Morristown Locals Set World Record with Tribute to Ukraine
History is made in Morristown! And a new Guinness World Record is set!
Ben Rizzo, Eric Finkelstein, and Raaj Shah, three New Jersey residents who grew up around the Morristown area, recently attempted to set the Guinness World Record for the largest flag/mosaic made using ping pong balls.
It took five months, 112 pounds of ping pong balls, and six hours in St. Peter’s Church of Morristown, but Ben, Eric, and Raaj have successfully set a new Guinness World Record!
The three met in Morristown at St. Peter’s Church earlier this month where they solidified their record by putting the finishing touches on a massive ping-pong-made tribute of the Ukrainian flag. But this group is no stranger to records!
Eric Finkelstein, a former competitive table tennis player and Morristown resident, set a new Guinness World Record for “Longest Table Tennis Serve” on July 13 last year. Eric had to beat the previous record of 14.86 meters (48.75 ft); Eric broke that record at 15.57 meters (51.08 ft).
As required by Guinness, to set a new World Record Ben, Eric, and Raaj had to hire a certified surveyor, a videographer, and a witness. But applying for and setting this new world record was just a small hurdle in the mountain these men had to climb.
“We started by calculating how many balls would be needed for this mission to be accomplished. We came across about 112 x 168 balls, equating to just about 19K balls. Then we needed a way to get them shipped. Eric looked worldwide to try to find a place. After some tough negotiation, they were able to land on a price with a vendor. Next was getting them shipped. That's 112 pounds of ping pong balls so that would need about 10 boxes. We got the balls, then went to test building the actual flag (on a smaller scale). We were able to do that; we tested both turf and hardwood. We decided that a hardwood floor would be the proper choice here. There are many other requirements that the Guinness book has, including a surveyor to make sure that everything we are doing is legitimate. Then we got our supplies and went to St. Peters church, and in about six hours we had assembled the largest ping pong ball flag on the planet.” – Raaj Shah, Guinness World Record Holder, Montclair resident.
According to Raaj, who spoke via email with Morristown Minute, Eric’s interest in ping pong and his world record experience sparked interest in the idea. At the same time, Ben, an artist and Montclair resident, pushed for the idea of a large mosaic.
Ben and Eric started with the vision, and knowing the amount of work ahead of them, they called on Raaj to help.
“It seemed like an exciting opportunity which we all wanted to take part in.” – Raaj Shah, Guinness World Record Holder, Montclair resident.
Their biggest challenge was getting 19k ping pong balls, weighing 112 pounds, shipped to Morristown.
After searching worldwide, Ben, Eric, and Raaj finally got all the materials, officials, and witnesses they needed in one place: St. Peter’s Church in Morristown.
St. Peter’s was kind enough to allow the three friends to use their spacious facility for a long six-hour day on Sunday, October 9th, to assemble the massive Ukrainian ping pong flag.
When the assembly was done, the final measurements of the flag were 4.44 meters by 6.56 meters (29.13 sq meters or 313.55 sq ft).
Congratulations Eric, Ben, and Raaj!
[Help children who are victims of the war in Ukraine by donating to the UNICEF fund]
Morristown Minute has been approved for the 2022 Local News Fund!*
Our reporters will be dedicating time and resources to investigating the roadblocks to mental health accessibility in our town.
*The 2022 Local News Fund is a program administered by the Local Media Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization affiliated with the Local Media Association. The program’s purpose is to allow independent and family-owned news organizations to solicit tax-deductible donations from their communities for journalism projects focusing on critical local issues. Contributions to this program are tax-deductible to the full extent of U.S. law; please consult a tax advisor for details.