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Dodging past a world record

UCI's Anteater "Antourage" throws rubber balls for a Guinness world record.

September 22, 2010|By Joanna Clay, joanna.clay@latimes.com
  • Members of the victorious Gold Team brave a barrage of flying balls to attack the Blue Team during a world-record dodgeball game involving 1,745 people at Bren Events Center at UC Irvine on Wednesday. The game was certified by the Guinness Book of World records as the largest dodgeball game ever played.
Members of the victorious Gold Team brave a barrage of… (KENT TREPTOW, Daily…)

IRVINE — A sea of gold and blue filled UC Irvine's Bren Events Center Wednesday as students smashed a Guinness World Records mark for the world's largest dodgeball game.

During UCI's Blue & Gold Spirit Rally, 1,745 Anteaters swarmed onto the campus basketball court, decked out in "Antourage" T-shirts and ready to show school pride and break the Guinness record.

The previous record for mass participation in a dodgeball game was set in Alberta, Canada, with 1,198 people firing rubber balls at one another.

By 1 p.m., more than 1,500 students had registered to play in UCI's game.

As the teams separated and faced each other, the emcee playfully told the crowd, "If they're not wearing your color, they are not your friend right now."

The throng of players got the message. Students chucked rubber balls decorated in an array of colors back and forth, competitively aiming to grab the record. As players dropped out or got disqualified, they went to the sidelines and gave support to their teams, blue and gold, as a deejay spun music and kept the crowd excited. Students were divided into two teams during the rally, but regardless of which color they wore, everyone knew they were playing for the same victory.

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Sam Shaw, a second-year student, had his eye on breaking the world record since soon after he enrolled.

While sitting in his dorm room, he came up with the idea to organize a mass participation event at UCI. After doing some research at Borders, he decided he could break a record while he was at it.

"I found that dodgeball was the perfect event, so I pursued it," he said.

This summer Shaw teamed up with UCI's student government and members helped him turn his goal into reality.

UCI's student body isn't usually described as spirited, but on Wednesday the Welcome Week event started the new academic year on the right foot.

"I'm excited for the school because they're doing something big," said Vince Wu, a sophomore.

Julie Chiuminatta, a fifth-year, felt simultaneously nostalgic and excited about the enthusiasm.

"I'm feeling the spirit I felt when I was a freshman," she said.

Although Shaw's goal was for UCI to break the record, he also agreed that the origins of his idea had to do with awakening school spirit.

"This is to instill Anteater pride," Shaw said.

When asked if UCI students need to be more spirited, Shaw replied: "Yes, that's part of why I thought of this. I was sort of frightened (back then) …. Where was the pride?"

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