UC Irvine set a new record for the world’s largest Capture the Flag match after 2,888 students gathered at the Anteater Recreation Center Tuesday afternoon.
“We’ve been working pretty much this entire summer on this world record attempt,” explained ASUCI President Parshan Khosravi. “A lot of this was possible because of our exemplary Vice President of Student Services Nicole Dizon. She has done a lot of work to get this world record event to happen.”
Queen’s University in Canada previously held the record for world’s largest game of Capture the Flag in 2014. Also a part of their campus’s orientation week, the world record attempt managed to gather 2,017 students.
“I don’t think I could be more excited,” said freshman film and media studies major Claudia O’Flaherty. “I was already psyched to be here [at UC Irvine], but this [world record event] made things much more fun.”
As the gates opened at 11 a.m. students chose either blue or gold for their teams. Performances by dance groups such as the Hawaii Club and Modern Completely Insane Anteaters (MCIA) entertained the crowd until the game’s start.
Participants wandered around the field, purchasing food and drinks from the various clubs and organizations that had booths on the field moments before the match.
The 30-minute game officially began at 1 p.m. as students from both sides charged the center field, attempting to capture the opposing team’s flags without getting tagged by enemy players.
More than 20 flags were located at each team’s home base, and the team to successfully secure more flags than the other would win the game.
“I was most definitely a defender. I pretty much spent the entire time by a flag. It didn’t stop one guy from swiping it from under us though,” said O’Flaherty.
Offensive players looking to capture the opposing team’s flags frequently organized into small or medium sized groups. Although some players chose to capture a flag unaccompanied by other teammates, most successful captures came from group efforts which promoted an atmosphere of cooperation and teamwork.
Despite this environment of collaboration, most players remained stationary, staying on their side’s half of the field and opting to guard flags.
Students continually flowed into the fields, deciding which team they wanted to play regardless of selecting the appropriate shirt. Adding to the fun, announcers taunted the losing team, often compelling players to push for a flag capture even when their team was in a favorable position in terms of retained flags.
ASUCI student services had planned and organized the world record attempt since the beginning of summer. This is the sixth straight year UC Irvine has accomplished such a feat.
The game of capture the flag was chosen after analyzing various student surveys about potential world record ideas. ASUCI assessed the practicality, level of enjoyment and the ability to host the event into consideration when selecting this world record.
“At the beginning of the planning process, ASUCI noticed a trend with our world records: all of them have been competition-based,” explained Vice President of Student Services Nicole Dizon. “Once I discovered that we [would be able to break this record], I recognized the potential impact that this record could have on our community.”
Despite several budgeting issues throughout the process, ASUCI ensured fiscal challenges could be overcome without hurting the budget for the coming academic year through careful planning.
Students were also able to make monetary donations to cancer research organizations like Stand Up to Cancer while at the event.
“This year we combined UCI Give Back, an annual philanthropic Welcome Week event from the Office of Administrative Affairs in ASUCI, with the world record attempt to accommodate our budget,” said Dizon. “When Alex Fung, the Administrative Affairs Vice President, proposed his idea of cancer awareness as his Give Back cause, I latched onto it and allowed it to shape the world record.”
Breaking and setting world records has become a Welcome Week tradition for UCI, first starting with the world’s largest dodgeball game in 2010. The university also set the record for the world’s largest water pistol fight in 2013 and the world’s largest pillow fight the following year.
After Guinness World Record adjudicator Michael Empric announced the gold team as the winner and awarded a plaque, the crowd of students gave one last cheer before swiftly dispersing.