Photo by Aubrey Crawford – Dave Pannepacker, reporting.
On July 16th, 2015, a gunman opened fire on a military recruiting center in Chattanooga, Tenn., killing four US Marines and shattering the peace of the entire community. Officer Dennis Pedigo of the Chattanooga Police response, was wounded by the gunman during the shooting spree. In a day full of tragedy, the community struggled with questions of how this could happen and why?
Instead of asking those questions, Derek Murray, a 22-year old senior at Lee University in Tennessee, asked “what can I do to help?” and took the initiative to organize Hucks for Heroes. This past weekend, Derek hosted a 90-hour long game of ultimate, setting an official Guinness World Record for the longest game of ultimate ever played. He had some experience in long charity events, having previously been a part of the longest flag football game ever played. The 90-hour ultimate game shattered the previous record of 70 hours and 19 minutes according to Guinness World Records. The money raised from sponsors, donations and merchandise sales will go to Officer Pedigo and his family, as well as the families of the other victims.
From the official Facebook page of the event:
“Hucks for Heroes is a world record Ultimate Frisbee game of 90 hours, as a way to fundraise for the families of the servicemen killed, as well as the policeman, Officer Pedigo, wounded in the deadly attacks in Chattanooga, TN on 7/16/15.
Though the scars on the city will heal, the hurt felt by these families will be felt forever. We, members of the Lee University student body, are taking initiative to find a way to help alleviate some of this pain. We hope to unify Chattanooga, and strengthen the bonds of this incredible city, our servicemen, and our police force. All proceeds will be donated to the 7-16 Freedom Fund by the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga and Officer Pedigo.”
From October 21st to 25th, the first 84 hours of the game were played at Lee University in Cleveland, TN, before relocating to AT&T Field in Chattanooga for the final six hours. Two teams of 15 players played the full 90 hours, subbing in and out of the game as well as in and out of the ice baths. According to Derek, the players set up tents and made their own version of an “Olympic Village” around the fields. Local businesses sponsored the event and provided the food and drinks for the participants. In addition to the game, local product Clark Beckham, runner-up on the show American Idol, and local country artist Smith & Wesley played a benefit concert for everyone in attendance. Hucks for Heroes became more than just a game of ultimate, it became a way for all of Chattanooga to heal.
The success of the 90-hour charity event exemplifies the spirit ultimate players everywhere should have. Whether your charity efforts include ultimate or not, take some time out of your life to give back to your community. Derek Murray put together a record breaking event, raising over $10,000 for for a great cause. Congratulations to Derek and the rest of Lee University on the feat!