Friendly Rivalry On The Rise

In September, UC Irvine broke the world record for the largest game of dodgeball with 1,745 participants, beating University of Alberta’s previous record of 1,198 participants in February of last year.

On Feb. 4, the same Canadian school took back the world record title with a game of 2,012 participants. However, UCI is already planning to take them out again.

UCI’s world record-breaking dodgeball game was held during welcome week at the Bren Events Center, bringing together a collaboration between ASUCI student services, campus housing and recreation and athletics.

According to Mark Deppe, assistant director of student programs in ASUCI, the event is being planned with larger space in mind, such as using the ARC or Crawford fields, and collaborating with local schools such as UCLA, USC, Pacific University, CSUF and Long Beach State for an even bigger capacity.

But looking to other fields for the game may not be necessary.  According to Daniel Spitzer, associate director of the Bren Events Center, over 5,600 people pack inside the Bren for graduation ceremonies. Utilizing the entire arena is made easier with the retractable seating.

Third-year international studies and drama double major Sam Shaw initiated the idea of breaking the record and helped organize things.

“I thought about the idea last year in my dorm and pursued it all last year and summer until welcome week,” Shaw said.

Deppe liked the idea of a rivalry and believes this record-breaking attempt may turn into an international rivalry between the U.S. and Canada. Shaw believes beating the world record is important to UCI.

“It instills UCI pride which is what I am all about,” Shaw said. “I live off of school spirit and I saw a low level here at UCI when I came in as a freshmen, and thought we as a student body could change that. A record was one way to increase school spirit and Anteater unification.”

Rory Tighe, vice president of student life with the University of Alberta’s student government, explained how dodgeball is a part of resident life on the campus with 80 percent of resident participants.

“The initial world record was 300 to 400 players,” Tighe said. “The campus was pursuing a dodgeball tournament already when they decided to attempt the world record.”

Tighe reiterated Shaw’s words that the event wasn’t really about dodgeball.

“It was about school pride, spirit and community engagement,” Tighe said.

Shaw also said that he wanted to focus on breaking other records, but Alberta taking back the dodgeball record has driven UCI to do the same.

While Shaw expressed that this was all for fun and was even more motivated to break the record, he wondered, “When does it end?”

While there may be no answer to that question yet, Tighe looks forward to the competition from UCI.

“I definitely issue the challenge to come out and try your best,” Tighe said.