Lee University’s Alpha Gamma Chi surpassed the 24-hour mark to break the current record for the longest continuous played game of flag football Friday a little after 5 p.m.
The game was initially set to be played at the Ocoee Middle School field. Plans changed when rainfall flooded the field. Chi members quickly relocated to the field in front of Lee University’s Bowdle and O’Bannon dormitory building.
Michael Tapp, a Chi member, said the best part of the flag football marathon was when sun came out Friday morning.
“The best moment was when the rain stopped and the clouds went away and the sun came out,” Tapp said. “It lifted our spirits. We have been playing hard and having fun ever since.”
Spirits were initially high with the first two shifts joking and laughing. The players could not seem to resist sprinting for a sack or running for a touchdown. Movement became sluggish as the hours wore on, but a sense of camaraderie was still apparent.
Thursday night proved to be a challenge for the 28 Chi guys engaging in the world record. Freezing rains and cold temperatures made it almost impossible to stay warm. Few supporters showed up to cheer on the footballers due to the inclement weather and early hours.
Tapp said the guys had to stay focused on why they are going after a 50-hour world record.
“We used the tool of playing 50 hours to support these families and build these cities in Cambodia,” Tapp said. “That is what drives us in the mornings when no one is here. Real men do tough things. That is what it is all about.”
Planning and playing in a record-breaking flag football game has been all about recognizing Chi’s history while supporting People for Care and Learning. The goal is to raise $86,000 by Saturday at 7 p.m. According to Jake Stum, PCL’s director of programming and development, the fundraiser had accumulated over $40,000 by the first record-breaking ceremony Friday afternoon.
Talks between PCL and Chi began almost a year ago and cemented into a partnership four months later. The Greek social service club has been working with PCL to help fund the organization’s Build a City project.
Stum said he was very impressed with the club.
“From 3 to 5 this morning, it was freezing rain and miserable. When I got here at 7 this morning, they were just miserable,” Stum said. “I’m just proud of these guys. I admire them. They have worked so hard.”
The players have been taking two-hour shifts with each one playing at least one four-hour shift. A total of 28 players are a part of the game with seven on a side at any given time and seven substitutes for each team.
Chi’s Perfect 10’s, the club’s honorary female members, have made sure to support the players throughout the 50-hour stint.
Jessica Harper said the girls have been washing and drying the player’s clothes between shifts. They have also run errands for items like IcyHot and made sure the guys wear sunscreen.
“It has been incredible. I think once it started we have not been sure what needed to be done, but we have figured it out once we got into the process,” Harper said. “I love it. It is good for the guys to know we are here for them.”
Fred Garmin, international director for PCL, thanked Chi at the first record-breaking ceremony.
“On the other side of the world, people are waking up in Cambodia, and children are walking through gray water and sewage. In two more years, Build a City will be done, and there will be no more gray water or sewage,” Garmin said. “Just encourage yourselves with the knowledge you are doing something very worthwhile and significant.”
Tapp said this is what has allowed to the Chi guys to continue.
“What most of us will never see are the smiles on the faces of people we help in [Cambodia],” Tapp said. “We can go to bed smiling at night knowing we have made a difference in their lives.”
The second ceremony for 50 hours of play was set to be held Saturday, April 6 after press time.