An air-brained plan?
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An air-brained plan?

Locals attempt to break the world air hockey record

It’s not often a man goes down in history for what he does in his basement. But Zvi Dubin swears that he wasn’t drinking in the dark when he came up with the idea to break the world record for consecutive hours playing air hockey — and that had best be the truth because the Teaneck native won’t be ‘1 until September.


If all goes according to plan, Zvi Dubin and Meira Tiboldo will shatter the world marathon air hockey record by four hours.

Though the notion of having your name immortalized in the Guinness Book of World Records by playing air hockey for ‘4 hours straight seems like it could have been born out of a case of Miller Light, Dubin, who just finished his sophomore year at Brandeis University, says it was a rational decision.

"I was looking for something no one else would do, and I was looking for something that was breakable," said Dubin. "Right now, the record is ‘0 hours. I figured I could break that."

On Sunday, in the basement of his parent’s Teaneck home, he will make his attempt at history, but it won’t be a snap, he said, because Guinness has strict regulations, even for its air hockey record, said Dubin.

According to rules sent to him by Guinness officials, he is not allowed to sit down while playing air hockey, the action must be continuous, and he is allowed only one five-minute break per hour. During that time, he can sit. Two witnesses must be present at all times. Those witnesses have to have jobs and be members of the community in good standing. The entire record-breaking attempt must be videotaped. The score of the game must be kept, though it doesn’t matter. And he has to play with the same partner throughout the record-breaking attempt.

That partner will be his friend Meira Tiboldo, who serves on the Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corps with him.

"He asked me if I could do him a favor, and I said, ‘Sure,’" said the science teacher at Hackensack Middle School. "The favor happened to be breaking the world air hockey record. It is his dream, his goal, I’m just the sucker who’s going to help him."

Tiboldo, who grew up in Teaneck and still lives there, said that she hasn’t done any formal training for the air-hockey-a-thon, but teaching has gotten her used to standing for extended periods of time, and she gave a bridal shower last Sunday that kept her on her feet for 1′ hours straight. She’s a bit concerned about the lack of sleep for ‘4 or more hours, but only because she starts a summer job at an enrichment camp the next day.

Her air hockey past is also a bit spotty. The last time she played, with one of her students, she hurt her arm.

This will be the first record attempt for both partners, though Dubin says that he plans on taking a stab at a couple of the more obscure Guinness notables. He has applied to break the world record for Windsor-knot tie-tying, which is now 45 seconds. He claims that he hasn’t practiced for that yet, but right now he can tie the knot in 50 seconds. With practice, the Torah Academy of Bergen County alumnus thinks he’ll be able to get the time down to 40 seconds.

He also wants to try his hand at powdered jelly doughnut speed-eating. The record right now is four doughnuts in three minutes — without licking your lips. "It’s harder than you think," said Dubin of the record, which requires that the donuts be commercially available and at least 6 centimeters in diameter. He’s tried that one just for fun and says that he is a bit faster than record pace.

But on Sunday, he will try to make history on a second-hand air hockey table he bought on eBay for $150, specifically for this event.

"It’s a little bit crazy," he said. "But sometimes this is what you have to do."

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