ADA — A sea of 2,000 people wearing purple, red and orange shirts lined up on the Ada War Memorial Stadium football field Friday to throw footballs to attempt to create the Guinness World Record for the most people throwing a football simultaneously.
Ada has been home to the Wilson Sporting Goods football factory for more than 60 years. The business makes footballs for the Super Bowl and for those used by the NFL and other sports teams.
Ada schools students grades kindergarten through 12, teachers, coaches, bus drivers and staff joined with community business members, including those from Ohio Northern University, Liberty National Bank and Wilson Sporting Goods. Of the crowd, there were 890 students from Ada schools, 300 ONU students and 100 ONU faculty and staff who participated.
Dan Lee, Ada high school principal, a 2007 ONU graduate, came up with the idea for setting the world record.
“I am so proud of the students and to see ONU, the spectators and sponsors turn out. I couldn’t be happier with how it went,” Lee said. He said it will be known if Ada earned the record after submitting documentation next week and will hear back two weeks after that.
He said there is a true community nature in Ada and he hopes the attempt to create a world record made a lasting memory for participants.
Lee played a part in making the footballs that were donated for participants to use Friday.
“I used the laser machine and worked with an engineer to learn about what it takes to make a football,” Lee said.
Jacob Bassitt, Ada High School junior, said it is important that the community comes together to support one another.
“We may be a small town, but as a whole we have big hearts,” Bassitt said.
Scott Deaton, ONU communications and sports management senior, said it is an experience to get out into the community.
“It’s a lifetime opportunity, honestly, to be able to try to get the world record,” Deaton said.
Daniel DiBiasio, ONU president, and his wife Chris Burns-DiBiasio attended the world record attempt.
“I give a lot of credit to the high school principal. Ada school and ONU have a longstanding partnership and we like to help each other out,” DiBiasio said. He said Ada is excited about the prospect of setting a world record in Ada.
Wilson employees wore red shirts, Ada schools staff and students wore purple shirts and ONU students, staff and faculty wore orange shirts to show their school spirit.
Participants were paired off and lined up five yards apart from each other. There was a countdown and the participants then threw the football to one another. There were two practice throws and 21 lines with 50 people in each line tossing a football to a catcher.
Stewards with clipboards stood at the beginning of each line to make sure the number of participants in their lines were accurate and signed off on the attempt.
Wilson employees made and donated 1,000 customized footballs for each student who participated in the event to take home.
Andy Wentling, Wilson plant manager, said the employees at Wilson take a lot of pride in making the game balls.
“Ada High School reached out to us about this record and we are so honored and proud to help,” Wentling said. Wentling participated in the record attempt by tossing a football to the town’s mayor Dave Retterer.
Retterer said it was fun to see the participants excited and a great way to draw attention to the community.
“We have a lot of people with a lot of different backgrounds who live here. It’s a neat community to live in,” Retterer said.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.