It was the very definition of “one for the books.” Former NLLer Shawn Cable headed a group 46 Calgary and area players who set what should be a Guinness record for longest lacrosse game this past weekend and raised a whack load of money for the charity Right to Play. The group set the mark (one didn’t exist for longest lacrosse game prior) at Calgary’s South Fish Creek arena, with the game starting at 7 p.m. Friday night and the final whistle blowing at 7 p.m. Saturday night. When everything is tallied, the group is hoping it will have raised more than $40,000 — which will be tripled by an anonymous sponsor through Right to Play — and in the process, carved out a little piece of history for themselves.
“It’s a pretty cool thing,” said Cable. “At the end, it was amazing. There was a lot of friends and family there. The arena was almost full. It really felt like a big achievement. Somewhat like winning a championship. It wasn’t the same, but it felt a lot like that. There’s one thing they can never take away us: We were the first to do this in our sport.”
The group played in three-hour shifts and were required to keep a proper scoresheet and do everything by the book.
“Believe it or not, it ended up 299-296,” said Cable, who hasn’t had a chance to tally who the top scorer was yet. “That was after 24 hours of playing. It was that close.”
The players guzzled Gatorade, ate power bars and fruit, ordered pizza at one point, had Tim Hortons bring breakfast food Saturday morning, and finished off after the game with dinner provided by Earls Restaurant. Former Roughnecks owner and GM Brad Banister and former Riggers netminder Ryan Avery were among the group that battled fatigue, aching muscles and sleep deprivation to set the mark.
“It was obviously a struggle to get through it,” said Cable. “Especially from that 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. kind of time. That’s when people were starting to get a little owly.”
Split up in three-hour blocks, you played for two hours minimum each block, with 30-40 shifts over those two hours before getting a break and then back for another three-hour block.
“What was really tough is you’d get an hour break when you still had to be part of the game on the bench. It was up to you if you wanted to keep participating or if you wanted to rest for awhile (during that time). We had to have 15 people on the bench at all times. That was tough cause you’d kind of seize up. Then you’d go for your actual one hour break from the game and try and get a little rest. But then it’d take you a good 20 minutes, half hour to get your legs going again when you started back. After every break it got harder and harder to get back into it.”
Cable, always one of the fastest and fittest players in the NLL, said the feat took a big physical toll on him and the other players.
“My legs are still really sore today,” said Cable on Monday. “I found some muscles that I didn’t remember I had. I don’t know if I’ve ever been that sore. Every muscle in my legs was so sore. Even after training camps and stuff, this was worst I’ve felt in a while — probably ’cause I’m older,” joked Cable.
Despite all this, Cable said he was impressed with how well the players had prepared for the record setting and how they kept hydrated during the event. Only one player was unable to complete the event due to injury.
“We had one girl who blew her knee out 20 minutes in but she was a real trooper about it,” said Cable. “She hung out and stayed with her group the whole time. She had her knee all bandaged up but she stayed courtside to be part of the record.”
Cable said they now have to prepare a package to send off to Guinness which includes — among other things — their witness statements, volunteer statements and complete videotape of the event. They will pay $500 to have their submission fast-tracked and processed in three days meaning they should have the record formally recognized in the coming weeks.
So what if someone breaks their record? Will Cable try and reclaim the mark?
“I’m happy just saying I’m the first one who did it,” laughed Cable. “If someone wants to do it and beat us, I’m pretty happy not doing it again, to be honest.”The assistant managing editor of the Calgary Sun, Pilson began covering the NLL when the Roughnecks started in 2000. The longtime lacrosse player has been contributing to Inside Lacrosse ever since. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to CalgarySun.com.
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