postgraduates and thousands of faculty and affiliates associated with UCI. With anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 people showing up to the annual Wayzgoose festival held by ASUCI every spring in Aldrich Park, 2,000 people for a few hours of grueling physical competition on a Saturday afternoon isn’t an unreasonable goal.

Breaking a Guinness Record may sound like a lot of fun, but it’s no small task. Sam has been working since October to make this happen.

First, he had to confirm that it was possible and get permission from various administrative campus groups. Then he had to find a space big enough to accommodate thousands of participants and vendors. He also had to confirm through the Guinness organization that this would in fact be a valid attempt at breaking a record.

Sam’s involvement in ASUCI and KUCI were nothing but helpful in understanding the channels he would need to navigate to make this happen, but he recently realized that despite his active university life, he’d need a team to work with if he really wanted to break the record.

Working with him now are best friends and Mesa suitemates Chase Davis, Jordan Lau and Michael Ernst. While he continues to run the administrative aspects of this attempt, they focus on recruiting participation and sponsors.

So far, Mikasa has agreed to donate the hundreds of dodgeballs needed to play the game, but they’re looking to get an additional $5,000 for an official Guinness affiliate to verify the success of the event.

For Sam, this wasn’t just a random musing. Once he found a record that he could actually go about breaking, his mind was set and there’s no stopping him now. A big fan of motivational quotes, he says, “There’s a genie in all of us. People are silly when they limit themselves; they need to actually attempt things instead of just thinking about them. I mean if you shoot for the moon at least you’ll land among the stars.”

He knows that there will be other attempts to break the record for the largest dodgeball game played, but he also knows that the campus population alone puts UCI in a great place to break it now.

Sam did all of the preliminary work alone to get things rolling, but he doesn’t want this event to be all about himself. He loves being an Anteater and hopes to pass his infectious enthusiasm and school pride on to everyone else. In the end he hopes to connect UCI in a common goal and incite the lacking morale and school spirit that everyone’s always talking about. This is about UCI coming together and making history.

So come together, Anteaters! To sign up and make history at UCI go to http://www.SuperDodgebowl.com. After all, we can’t let the Canadians hold this record forever.