Thursday, November 8th is Guinness World Record Day! With many, many different records in existence, ranging from fastest clapper to loudest purring cat to longest distance pulled by a horse while on fire. While none of these records belong to anyone in London, Ontario, our city is indeed home to some world records.
Among them is the World’s Oldest Baseball Grounds, Labatt Park. Founder of ‘Friends of Labatt Park’, Barry Wells, says the park opened up on May 3rd, 1877, but its record wasn’t always so straightforward.
“There was a dispute with Fuller Field in Clinton, Mass.,” says Wells. “They were in the Guinness Book of World Records for a couple years, but they were discarded because they have documentation for that park dating back to 1878. Well [Labatt Park] opened up in 1877. They tried to say that because our home plate used to be out in today’s left-centre field, they had the ‘World’s Oldest Baseball Diamond’. They said home plate in their park hadn’t moved an inch since 1878; I don’t believe it.”
With the record now safe at home in Labatt Park, Wells says the park isn’t just a world record holder; it’s also a great place to be. “Labatt Park is all about good vibes,” he says. “It’s apolitical – you can get away from whoever you hate politically. Down here, it’s all sunshine and happiness.”
Labatt Park took the record for itself from Fuller Field, but London is also home to a record that had never been set before. Sean Feica didn’t even plan on creating a world record when he started his video game marathon for drumming on ‘Rock Band’. He played all 235 songs on Expert mode in a row, from easiest to hardest. Set in 2008 as a 23-year-old, Feica says that his record started off as a fun idea for an online stream.
“A couple days later, I ended up getting contacted by Guinness,” Feica says. “And they said ‘you created a new record’. I went, ‘I what now?'”
Contrary to what you may think, Feica says the hardest part of the marathon was the easiest music. “The first four to six hours, where it’s the easiest music in the game, you just want to get to some fun stuff. Once you get into the three- and four-star stuff, it’s a lot more enjoyable. You have to try to conserve as much energy as you can, because you know the last eight hours is going to suck.”
Six months later, after the release of Rock Band 2, Feica engaged in a face-off for what is now known as the community record of 56 hours and 32 minutes. It doesn’t count as an official record because a Guinness representative wasn’t sent out, and the event’s stream experienced technical difficulties for half an hour.
A hobby can be something enjoyable, or it can be an activity where you strive to become the best in the world. For record holders like Feica, it’s both.