22 basketball players still in search of a world record

Dec 30 2011 - 7:27am

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NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
Blue team member Kevin Kennington gets some rest during the Fallen Heroes Scholarship fundraising basketball game at Clearfield Aquatic Center on Thursday.  See slideshows at www.standard.net
NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
 Alma Palmer stretches before taking to the court for another shift during the basketball game. The two teams hope to break the world record by tonight.
NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
 Marc Blanchard takes the ball in for a lay-up during the Fallen Heroes Scholarship fundraising basketball game at Clearfield Aquatic Center on Thursday.
NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
Blue team member Kevin Kennington gets some rest during the Fallen Heroes Scholarship fundraising basketball game at Clearfield Aquatic Center on Thursday.  See slideshows at www.standard.net
NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
 Alma Palmer stretches before taking to the court for another shift during the basketball game. The two teams hope to break the world record by tonight.
NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
 Marc Blanchard takes the ball in for a lay-up during the Fallen Heroes Scholarship fundraising basketball game at Clearfield Aquatic Center on Thursday.

CLEARFIELD -- Some have lost toenails, while even more limp up and down the court.

Most have lost track of the time, and almost all have no idea what's going on outside the gym that has been their home for the past four days.

Yet none of the 22 basketball players who tipped off Monday inside the gym of the Clearfield Aquatic Center -- in search of a world record -- have wondered what they got themselves into by agreeing to participate in what they hope will be the longest continuous basketball game in history.

"No second thoughts, none at all," said Keith Christensen, of South Weber.

"To see a guy, who can't move, get on the floor and then 15 minutes later be running around, that tells you that we're just willing it."

At 42, Christensen is the oldest player in the game and has an injured tendon in the back of his left knee.

"Now it is squeaking like a rubber band," he said.

Originally, 24 players began the challenge to play basketball for more than 107 hours and 45 minutes, the current world record. However, two competitors have been forced out by injuries.

"The first night, a guy hurt his back and tried to get into the shower and couldn't move," said Kurt Spencer, executive director for the Fallen Heroes Scholarship Foundation. "Then we had another guy roll his ankle and break two bones in it."

As of noon Thursday, the blue team led the white team by a score of 8,161 to 6,039.

Unfortunately, both injured players were on the white team, causing the remaining 10 members to adjust their rotation.

The blue team, still at full strength, basically has players playing for 3.5 hours then resting for 3.5 hours. The white team has two players rotating every four hours, while the remaining eight players rotate every three hours.

No matter what side they're on, the players are battling injuries during the physically demanding experience.

Travis Williams, 38, of the Ogden Police Department, got a bloody lip during the game's first hour.

"I contested a shot and got smashed in the face," Williams said while massaging his legs with a compact percussion massager between stints on the court. "I used Super Glue to fix it."

Destry Call, 16, of West Haven, has lost two toenails and has blisters on both feet.

The Fremont High School junior, the youngest player in the game, said the worst feeling comes when waking up from the short naps.

"After you're done sleeping, you're stiff," Call said. "But when you go to sleep, you hit the cot and you're out."

Others have found sleep more difficult.

Jordan Petersen, 21, of Roy, said that from Monday morning to noon Thursday, he had slept a total of 14 hours.

The players can rest on cots in a dark hallway outside the gym. However, most players said they have not slept well.

The lack of sleep has not kept Petersen from scoring on the court.

While individual totals have not been added up, the game's scorekeepers said Petersen is definitely the leading scorer. During a three-hour stretch Wednesday, he scored 160 points.

"My feet are really sore, and all parts of my legs are tired," Petersen said. "But we're doing it for a good cause, and we enjoy each other's company."

The game is raising money for the Fallen Heroes Scholarship Foundation, which will support higher education for family members of police officers, firefighters and soldiers killed in the line of duty.

The players have found ways to stay upbeat, even during the middle of the night when no fans are in the stands.

They have impromptu dance parties at mid-court when Michael Jackson's "Beat It" blasts through the speakers. At certain times during the game, a player who misses a shot will either have to do a pushup on the court or a pull-up.

"It makes you laugh and think, 'This ain't so bad,' " Call said.

The game is scheduled to end at 10 tonight.

If the players last that long, they will set a record of 109 hours for the longest continuous basketball game.

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