I suppose the world will just have to treat me a little more special now that I can introduce myself as “Mike Gibbons, Guinness World Record Holder.”
Granted, it won’t be official for several weeks, and it’s a title that about 600 other people will be graced with. But it’s not like I need to share that little bit when I go to a restaurant and they ask my name. “That would be Mike Gibbons, as in Mike Gibbons, Guinness World Record Holder Mike Gibbons.” Goodbye, wait times!
It started last Saturday when I was browsing the web and enjoying my morning coffee. I saw a blurb about a Guinness World Record attempt at USC Aiken’s Convocation Center. The goal was to have the largest number of people playing a game of Knock Out.
At first, I had no interest, as I did not want to enter the Convocation Center only to fight my way out. Then my son explained to me that Knock Out was a basketball game. Far more appealing.
When we arrived at the attempt, I was rather unsure of what to expect. Parker had explained the game to me thusly: You get in a big line, starting at the free throw line. The first person shoots. If that shot is made, the person goes to the back of the line. If you miss, you keep shooting, hoping you can make a shot before the person behind you in line makes a shot, lest you get knocked out. If you shoot an air ball, you’re also out.
Based on my exhaustive Google search of about two seconds, I learned that the current world record of 571 players was set at Iowa State in 2012. Time to take down the Cyclones.
Everyone was given a bib with a number on it. Parker and I were in the low 30s. We watched as the numbers filed in, our crowd growing. Folks were on cell phones encouraging others to come out. People who were just spectators started to join. The crowd cheered when the USCA rugby team – clearly fresh from a match – entered the gym. They crowd roared when USCA’s rugby opponent, Lander College, followed right behind them.
As the numbers climbed, the excitement grew. We passed 400. And then 500. 550. 560. 570. 571. 572. Boom. Winner.
We got up toward 600 total, filling a substantial part of the bleachers. Since we had low numbers, Parker and I were at the line early. Parker was two in front of me. He took his first shot, and it clanged off the rim. He scurried for the rebound, just as the person behind him shot an air ball. Knock Out. I was next. Parker was lining up for a layup when I took the ball and – just focusing about the game – rained one down before he could put his shot up. And guess how much a crowd loves watching a dad eliminate his 10-year-old son.
Parker looked over at me with a look that said, “Really?” I held my hands up and said, “What was I supposed to do?”
Several people gave me grief as I returned to my seat, my knocked-out son in tow. When I sat down, a student turned to me. “That was wrong, dude.” Again, “What was I supposed to do?”
“Not eliminate your kid.”
Not an option, I told her. We play to win. I wasn’t cutthroat with him, but it’s how the game is played. When it’s my turn to shoot in Knock Out, I shoot. Even if I am then going to be booed by the crowd.
Turns out, my son wasn’t totally bummed about it, because being eliminated allowed him to go and get pizza and to roam free and not sit and wait his next turn.
I made it through three more rounds before I was eliminated, when we were down to about 100 people. I wasn’t that concerned about being eliminated as I looked at the remaining group of folks and saw that most were probably pretty capable ballplayers. Being the last man standing in that group was going to require a lot of luck. Plus, remember the pizza? Yeah, I was starving.
So it was a good day setting a world record, and I look forward to hear that the record has been confirmed. That will be the moment I know that I am not just Mike Gibbons. But I am Mike Gibbons, Guinness World Record Holder. Table for 600 please, no waiting…
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.