Futsal World Record
On Saturday 2nd July I was lucky enough to be covering* Middlesbrough Futsal Clubs attempt to set a new world record for the longest ever continuous Futsal match their target was 36 hours.
36 hours, take a moment to think about what you can do in 36 hours, you could fly to Australia on a commercial flight and still have time to be half way back, you could watch 24 back to back football matches or 27 rugby matches – that would be the entire regular season matches for one club in Super League. In the 36 hours between kickoff and the full time whistle the International Space Station orbited the earth 23 ½ times. Anyhow, you got the picture I’m sure, it’s a long time and there’s a lot you can do in 36 hours!
You could also, should you wish set a new world record for the longest ever Futsal match, well actually, technically, you can’t you’d have to go 36 hours and minute now to beat the record Middlesbrough Futsal Club have now set!
You’ll know that squads consist of 12 players, you’ll know its physically demanding, players interchanging constantly, coaches rotating players at their disposal to both get the most out of them and to meet the tactical demands of the game and this is for two halves that are “only” 20 minutes each. So imagine going into a match set to last 36 hours having had two players drop out in the hours before kick-off leaving you with 11v11 then for another to injure himself in the warm up by kicking the floor, who whilst played on was severely restricted in movement and having another player early on in the match rupture his Achilles tendon.
I’ll be honest, the mere thought of it, especially with depleted squads has me reaching for a sleeping bag and developing a limp as I head off to a darkened room to get some sleep!
That’s just the players, being an attempt to set an official World Record you have to adhere by the strict rules laid out, that included playing the match under proper rules and that means you need referees! 4 of them in-fact.
I have a silent respect anyway for referees, it’s a tough job, one I can’t do, tried when I was 16 for a couple of seasons at football, there were times I was so bad I’d boo myself off! But allow me for one second to break that silence and throw some praise in the direction of the Futsal referees I’ve met, not only do they have high tolerance levels of touch line photographers in the often cramped locations of sports halls but they also act as ambassadors for the sport. I’ve had more than a few conversations myself seeking clarification of why things happen when they do, such as the 5 foul rule, red cards etc and have seen them either explaining the rules to fans when asked, during breaks in play, you just don’t get that in other sports I cover.
So to find four merry whistle blowers willing to prowl the touchline, keep the stats, make sure time keeping was adhered to in the strict manner required to set a new record and just generally raise spirits of flagging players with well timed banter is a fantastic achievement which not only speaks volumes for the individuals but for the spirit within the sport.
Back to my silent respect before I get a reputation!
Praise must also be heaped in the direction of Damon Shaw manager and chairman of Middlesbrough Futsal Club for pulling it altogether and raising a decent sum of money for the charity Cash For Kids along with all those behind the scenes who didn’t take centre stage on the day but without, events like these just don’t happen.
I’m sure the players now, more than 72 hours after the event starting to look back, perhaps even fondly(!) now the pains are easing and injuries healing of the memories they acquired during the event. I bet each and everyone took away a “war story” or two along with more than a few injuries!
I think my memory will be that despite the lack of sleep and amount of time playing, it was amazing how levels of intensity during the match ebbed and flowed. I expected a steady pace, but events such as the race to be the first player to score a 100, when two players were tied on 99 each (The one left as Mr 99 is in the background of the picture below, no prizes for guessing who won that race!) injected levels of intensity you’d expect to see in a normal match not a marathon one!
Then dotted throughout the game as players tired towards the end of their latest “stint” something would spark an infectious rush of blood and tackles would start to fly in before weary players looked thankfully to the touchlines to see their replacements rising out of sleeping bags and trudging to the touchline to take over!
It was compelling watching and a pleasure to cover, my only regret is not getting there sooner, if there’s a next time I’m pitching up armed with sleeping bag and shall be found “resting” under the referees table in the hope they give me a kick every time it looks like its getting tasty out on court!
So I shall finish there, before I need to start breaking this post up into chapters with a massive well done to all involved!
*Well I say covering when in-fact I was the glory hunter who pitched up 24 hours into the event so my stint was a mere 12 hours!
EDIT - This record has already been broken for those interested, Liverpool Managed 36 1/2 hours (pics here and yes I did it all!) and I believe there have also been successful events in Japan and Poland leading to the current record (yet to be verified!) being around 37 1/2 hours.
Keywords: 36 Hours, Cash for Kids, Damon Shaw, Futsal, Futsal Referees, Futsal World Record, Middlesbrough, Middlesbrough Futsal Club, Photography, Sport
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