World record for squareball players
by David Sorensen
Teresa McLevey, left, plays squareball with Esteban Rivera. (Photo by Chris Hammond)
It’s not just a game, it’s a global poverty fighter. Students who regularly play squareball in the courtyard outside the University Centre elevated their game earlier this month, setting a Guinness World Record for continuous play. The record-breaking feat was also designed to raise awareness about Oxfam Canada’s efforts to eradicate global poverty through its The Open for All campaign.
On Aug. 1718, members of the Squareball Society spent 26 straight hours knocking a soft, vinyl ball around four squares on the floor of a local school gym.
Daniel Miller is one of founders of the Squareball Society. The third year arts student said students have been playing squareball since the beginning of the summer.
The game is played by four players, each standing in adjacent squares. The idea is to knock the ball into one of the neighbouring squares. If you fail to do so, you are replaced in the game by a waiting player. Mr. Miller said it’s not really about winning or losing, it’s just a fun way to spend time with friends, and to make new friends as students walking by join in the action.
The group was asked by Oxfam to participate in the world record attempt and promote the Open for All campaign. So at noon on Saturday, Aug. 17, eight members of the society starting a game at the Gonzaga High School gym and played through the night, not stopping until 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Mr. Miller said the game took its toll on the players, but not in the way they expected.
“They had energy at the end,” he said, “but their body parts were not functioning at the optimal rate.”
The members of the world record team were Anna Smith, Eric Tarrant, Esteban Rivera, Mark Brophy, Mike Fardy, Stacey Chaulk, Subir Sutradhar and Teresa McLevey.
Laura Beth Power of Oxfam Canada said the Open for All campaign stresses investment in essential public services as a means of combating poverty worldwide. Specifically, it calls upon the Canadian government to honour its international obligations by raising its foreign aid spending to 0.7 per cent of national income.
“We must square up to the developing world by promoting free and equal access to healthcare, education, water and sanitation.”