September 25th, 2012. 4 p.m. Weather, a blinding 85*. The ARC Fields: the Anteaters’ final frontier. The game: DODGEBALL. 6,084 Anteaters of all shapes and sizes were drawn to the ARC Fields by the Call of the Ball (or for some, the promise of an awesome free shirt). Little did they know, they would set a world record today. Yes, these neon-clad, warpainted, Anteater warriors stormed the field in throngs of thousands.
In case you weren’t aware, let me update you on the messy state of affairs that is the dodgeball world record. Precisely last year, on September 2011, the same Call of the Ball rang loud and clear through the UCI campus during Welcome Week for the secomd year in a row. 4,488 Anteaters dueled hard and true on the fields, enough to win the title of Largest Dodgeball Game ever played. Not but 5 months later, Canadian students from the University of Alberta toppled our dodgeball reign AGAIN. Yes, those damn Canadians. Fast forward 7 months, add in roughly 6,000 ready and willing Anteaters, a dash of bloodlust, and you have what has definitely become the most feared army in all of history.Canada, we are coming after you. As 4 o’clock approached, the two teams gathered into centerfield. With the emcee on the mainstage rallying the chant, we set off for battle. With introductory and welcoming words from Vice-Chancellor Parham, the troops readied. The atmosphere charged up, the balls lined up, the referees bucked up, and the crowd riled up. War, in the most ballsy sense, was about to begin.
Dripping with sweat and gladiator spirit, the frontlines of the field were headed by the brave and honorable. Rallying every student to catch as many balls as possible, the leaders of the yellow team strategized to hold the balls for the ultimate coup: Code Name It’s Raining Balls, Hallelujah. The attack was given the okay, and a torrent of foamy, spherical doom rained down on the blue. With, seemingly, the entire baseball team siding blue, the yellow team suffered the worst of the casualties. I could only stay in the front for so long before I got a face-full of ballistic fury. Retreating shamefully to the back, I could truly get a sense of how competitive Anteaters could get (not to mention how much collective upper body strength we have). Balls rushed back and forth, warriors in the front fighting on like a well-oiled machine, and supporters at the back gawking and cheering. I couldn’t help but feel, as cheesy as it sounds, how much the competitive spirit could unify a student body. In any case, the assault from both sides kept strong for a solid 2 hours. At around 6 p.m., the frontlines thinned to only the most willing. Suddenly, the emcee called the battle to a halt. He requested the teams elect their fiercest warriors for the ultimate fight; the teams now had around 20 of their finest facing off, in the battle that will go down in history as the Battle of Ball-terloo. The first ball was fired by the yellow team, but the blue team was quick to retaliate. It was a bloodbath, or as bloody as a dodgeball face-off can get. After what felt like a few short minutes of volleying, from the flurry of balls, drenched in sweat, stood the winner. The blue team (which I still think of bribing the baseball team somehow) emerged as victorious.
But, in the end, this game was a collective and proud WIN for UCI. With 2000 students more than the expected turnout, we Anteaters demolished the previous record (take THAT Canadians, keep your universal healthcare!) and I am pleased to say, that we in fact, did hit it with our best ZOT. We hit it so hard, we got a trophy for it!
-Jared Alokozai asuci Staff Writer