The foundation is designed to benefit the family members of soldiers, police officers and firefighters who have been killed in the line of duty. The basketball game generated revenue for the foundation through donations from sponsors, players and attendants.
“We wanted to do something a little bit different that people will remember, so we decided to set out and break the world record,” said Kurt Spencer, executive director of the foundation.
The game ran continuously from 9 a.m. on Monday to around 10 p.m. on Friday of last week, and was held at the Clearfield Aquatic Center and Gym. The 24 volunteer players, aged 16 and up, were not allowed to leave the facility for the duration of the game. Players could take breaks to eat or sleep in the hallway behind the gym after every two and a half hours of play.
“Honestly, it’s been a daunting challenge,” said Saxton, a junior in special education at WSU. “You know, the hardest thing for me was getting over the mental challenge. Physically, I knew what I was kind of getting myself into. I mean, my body aches, I pulled a calf muscle, but the thing of it is is that was something that was, I guess, expected in some form or another. But the mental part I had to get used to and adapt to.”
Saxton said the support from family and friends helped him overcome the mental and emotional challenges of being so tied to the game, and that he thought the game and its cause were well worth it.
“Obviously, first of all, I love the game of basketball; I mean, I probably wouldn’t do it if it was any other sport. I also, obviously, saw an opportunity to make history in breaking the world record for the world’s longest game of basketball played. And, most importantly, I thought it was right up my alley . . . I had no say or pull in forming this, but one thing I do know is how I liked that it coincided with my position up at Weber State, in being a service vice president.”
Brad Jorgensen, Spencer’s brother-in-law and a volunteer at the event, said the game took its toll on multiple players, but that they held up well overall.
“So far, we’ve had some blisters, some sore feet, you know, some sore legs,” Jorgensen said on Tuesday. “They seem to be handling it really well. A couple of them have broken down; one guy was crying last night, you know, really upset, so yeah, mentally and emotionally it would be hard, if not physical.”
According to Jorgensen, the former record-holder for the longest basketball game was a Bulgarian team that played for 108 solid hours.
“Basketball’s an American sport; we’re gonna bring it back to the USA,” he said.
Jorgensen also said that Saxton had been playing well and helping support the other players.
“He’s a really good player. . . . He’s probably one of the mentally tough kids that we have, keeping everyone else going.”
Jorgensen said the foundation plans to break a different record around the same time next year.
“Honestly, it’s been a fun journey,” Saxton said on Friday. “Although I’m glad it’s coming to an end, it’s been well worth it, and I’m glad I made the decision I made to play in it, I really am.”