On February 4, the University of Alberta broke the record – again. In a sea of green and yellow, 2,012 students, staff and alumni faced off, on two sides, with 1,006 red balls in the largest game of dodge ball ever played. The university had achieved the Guinness World Record in 2010 with 1,198 players, only to be topped by the University of California, Irvine, a few months later with a game involving 1,745 participants.
Frank Robinson, dean of students at U of A, says if the title is stolen again, they’ll defend it. “We’re counting on it,” he says. “We already have people ready to play next year.”
But the event is more than just about setting records. The game was held to get students engaged on campus and take their minds off mid-terms and the cold days of February, says Mr. Robinson. “It seems like this semester’s never going to end, so we do something that is totally uplifting and fun.”
Other Canadian universities have also claimed Guinness World Records: 1,436 students rocked out at Brock University for the largest air guitar ensemble (since broken) in 2009; and the University of Guelph still holds the record for the largest game of Duck, Duck, Goose, played in 2005 with 1,415 participants.
“I think it’s a sign of a healthy campus,” says Mr. Robinson. He recalls the reaction of one of his students following last year’s dodge ball game. “When he walked out of the gym with his green T-shirt on, several hundred other green-shirted people high-fived him on the way out,” he says. “And, he said he’d never felt such a part of a community as he felt that day.”