“It feels incredible,” Taylor Trotter, club president, said following the game’s completion. “Obviously there were times when we basically had nothing left and we had to dig deep and think about the kids and try to rally and encourage one another. Now at the completion of everything we’ve worked on for the past year, I’m just trying to soak it up and enjoy it.”
Forty-eight of the 50 hours were played at the field in front of Lee’s O’Bannon and Bowdle dormitories on Parker Street. The final two hours were moved to Lee University’s soccer field at the corner of 8th Street N.E. and Parker Street. According to the Guinness World Records organization guidelines, active players received five minutes of rest for every hour played. Breaks could be saved up to six hours for a 30-minute break. One of these breaks was used to make the move to the soccer field.
Supporters from Lee University students to community residents kept participants company during the long hours. Lee Greek clubs signed up to take shifts throughout the day and night. Players agreed the hardest part was continuing to play in the freezing cold without music and minimal support.
What brought participants through was the thought of raising money for People for Care and Learning’s Build a City project in Cambodia. The project is striving to build a city complete with everything from a marketplace to a health clinic in the third world country. Fred Garmon, international director of PCL, said the players’ goal was $86,000.
“Without the auction they have raised about $35,000, which will be matched so we are shooting for $80,000 to 86,000 when it all comes in,” Garmon said.
Fundraising included sponsorships, private donations, gifts and merchandise sales.
Garmon said the money will be used to build several facilities. It is hoped the money will also cover several houses.
A large crowd gathered to witness the club achieving their 50-hour goal on Saturday at 7 p.m.
“We are so thankful for Lee to be able to play on the soccer field. All Lee Day weekend they have helped us out so much and for us to have this and so many people around, that helped us,” Trotter said. “The moment we stepped on to this field our muscles and everything just rejuvenated.”
Phil Cook, vice president for enrollment at Lee, took the stage next to Trey Winn as a joint emcee for the final two hours. Along one side of the field, Greek clubs from TKO to DZT and Epsilon showed their support by wearing their colors and cheering loudly. The crowd responded to touchdowns, breakaways and flag captures with clapping and cheers.
Camaraderie among the 26 players managed to stay strong throughout the 50-hour game.
“With a bunch of guys who are [Greek club] brothers you definitely expected a little bit [of issues] going through, but we didn’t have many problems at all,” Trotter said. “When we had tiny little stuff it was solved quickly.”
Lack of sleep combined with continuous physical exertion took its toll.
“I think it brought us together in unity,” Trotter said. “Throughout this whole process we have had to depend on each other so much.”
Paul Conn, Lee president, said he was proud of what the Chi guys accomplished.
“This has been a wonderful thing they’ve done here. They set a very, very ambitious goal. As a matter of fact, I was thinking while watching them last night how much harder this is than softball [in reference to Chi’s 100-hour softball game],” Conn said. “... It was really an impressive ordeal and I am proud of these guys.”
He said he was aware of the project from the beginning, but was not necessarily involved.
“I think Greek clubs on the Lee campus are at their best when they are focusing on something outside of themselves,” Conn said. “I’ve been kind of pulling for them from the sidelines as they got all the preparation ready for the event.”
Alpha Gamma Chi and PCL have been talking for almost a year to organize the 50-hour game. Garmon said it was overwhelming to hear what the Chi guys wanted to accomplish for the nonprofit organization.
“Of course, I am an alumni of Lee and Alpha Gamma Chi and to think this club wanted to do something like this goes back to who they are, guys who want to do something and give back to the community. And that is what Lee stands for, as well,” Garmon said. “Dr. Conn was very silent about his role with this, but nothing happens around here unless the president gets behind it.”
Continued Garmon, “He and the entire Lee University campus have been so supportive of People for Care and Learning and everything we have done. This is a culmination of that great relationship of them working with the humanitarian organization to give back here and on the other side of the planet. We are just overwhelmed.”
“It is fundraising at its best. When you get so many people involved, you can’t do a project like this without a lot of involvement, cooperation and collaboration.”
Trotter said Cleveland jumped on board to support the club’s cause.
“The city has been so supportive throughout the whole thing and Lee’s campus — everyone has jumped on board and supported us. It is not about us by any means. It is about Cambodia,” Trotter said. “This is about the community of Cleveland and this is about Lee University. We are very excited just to be a part of the grander scheme of things.”
Garmon agreed Cleveland has responded well to the PCL mission.
“The entire Cleveland community is really getting on board with this project,” Garmon said. “More and more people in this community are starting to see PCL is a great vehicle to use if they want to help the poor. We are thrilled with that. Hopefully, we have earned the right to that credibility.”
Those interested in finding out more about the Build a City project can do so by visiting www.peopleforcare.org.
Recordings of the 50-hour game will be sent in to the Guinness World Records organization to finalize the new record.