They came, they squared up to the net, and they swished—well, some of the time.
"We had amazing results," said Genevieve Hladysh, general manager of the community health development program for the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford, of Saturday's YMCA World Hoops Challenge.
The worldwide event saw YMCAs in 82 countries come together to try and break the Guinness World Record for most people attempting shots on a basketball net.The Y will have to wait for the record-setting party, however. The organization is still counting participation.
"We're not going to have the numbers for a few weeks," said Mary Anne Roche, Vice-President International Development & Relations, YMCA Canada.
After that, there's an additional waiting period.
"Once the World Alliance receives all the event verification forms, Guinness will take about 16 weeks (their common practice) to verify whether a record was broken and to make an official announcement," she offered.
"If we didn't make the record, we came pretty close," she said.
Hamilton's local Ys did their part in assisting the YMCA attempt for the record.
At Hamilton's Family YMCA downtown, 326 people showed up. Another 100 came to play at the Les Chater YMCA on the Mountain. In Flamborough, 200 people participated.
An estimated 23,000 shots were thrown, including those attempts made in Brantford and Burlington.
No word on how many of those shots went in the basket, however. Hladysh said they didn't count successful shots—just attempts.
The event's focus on the importance of trying rather than succeeding was intentional. That "anything counts" message is exactly what the YMCA is trying to get through to kids, said Lisa Roddie, the general manager of the downtown YMCA.
"It's all about the attempt," Roddie said. "We're trying to get the kids to understand that they can be part of something bigger."
Run by and for youth, the majority of the participants at the event fell between the ages of six to twelve years old, said Hladysh.
The event, which ran from 9 a.m to noon Saturday also saw ten members of the McMaster Marauders basketball team teach kids basketball drills and techniques for improving their skills.
While the record won't be confirmed for a while yet, Hladysh feels the event was a success. "The event was really more about getting kids active than setting a record," she said.
And in that goal, the event was successful. Hladysh was struck particularly by the fact that many kids stayed well after the event ended officially.
"Once the clinic was done we had a number of kids hang around after to work on their skills."
Hamilton father, James Nickel said his son Blake, 9, who participated at the Y on the mountain, was "excited and inspired" by the experience.
"He watched in awe as the McMaster players shot consecutive free throws one after the other. He learned new tricks on how to dribble. He wants to play basketball at a varsity level and this World Hoops Challenge gave him the opportunity to see what it’s like at that level and helped him learn so much. There is nothing like seeing your kids with that excitement in their eyes".