By Mallory Sherwood, Features Editor
They’re not just crazy. They’re insane. And that is how they like it.
Forty members of Gamma Sigma Phi plan to break a world record by playing a 60-hour softball game during Insanity for Humanity. They want to raise more than $68,000 for Habitat for Humanity in Abilene.
This year is not the first that members of GSP have tried something unorthodox to raise money for charities in town. In past years, the social club has completed a bike ride to Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., and two runs to Harding University in Harding, Ark. They also played the world’s longest basketball game at 25 hours in 2001.
Patrick Vincent, junior finance major from Arlington, is one member who has been involved in planning the softball game.
“We were thinking of outrageous things to do for this year, and the first thing we thought of was to paddle the Mississippi River,” Vincent said.
He said they decided not to paddle down the river because of safety issues and instead chose the softball idea after flipping through the Guinness Book of World Records.
“The record then was only 35 hours,” Vincent said. “But then some people from Ireland came in and crashed that, so we had to really reach to pass them.
“We liked the softball idea because it could take place on campus and everyone could be a part of it.”
Vincent said the original goal was to play for 40 hours straight, but now they are going for 60 hours.
Justin Scott, junior political science major from Whitehouse, said GSP has had a long history with charity events in the past, and Habitat for Humanity has always been the charity they like to help.
Habitat for Humanity helps people who need a home. They are given interest-free mortgages, and the people have to work at least 350 hours on houses. One hundred hours is spent on someone else’s house, and the other 250 hours is spent building their own home.
“The big thing to us is that a house is something they can call their own, and a house makes such a big difference in a person’s life,” Scott said.
To help people receive a house, members of the team must raise funds.
Forty players will be on the teams, and each player must raise at least $650 to play, Scott said. In addition to raising money, each player must play at least every three hours to limit the amount of time they will sleep. The game will begin at 7 a.m. Thursday and end at 7 p.m. Sunday at the intramural field by Elmer Gray Stadium.
To raise money, members have asked local businesses to sponsor the softball game, and each member has sent at least 20 to 30 personal letters to their hometowns for support, Vincent said.
Skinny’s, Starbucks and the Mall of Abilene are a few of the sponsors. These businesses will be advertised on the club’s Web site, www.insanityforhumanity.com, and on T-shirts.
So far, the club has raised more than $15,000, and more has been promised, Vincent said.
When all is said and done, GSP hopes to have raised at least $68,000 to give to Habitat for Humanity to help build three more houses in the community.
Although members are fully supportive of the charity event, Scott said many were unsure at the beginning.
“I think a lot of the guys were looking to the past at all of the bigger things we had done and were hoping for a big trip like the run to Harding University,” Scott said. “Once they realized that we were going to break a world record, though, they really liked it.”
According to the Guinness World Records Web site, someone who wants to break a record must submit a request for the record they wish to set or break, and then wait a minimum of four to six weeks for a reply.
Besides breaking records and getting no sleep, members of GSP will also help with a carnival at the event.
Scott said they hope to have a carnival-type atmosphere with bands playing, a children’s fair, a home-run derby and a dunking booth. If all goes according to plan, game sponsors will be present to recruit students for jobs.
“We want it to be a fun time where students and people from the community with their families can come and enjoy themselves,” Scott said.
Vincent said although the game is exciting to be a part of, the best part for him is knowing this is one of the most meaningful things he can do while at ACU.
“There are a lot of poor people in Abilene, and this is a way for us to serve them,” Vincent said. “We put forth an effort to get a grade or to get our homework done, things that really, in the end, don’t matter a whole lot. This is a way for us to serve as Jesus served.”