Most of us have seen a person throw a football at a football stadium.
But what about 1,000 people throwing a football, all at the same time? Friday may be the opportunity of a lifetime.
Ada schools will attempt to set a Guinness World Record for most people throwing an American football simultaneously at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, at the football stadium in Ada War Memorial Park. The rain date would be 2 p.m. Nov. 1. People are welcome to watch from the bleachers.
The students learned about the record attempt Friday.
“We were just thinking last spring, ‘What would be something fun, a memory for our kids to have and enjoy?’” said Dan Lee, the middle school and high school principal for Ada schools. “We wanted to celebrate the things that make us unique and special.”
Immediately, they thought about the Wilson Sporting Goods factory in Ada, where more than 700,000 footballs are handmade each year, just like they have been for more than 70 years. That’s who makes footballs for the NFL, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Wilson agreed to donate a football for every child participating, Lee said, and factory workers are planning to join in on the attempt.
Then they thought about Ada’s other item of worldwide appeal, Ohio Northern University. Liberty National Bank also joined in on the idea.
“When we told all the kids, there was a moment of disbelief,” Lee said. “It’s hard to wrap your mind around the scale. That’s 2,000 people out there at the football field. We’re excited.”
Here’s how it’ll work, Lee said. They’ll line up every student, teacher, coach, bus driver and school employee from Ada schools, shoulder to shoulder, with 50 people lined up every 5 yards on the football field, holding a ball. Those people will match up with people from Liberty National Bank, Ohio Northern and Wilson, who will be back-to-back with an Ada student on that yard line. They’ll all wear different colors, with Ada in its school’s purple, Ohio Northern in its orange, Wilson in red and Liberty in blue.
Lee admits he isn’t a regular reader of the famous Guinness Book of World Records, but he’s been impressed by how seriously the group takes its records.
“I figured they’d say send the money and get the record in the book,” he said. “It’s a very serious thing.”
The British-based Guinness folks can be sticklers, with a lot of requirements to protect their book of odd accomplishments.
“Originally it had to be 5 meters to be a record, which would be 1 foot farther than a 5-yard line,” Lee said. “… They’ve agreed to work with us, so the football field would be the grid we need to field.”
Guinness already approved Ada’s bid as a legitimate mass participant record. They need at least 250 participants for that. They’ll have to videotape it, have witnesses sign off as a mass participation act and have stewards witness it happening.
Each participant will also have to have a numbered wristband to prove the final tally, which Lee hopes will reach 1,500 to 2,000. It’ll unite a community, with Ada’s mayor, the board president and ONU’s president all slated to join.
“This is something our students can hold onto,” Lee said. “It’s something that’s a fun community thing, to highlight Ada, Ohio.”