Record-Breaking Rubber Bands – Jordan Iaboni
What began as a way to heal his hands has turned out to be the key to Jordan Iaboni’s journey in breaking a Guinness World Record.
Looking back at my childhood, one of the moments that stands out in my memory was when a classmate brought their Guinness World Records book to school. Flipping from page to page, I can recall seeing photos of fantastical and thrilling feats accomplished by people from around the world.
As I turned each page, I thought that maybe someday I would be in this book, that I would find something interesting and thrilling of my own and go on to break or even set the record myself. Unfortunately, my time has yet to come in the record-breaking business, but for Jordan Iaboni, it’s just getting interesting.
The 17-year-old from Vaughan, Ont., has been tying together rubber bands for five years now, and he is preparing to break the record for the longest rubber-band chain, with an astounding estimated length of five kilometres. That comes as no surprise, considering Iaboni says that his best guess is that it could be made up of around 50,000 rubber bands. He is going to be measuring the chain this month at his school, Villanova, to get an official length verification.
As I sat down with Iaboni, I could only imagine what sparked this idea. Maybe he had also been entranced by the book that I remember with such fondness? What I was to discover about his motivations was quite a surprise.
Iaboni shyly states that he was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease as a baby, and growing up he has had to deal with a long-term effect — a lack of circulation in his hands. As a result, his fine motor skills are not as refined as they are in others, so things like writing, playing hockey or even holding cue cards can be difficult. He also shares that because of this, his hands are always cold, something that living in Canada definitely doesn’t help. “When I go [out] in the cold, my hands turn purple, like my hands are cold right now,” he says with a laugh as we sit in his kitchen.
Preparing for the world record has brought out an entirely different side of Iaboni. It’s taught him dedication, and he hopes it will also help teach other people to stick to their goals. “You gotta just push through, no matter how difficult something is. Just keep going, and eventually you’ll do it — kinda like this. I had so many obstacles, I had to eventually overcome them. And it worked out,” he says.
One of those obstacles happened one summer when the hose reel he was using to store the rubber-band chain broke. Thankfully, his grandfather was there to help, surprising him with a new hose reel, keeping Iaboni’s dream alive.
Iaboni’s mother, Angela, shares some insight into his relationship with his grandfather. “I think every time he wanted to give up, my father would say, ‘Jordan, you can’t give up, you gotta do this.’ And [Jordan] would say, ‘But my hands hurt, and it’s a lot of work.’ And he’s like, ‘So you’re going to give up?’ And then [Jordan would] say, ‘Oh, I can’t give up.’”
Iaboni hopes to put to work this mindset he’s developed when he goes off to university next year, where he plans to pursue software engineering or computer science. But I don’t think he’s done with breaking records. “If there’s something that I connect to again, like this one, I’ll definitely try to break another [record],” he says, smiling.