Wednesday, May 02, 2007

SIU TKE's Raise Twist Money for Alzheimers

TKE takes game to world-record size
By Amber Fijolek

McAndrew Stadium hosted a different type of game than it normally would Sunday -- twisting participants back to their childhood days with the spin of a dial.

The Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity gathered about 200 people to play Twister in a Guinness World Record attempt for the world's largest board, and to raise money for Alzheimer's research.

The board -- made from 200 mats taped together -- measured more than 100 feet long and 43 feet wide. People of all ages and sizes cautiously stretched and squished their bodies as they followed loudspeaker commands, doing whatever possible to reach the circle color with the assigned body part.

All profits went to the Ronald and Nancy Reagan Research Institute for Alzheimer's research. Former President Reagan, who suffered from Alzheimer's, is an alumnus of the fraternity.

The idea was Billy Baber's, an undecided freshman."I always look at Guinness -- the world record site. I saw that one of their main things was the world's largest Twister mat, and I thought that it would be cool to break," he said.

The previous record was set in Sweden with a board measuring 88.9 feet by 27.6 feet in 2005.

TKE's record attempt must be authenticated by Guiness before it becomes an official world record.

Baber said that one of the biggest incentives, other than benefiting Alzheimer's, was reconnecting with a game that many haven't played since they were children."If you don't do something for a while, and then you remember it years down the road, you'll be like, 'Oh, that sounds pretty fun. I should probably do that,'" he said.

Players were eliminated for failing to switch circles when duplicate calls were made and for removing a body part from a circle.As the group of players grew smaller, remaining players were challenged after the board was folded five different times to further confine those who remained.

The final five players competed on a single Twister mat.

Dan Sepulveda, a sophomore studying kinesiology, represented TKE in the final round and took fourth place. Sepulveda told of having to make quick, difficult moves, weaving in and out of other people near awkward areas of their bodies in order to make it so far in the game.

"It was a little uncomfortable, but we made it through," Sepulveda said.Competition wasn't the aim of the game, though."We raised a lot of money for Alzheimer's, and that's what it's all about. We were shooting for a goal of about $2,000, and I'm pretty sure that we at least met that," said Joey Coonce, a senior from Bloomington studying computer science.

Although organizers were pleased with the turnout, they said it could have been better.

The Sigma Kappa shootout was held at the same time in the Student Recreation Center, and several TKE members said they had concerns about a conflict between the two events.

"I kind of wish (the conflict) didn't happen, but it's fine," fund-raising chair John Mathews said.

Six members of their fraternity missed out on the Twister game for the shootout, whose proceeds also benefited Alzheimer's.

"Overall, Alzheimer's still wins," said Mathews, a sophomore studying music business.Charles Young, a senior studying psychology, participated in the shootout even after campaigning for the Twister game.

"After three months of planning, it kind of sucks. We didn't even get to see the kick off for it," he said.

Mathews has worked on the fund-raiser since February by advertising the event and taping the mats -- which they received at a discounted price from the Hasbro toy company - together in two hours with the help of his brothers. He also got friends in the band Mathien to play for free at the event.

Prizes -- including iPod speakers and gift cards for both iTunes and local businesses -- were gathered from sponsors to be awarded to the winners of the hour and 15 minute-long board game.

"We just thought it would be a fun event that people would show a lot of support for since it's going towards Alzheimer's," Mathews said. "It's something original and just out of the blue."