Dodge, duck, dip, dive, dodge: These principles are ones that UC Irvine holds very near and dear to their hearts, as they made their second (successful!) attempt at breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest dodgeball game Wednesday afternoon.
The title, though strange, is one that the Anteaters aren't unfamiliar with. Last year, they broke the record with an impressive 1,745-person game, topping the University of Alberta's record of 1,198. The record has changed hands a few times, including (but not limited to) Alberta's snatching back the record this past February.
So, in an effort that could only be described as the largest athletic z-snap to ever take place in Orange County, they decided to take it back.
And they did. With 4,488 participants.
Hopes were that with an incoming class of freshmen and transfer students that the number would have reached 5,000, but I think the good people at UCI will settle for just under 4,500 and a sense of achievement that they can gather more people to go nuts and throw rubber balls than anyone else in the world. The students were divided and decked out in either blue or gold T-shirts that were doled out--after waivers were signed and turned in. Even when they ran out of T-shirts, students kept pouring onto the field, eager to end their summer with a Rockstar energy drink (more popular by far than the booth selling water) and some flying balls.
What's that you say? 4,500 college kids handed rubber balls on a hot afternoon and instructued to throw them mercilessly at each other? Chaos? Well, it was--to some extent. Though there was a valiant effort from the university to impart some sense of order on the sweaty, facepainted masses, in the end what swayed the crowd more was the propensity to scream one's lungs out as he or she hurls a slightly deflated orange sphere at someone with a different color t-shirt.
That, and the beat of LMFAO and Lil Jon's delightful tune "Shots," which the crowd cleverly manipulated into something that almost kind of resembled school spirit. "Zot, zot, zot zot zot zot," they chanted; this amalgamation of school pride become one of the big mantras of the day, joining a countdown from 10 leading to charges and massive volleys of dodgeballs from one team to the other as the most apparent slogan for the day.
"One of the keys to a positive record attempt outcome is communication," Guinness World Record Corporate Adjudications Manager Danny L. Girton Jr. told us, keeping his composure despite all of the screaming college students around him. "I was up [in the scissor platform] at the beginning of the game, it's a completely different scene up there."
All said, though, someone has to commend the staff for doing an excellent job containing the madness, and the referees for not totally losing it after getting pegged in the head for the 400th time.
When the game grew long and people were starting to get over the whole dodgeball thing, staff started moving the sidelines of the game further and further in, which worsened the problem of people who were called out simply moving to the back of the line and playing again.
At the very end of the game, referees came together and made a smart move: they pretty much arbitrarily (on a mostly "Hey, you look athletic!" basis) appointed a team captain from the remaining participants and had them (again, arbitrarily) pick 20 of the crowd's most promising players in a more easily contained sudden death.
The blue team ended up besting yellow, but not a whole lot of people cared. At the end of the day, the only win that day people were really concerned with was the one involving the number 4,488.
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Your move, Alberta.