On Friday, I had posted a picture from Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld where a group of young men from various Boys' Brigade companies were trying to break the world record for the longest ever non-stop game of 5-a-side football.
Well, they did it! One of my friends, who was involved in setting up, co-ordinating and monitoring the event (but not playing!), sent me a message at 7am on Sunday morning to say that the two teams were still playing and it seemed likely that the record would be broken at 8am that morning. A quick shower, shave, dress and drive got me over to Broadwood with ten minutes to spare and it was good to see so many parents, family members and supporters around to celebrate the moment. What was even more impressive to me, though, was that although the record was broken at 8am the players didn't stop for anything more than a cursory celebration - adrenalin had kicked in, even after all that time, and they were insistent on continuing to play on, knowing that a break in play would 'stop the clock' as it were.
By the time another half-hour had passed, it was clear that they had reached their limit. Three players had dropped out with injuries at various points over the weekend and one of the teams had only one substitute left, putting extra strain in the players. However, they played on until 9am – with permitted breaks, they had played a total of 55 hours from Thursday night to Sunday morning, beating the previous record by two hours. All the documentation now has to be ratified by Guinness World Records, but we hope the record will soon be an ‘official’ one.
The whole event was an astonishing feat of both organisation and stamina, involving not just the 16 players but many support staff working round-the-clock, often with only short snatches of sleep.
I didn't have any connection to the event, apart from knowing some of the people involved, but it was difficult not to get caught up in the tension and excitement as the weekend wore on. I was glad to be there to witness the moment when the whole event was brought to a close at 9am on Sunday. The emotions of relief and joy and pride and sheer exhaustion were there for all to see. Some very shattered young men and some exceptionally proud parents. And time for a team photograph or two, before the players went home for a well-deserved shower and sleep.