Longest continuous basketball game took its toll

Nursing shin splints, Bryan Carruthers said he underestimated the toll his participation in a record setting attempt to play

Nursing shin splints, Bryan Carruthers said he underestimated the toll his participation in a record setting attempt to play the longest continuous basketball game would take on his body.

“It’s the first time I’ve done something like this,” he said of the game in Spruce Grove last week. “It was definitely a learning curve, I underestimated, didn’t think it would be as bad as it was. Everybody took a hit on their body,” he said noting he was in better shape than some of the other 23 players.

According to rules from the Guinness Book of Records, the players were able to bank five minutes off for every hour they played. Therefore every night there was a two hour period when no basketball was played and everyone slept.

The players finished their marathon feat at 1 p.m. last Friday after clocking 113 hours of activity. They started Sunday, Aug. 19 at 8 p.m.

There were 12 players per team so when some of the team weren’t playing they were able to rest or sleep. Carruthers said he played two hour shifts and then usually had two hours off.

He was joined in the game by another Sylvan Laker, Dallas Hancox.

The white team defeated the blue team by a score of 9,516 to 9,508.

When the idea was first kicked around, the Guinness World Record stood at 107 hours, done in Romania by a group of 24 players. However, more recently that mark was unofficially eclipsed by a group out of St. Louis who played for 112 hours and two minutes.

The game was a fundraiser for Operation Amigo which sends mission trips to Juárez, Mexico to build houses, schools and churches in poorer areas.

Their fundraising goal was $100,000 but by the time they’d finished play, about $8,000 had been raised. That didn’t bother Carruthers who said there’s more money coming and funds will continue to be collected.

Asked how he got involved in the event which took place at Living Waters Christian Academy in Spruce Grove, he said it was cousins who live in the area who helped organize it through Stony Plain Basketball. The school and gym were donated free of charge and there were lots of good sponsors from the area, said Carruthers.

He also went to Mexico last fall as part of a group of 10 people on a mission trip from Stony Plain Basketball to teach basketball to youngsters in Juárez.

On the Stony Plain Basketball site he wrote of last year’s trip as “one of the most exciting and life changing trips I had ever been on”.

“The one main thing that I learned on the Mexico basketball missions trip is that I really didn’t understand how lucky I actually was to have everything I did until I went to Juarez Mexico.”

Despite their desolate surroundings, Carruthers described the happiness of the youngsters as unbelievable, stating he never saw them or their parents without a smile.

He’s planning to go back to Juárez in November.

The community, he said, is going through a lot of hardship with drug wars. It’s war-torn with a lot of corruption, a very dangerous area with high security alerts. But they stay in a locked compound where he feels “very safe” and they go everywhere in big groups.

“We’re not going for a holiday by any means.”

Operation Amigo was started by Carruthers’ grandparents, Al and Miriam Carruthers of Sylvan Lake, over 20 years ago after they travelled to the area and began helping its people.

They continue their involvement in the organization which has been responsible for building many homes, churches, dorms and a complete school. Other projects have included building and equipping part of an orphanage as well as women’s rehab and men’s rehab living-in centres. The organization funds all the school staff with Mexican teachers, according to its website (www.operationamigo.org).