By Ashley Thompson
THE HANTS JOURNAL
Justin Chislett is working on getting St. Croix, N.S. – and 40 of the province’s most dedicated softball players – in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Chislett, 25, is asking ball players from all over the province to help him beat the record for the world’s longest slow pitch softball marathon at the St. Croix field, on Ball Park Road from Sept. 24 – 29.
After submitting an application to challenge the record about a month ago, Chislett received an email from Guinness World Records on Aug. 23 inviting him to top the time of 115 hours and three minutes of continuous softball play set in Waskatenau, Alberta, last June.
Chislett, an avid reader of the Guinness Book of World Records and long-time softball player, is thrilled to have the opportunity to promote the sport he loves at his home field.
“It’s been tears of joy and livin’ on cloud nine . . . ” Chislett says.
Now, he must find enough bodies to form two teams of 20 people ready to commit to one game of softball for five straight days, or 120 hours.
“You can sub in and out as much as you want, but it has to be continuous play; we’re gonna need 40 dedicated campers.”
Each co-ed team must keep 10 players on the field at all times, except at the end of each hour when there will be a five-minute rest period. All participants are required to stay on the ball park grounds from the time the first pitch is thrown, until the final whistle is blown.
With the exception of unlimited substitutions, regular slow pitch rules apply, but conversations with the umpires are strictly banned as questioning calls may be perceived as unnecessary idle time.
The event is open to anyone 16 years of age or older who is up for the challenge. Players between the ages of 16 and 18 must have written parental consent to participate and everyone else must sign a competition waiver provided by Guinness World Records.
Chislett, with help from pals Paul Shulba and Christina Sands, is hoping to gain enough sponsorship from interested businesses to keep all participants fed for five days. He says companies wishing to get involved can sponsor an employee to play in the marathon if they are unable donate food or cash.
“We need the players to have the tournament so that’s kind of step one,” he laughed.
“We’re just lookin’ to have some fun and break a world record.”
Notarized witnesses – police officers, town councillors or government officials – will be needed as well as digital equipment to record every second of the game. Players will be required to pay a $30 registration fee, which will help cover the costs of umpire services, food and medical insurance through Softball Nova Scotia.
It’s a lot of work, but Chislett believes this challenge will get more locals interested in community softball.
“Minor ball is just not like it used to be – there used to be teams in Falmouth and Ellershouse – you’d get whole communities our here enjoying ball, but you don’t see that anymore.”
The director for the Valley region of Softball Nova Scotia, Fred O’Hara, says this event may give the sport the spotlight it needs to increase enrolment rates throughout the province.
“I think the biggest problem for softball is it’s not as publicized as soccer or the other sports that kids play.”
O’Hara, who admits softball membership in the region “has really died off,” particularly at the intermediate and senior levels, hopes Guinness’ challenge will bring more than five days of fame to the sport.
“We just need something to get it rollin’ again - and this could be it.”
To get involved and help break a world record, call Chislett at 798-7238 or email email@example.com.