One for the record books

More than 3,500 cadets participated in a single-elimination dodgeball game Wednesday on the Terrazzo, in an attempt to break a Guinness World Record. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Mike Kaplan)

More than 3,500 cadets participated in a single-elimination dodgeball game Wednesday on the Terrazzo, in an attempt to break a Guinness World Record. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Mike Kaplan)

More than 3,500 cadets participated in a single-elimination dodgeball game Wednesday on the Terrazzo, in an attempt to break a Guinness World Record. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Mike Kaplan)

More than 3,500 cadets participated in a single-elimination dodgeball game Wednesday on the Terrazzo, in an attempt to break a Guinness World Record. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Mike Kaplan)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Air Force Academy is known for many things - modernist architecture, mountain views, gliders, skydiving, academics, and leaders of character. Cadets hope that after May 25 it will be also known as the site of a world record dodgeball game.

Two teams of nearly 2,000 cadets each faced off on the Terrazzo May 18 to beat the Guinness World Record for the largest dodgeball game, which was set Feb. 4 by the University of Alberta, Canada. Their game had a total of 2,012 participants.

Lining the grass of the terrazzo, they played by the standard rules of dodgeball. You get hit, you're out. Someone catches the ball you threw, you're out. It was single elimination, no second chances. Permanent party staff from the Cadet Wing acted as the 84 referees required for the match.

In order to set the record, the cadets must collect documentation of the attempt and submit it to the Guinness Book of World Records. The verification process takes six weeks according to information on the world record keepers website.

The idea for the dodgeball game came out of Group 1, when Group Commander Cadet 1st Class Christopher McCool and Group Air Officer Commanding Lt. Col. Michael Hastriter were approached by Cadet 4th Class Preston Spaulding.

"He (Spaulding) heard that another university had broken the record and knew that the Academy could do even better," Cadet McCool, an event organizer, said. "We loved the idea and took it to the Commandant, who also loved it."

So what did it take to turn that idea into reality?

"There were more than 50 action items that we've coordinated including pitching the idea to the General Clark and General Gould, getting approval from Safety, procuring dodgeballs (and inflating 1,050 of them!), coordinating with Wings of Blue, Honor Guard, EMTs, radio station KAFA, two cadet bands, Security Forces, Mitchell Hall, and much more," Cadet McCool explained. "We've been planning this for months. "

Why did the cadets go through all this trouble just to play a schoolyard game?

"Because it will be fun," Cadet McCool said. "That's the main reason. Not only will it boost morale, but we'll prove to the world that the Academy is the best at mobilizing great numbers of people while we come together to break a Guinness World Record."