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Tournament falls short of record

Marisa Iati | Monday, September 19, 2011

Underneath the lights of South Quad on Friday evening, 221 members of the Notre Dame community tried to break the Guinness World Record for most participants in a knockout basketball game.

Keough Hall and the Student Activities Office (SAO) sponsored the event, Keough Hall Rector Fr. Pete McCormick said.

The players and organizers were trying to break the record of 379 participants set by Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind., on April 8, McCormick said.

“Sadly, we did not reach that number, but we had a blast trying to get there,” he said.

Keough helped advertise the event and provided the staff and DJ. SAO contributed financial resources and knowledge about organizing the event.

Event staff asked players to register when they arrived at the tournament so they could track the number of participants. Each player received a wristband with a number written in Sharpie marker. The numbers were crossed off when players were “knocked out” of the game.

McCormick said the knockout tournament was inspired by a family tradition.

“Each Thanksgiving, my grandma rents out a gym and we play knockout as a family,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to organize an event like this for my Notre Dame family.”

McCormick completed an application to the Guinness World Record committee in early August.

“While Guinness offers a free application online, they take four to six weeks to let you know if they are going to approve your attempt,” McCormick said. “When the tournament took place, we were at just over five weeks but had not heard from them. If we broke the record, we were going to submit all the proof- signed waivers, video documentation and photos.”

Freshman Carolyn Perez said she enjoyed playing in the tournament.

“I think it’s really cool,” Perez said. “I like the atmosphere. Everyone is out here just to have fun.”

Some participants said they were excited about the chance to break a world record.

“I thought it’d be cool to be part of a world record if that actually ended up happening,” junior Sam Wright said.

Other participants said their experience playing basketball was a factor in their decision to join the tournament.

“I played basketball in high school, and I wanted to break a world record,” freshman Emily Flores said.

The event was “a huge success,” McCormick said.

“While we didn’t break the record, 221 people had a great time on a Friday night,” he said. “I’m confident that we will break this record in the years to come.”