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Monthly Seer The

December 2010

The official magazine of the International

Quidditch Association

World Cup Report Quidditch Conferences Women in Sports

Just in time for the holidays: Bring home World Cup 2010 Merchandise


Contents 1 3 4 5 7 8

Editor’sLetter A Message from the HP Alliance IQA News Conferences Sweep the Northeast Celebrating National Women in Sports Day First Annual Book Drive Results

10 World Cup Report 13 14 14 15 18 19 20

Sunday Finals Bracket A Message from the Tufflepuffs World Cup Reflections World Cup by the Numbers High School Teams Hold Their Own Middlebury Improv Calls the Shots Making the Magic Happen: A Spotlight on IQA Volunteers 23 The Alex Benepe Interview


Editor’s Letter Although it has only been a little more than two weeks since the World Cup, in my memory it’s as fresh as ever. I remember sitting down and writing a letter to every World Cup captain on November 12th, surprisingly not at an obscenely late/early hour. I think some of that letter bears repeating, now that the event is over and we have begun to understand just what we accomplished. During the World Cup, the eyes of the world were on us. News media from as far away as the Middle East, Germany, France, Italy, Korea and Japan and as close to home as MTV, CBS, CNN, and NBC all covered the event along with three separate documentary film crews. The World Cup was mentioned on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update and by Conan O’Brien – twice. We’re kind of a big deal. Quidditch has become a lot harder to ignore. The NYU team, who have struggled all year to gain recognition from their school, were told yesterday that they have a good chance of becoming a club sport next year. The press is beginning to change the way they report about us. As 2010 draws to a close, I’m left in awe at our achievements. We have come so far in the three years since Muggle Quidditch was born at Middlebury on a lazy Sunday afternoon. But we will keep moving. In 2011 the IQA aims to expand even more, by facilitating the formation of regional conferences (see page five), hosting five spring regional tournaments in the US and one in Canada, and increasing our outreach efforts to spread the joy of Quidditch to as many children and young adults as possible. I believe that Quidditch can change the world, and I think it’s here to stay. I know many of you are concerned about retaining the whimsy of the sport even as we continue to expand and become more institutionalized. The IQA is committed to preserving the atmosphere that makes our sport unique. The development of Quidditch is like the weaving of a tapestry, where the final product is only realized by the contributions of hundreds of hands lending their own stitches. Without you, our fans, players, and volunteers, we could not have pulled off the fourth Annual World Cup. Thank you.

Monthly Seer December 2010 § Volume 1

Cover Design Alex Benepe

Editor in Chief Alicia Radford

Contributing Writers Daniel Ahmadizadeh Laurie Beckoff Zara Fishkin Andrea Hill Aimee Howarth Kathryn Mudgway Alicia Radford Rebecca Seidel

Art Directors Alex Terry Alicia Radford

Layout

Andrea Hill Alicia Radford

Advertising

To advertise in the Monthly Seer, contact Alicia Radford alicia.radford@internationalquidditch.org

This holiday season I encourage you to dream big, play hard, and never take no for an answer. Sincerely, Alicia Radford

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Makers of the Official Broom of the IQA

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The HPA’s Deathly Hallows Campaign Kicks into Gear

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he Harry Potter Alliance, one of the partner organizations for the IQA, is uniting the entire Harry Potter fandom with the Deathly Hallows Campaign. The Deathly Hallows Campaign spans the nine months between Harry Potter films. From November 2010 through July 2011, Harry will be struggling to destroy Voldemort’s horcruxes. At the same time, Harry Potter fans across the globe are joining the Harry Potter Alliance on an epic journey to destroy seven real world horcruxes. The first horcrux is the “Starvation Wages Horcrux:” they are asking HP fans across the world to persuade Time Warner to make all Harry Potter chocolate Fair Trade. “We are going to make sure that none of the chocolate frogs we buy were made by child slaves on the Ivory Coast,” says HPA Executive Director Andrew Slack. “We have over 6,000 people who have signed their names. We have less than 9 months to move mountains,” Slack says. “Let’s begin!” Visit the Harry Potter Alliance website to learn more and sign the petition: http://www.thehpalliance.org

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News

The Big Sweep

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n November 13th, while 757 athletes were battling for supremacy at the Fourth Annual Quidditch World Cup, Cal Berkeley hosted Stanford University in their first tournament, the Big Sweep. The teams played three matches with scores of 90-0, 40-60, and 100-0 Cal, making them the overall winner with 260 points to 60. In the true tradition of Muggle Quidditch, Cal was presented with a homemade trophy. Both teams are eager to play again and were founded in fall 2010.

Utah’s Snow Cup By Kathryn Mudgway

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here may be snow on the ground, but that won’t stop western region mountain states athletes from playing their favorite game. Since the Quidditch season in the Harry Potter books begin in the winter, starting in November (after the World Cup) and ending sometime in early March, the Utah Quidditch Organization will host a frosty tournament called the Snow Cup. Sister to the organization’s state-wide tournament the Utah Cup (which is held from March to November), all teams from the surrounding area are welcome to participate. Despite the fact that only three teams have joined in the wintery fun so far, hopefully the idea of having flurries on top of your head won’t discourage others from participating. All teams who participate

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will play at least two matches and the one with the highest amount of total points in March will be crowned Snow Cup champions. Besides that and enjoying the competitive play, the organization’s first two games were also covered by KSL Channel 5 news and its next one will be covered by Channel 11 through the cooperation of Brigham Young University students. The championship game will be held on March 19, 2011. Are you ready for the icy challenge? Please contact Nicholas Burk (UQO President) at utahquidditch@yahoo.com for more information.


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t Dewitt Clinton Park on Thursday, November 18th, just five days after two Uhauls were loaded up with Quidditch equipment from the World Cup and sent home, Alex Benepe and the NYU and Stony Brook University Quidditch teams were back, setting up for a landmark match filmed by Japanese television station NHK for “Good Morning Japan.” The match was also the first official game of the Big East Quidditch conference, one of two newly-formed Quidditch conferences by IQA volunteer Daniel Ahmadizadeh of Stony Brook University. Ahmadizadeh wrote to the IQA about the experience.

The first thing that came to my mind was ‘Will we be on one of those Japanese game shows?’ Then when I researched NHK and realized that we’d be on the ABC ‘Good Morning America’ of Japan LIVE, I knew that no matter what, my team had to be there. Having millions of people watching us play live was surreal (as if the sport wasn’t already). It wasn’t our first time being filmed, but it certainly was the first time we were the highlight of a show and what millions watched when they woke up in the morning. I practiced the little Japanese that I acquired from Karate lessons in my youth

(thanks Mom). This sport is growing by the day and to be a part of the global expansion of it, both as far as the development of these conferences and to an international audience, is a thrilling thing to be a part of. I realized on November 15th, 2010 that I was suffering from post-World Cup syndrome. Seeing nearly a thousand athletes from all over the country made me realize that if we could organize teams within a region into conferences, those respective teams would gain more experience, play more Quidditch, and make a lot of new friends from other teams within their conference. This led our team

Upcoming Matches 12.04.10 | DC Exhibition Quidditch Match ,A$"H'491G&>93I'!"#"$%"&'7I'(H))D$'@'7H))D$ J/#91A/0H'K91A/092'.922'LM"0&3'N9&;O' P1-'41&""1'%"1Q""0'.9>A</0'R'S"=="&</0 T9<-A0U1/0I'!8 In recognition of the penultimate Harry Potter movie (and the fact that we’ve got nothing better to do during the winter season), DC Social Sports Club is hosting its first ever Muggle Quidditch Game. We’ll bring the equipment (brooms, balls, goals, referees) ... you bring the capes. This is a free event but please register your group at DCsocialsports.com so that we can set up the fields accordingly.

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to create the BIG EAST conference, which is the first conference of its kind, currently comprised of Penn State, Yale, Stony Brook, Villanova, Vassar, and NYU, and has led to the formation of many others, including ones in the Northeast, South, and now California. Apart from playing more games, the hope is that there will be regional conference tournaments in the spring which would act as a prelude to the World Cup in the fall. By having multiple epic venues to play Quidditch, it will only do good for the teams participating and the sport as a whole. At the end of the day, Quidditch is all about having fun. Some want it to become and NCAA sport and I’m completely against that. These conferences will definitely add a more disciplined and competitive element to the game, but we want to retain the magic that made us take a two hour train ride to NYC to be filmed by a Japanese network and back in order to catch the midnight premiere in time. This sport is about having a good time and these conferences are meant to augment the amount of opportunities we have to have fun. If it wasn’t for Alex Benepe and the rest of the IQA board, none of this would be possible. By this, we mean everything, and by everything we mean all things Quidditch. Now we hopefully have millions of fans in Japan. Our shirts will soon be on our website for sale for all of you in Osaka! Hopefully more and more teams are interested in joining conferences. If interested, please let KMY'C2$<'1-"'$91#-'%"1Q""0'41/03':&//;'90>'KZ[ me know so that we can start working on getting your team integrated into a conference or better yet, start one from scratch.

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Stony Brook University New York University Penn State University Yale University Villanova University Vassar College

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Celebrating National Women in Sports Day

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his January the IQA is starting a new and exciting project. In order to celebrate National Women in Sports Day, February 2, 2011, and especially since it happens to be the 25th anniversary, we would like to put together a video campaign of clips from all our teams explaining why they appreciate women in sports - especially women in co-ed sports. Despite the stunning advances made in the 38 years since Title IX was enacted, high school girls still receive 1.3 million fewer participation opportunities than do boys, and evidence suggests that the money spent on girlsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; sports programs lags significantly behind the money spent on boysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; programs. You might have seen some articles on one of our

By Aimee Howarth newer campaigns, Title 9 3/4, which promotes women and men who compete together in sports providing equal opportunities in athletics. We believe that if men and women participate in athletics together, rather than separate (as it currently exists under Title IX), women and men will learn to respect each other regardless of gender - on the playing field and in all areas of life. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s show the world how awesome Quidditch is by including everyone and providing equal access and opportunities in sports for all people, by capturing your thoughts and appreciation for women in Quidditch! Questions you might want to ask your players: (all players - not just women!)

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What is your favorite thing about being a part of a co-ed sport? How has it affected you personally? How do you think this will impact athletics in general? Why do you appreciate women Quidditch players? Those are just some ideas! Try and wear your school/community Quidditch shirt when you are filming so the viewers will know where you are from! Send your video clips to aimee.howarth@internationalquididtch.org.

Buy an IQA T-Shirt: Support the League and Book Aid International Express your love for Quidditch with one of our official IQA t-shirts. By buying a shirt, you’ll be directly supporting the IQA’s mission. T-shirt sales help the IQA fund the World Cup, regional tournaments in the United States and Canada, a grant program for our official members, and outreach efforts to teach Quidditch to kids. In addition, 20% of each sale will be donated to Book Aid International, one of the world’s foremost library development charities. Youth and adult sizes available. $17.99 on the IQA website: http://www.internationalquidditch.org/store.html

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The Winners Tied for first, will receive 7 brooms each and $100: U MASS and Villanova - over 1,300 books donated by each team Third place team will receive $100: The Ursuline School- 1,077 books

a1-"&'1"9$<'Q-/'>/091">'%//;<H NY Badassilisks, Ives Pond Quidditch, Ogltheorpe, St. Cloud, Ringling, Rippley Vikings, Bowling Green, University of Rochester, Chestnut Hill, Loyola University, Pace Academy High School, Texas Tech University, Oklahoma State University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Congratulations to the winners as well as every school that participated. The IQA is proud to have a league of teams so dedicated to the charity work in our mission. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nothing like the gift of a good book.

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WORLD CUP REPORT

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thletes and sports fans alike have some unique ways of displaying their pride, but there are some things you just couldn’t see anywhere other than the 2010 Quidditch World Cup. There was more than just competitive and skillful playing. The event was a celebration of Quidditch, Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling’s legacy, school spirit, and everything athletic and magical. Thousands of Harry Potter fans, as well as sports fans and college and high school students, gathered in New York City the weekend before the Deathly Hallows Part 1 premiere and official release? There was bound to be insanity. NYU Chaser Julia Mills described Quidditch as “an intense sport with fun aspects,” which were on display for all to witness.

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The World Cup began with an opening parade into the park chockfull of clever cheers devised by teams that continued throughout the tournament. Middlebury, the champions, kept up a strong “Midd Quid!” aided by four fans who painted each of the letters in blue on their stomachs and backs, respectively. This was combated in the final match by cheers of, “T-U!” answered with “F-T-S!” Tufts also rooted for their team with, “You wish you were a Tufflepuff, ooh, ah!” playing off the House of Helga Hufflepuff. Canadian teams supported each other by singing their national anthem, and McGill proudly sang “O Canada” again, while holding up a Canadian flag, when they won the Manshel award for sportsmanship. Vassar caught Middlebury off guard when the entire team, pink capes and all, performed a choreographed dance and chant before their semifinal match. Vassar’s spunky, fun-loving spirit kept shining when they played Pittsburgh for the third-place title and those standing on the sidelines encouraged their players to skip across the pitch. Two Chestnut Hill players also warmed up before a match against Tufts with some impromptu dancing that entertained the crowd.

Players’ numbers ranged from 9 ¾ to | x |, and names from their own to spins on those of Harry Potter characters or characters from Team StarKid’s YouTube phenomenon, A Very Potter Musical. Ringling College of Art and Design bore a Hogwarts-esque crest on their chests, replacing the House animals with brooms, hoops, a player, and a Snitch. Many teams sported capes, at least for the opening parade if not for playing as well. The bright orange capes of Ives Pond and hot pink of Vassar stood out. Chestnut Hill College, voted the best dressed team, sported their mascot, a griffin, who was present to cheer for them, on their red shirts and really made their look with multicolored neon patterned knee socks. The Golden Snitches were, of course, impossible to miss in full yellow garb. One Snitch even topped off her outfit with a sparkly gold sequin tube top. There were plenty of lightning bolt scars, face and body paint, and wand waving.

Snitch Stunts

Wizard Wear Teams and fans alike went all-out with Quidditchappropriate attire. Harry Potters were abundant in the crowd, as were other Hogwarts students and Death Eaters. Bellatrix Lestrange was sneaking around, and the Dark Lord himself was even in attendance! Team uniforms were nothing like your typical shorts and jerseys. Some teams had shirts printed for them, while others manually drew, painted, and decorated.

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Watching a Seeker catch a Snitch was not the only exciting part of the chase. Snitches were allowed to go anywhere in DeWitt Clinton Park, and they took advantage of that right. They ran though different fields, though they were distinguished by the color of their sweatbands, planted decoys, jumped over spectators, and climbed fences and buildings. Some matches saw as many as three fake Snitches on the field at once, all wearing yellow, but only one in possession of the desired ball in a sock tucked into his or her shorts. One creative Snitch rode around the park on a unicycle while being pursued by Yale and UMass. A Seeker who wore a camera while playing recorded footage of a Snitch that had climbed onto the roof of the small building that housed public

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bathrooms. All of the Snitches from the weekend came onto the field to cause mayhem during the championship showdown between Middlebury and Tufts. In one of the first matches of the weekend, Snitch Rainey Johnson attacked Seekers from Boston University and Carleton University with thundersticks, stole their sweatbands, and performed handstands and flips around the pitch. In a later match, Rainey returned to the field during the pursuit, unbeknownst to the Seekers, and stood on the commentatorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; table as he surveyed the park for any sign of them. Other Snitches hid under the tables, unmentioned by the commentators. While brooms were

down and the Snitch was released at the beginning of one game, he stole the Quaffle and Bludgers and gave them to the commentators before flying off. The players retrieved the balls quickly, but it was clear that both the Snitch and audience enjoyed the momentary confusion.

Gameplay The rules of Quidditch allow plenty of room for interesting plays. Players donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to stay within the boundaries, as matches at Hogwarts often see brooms zooming all over the grounds. Many a tussle between two Chasers, two Beaters, or a Seeker and Snitch involved the players falling into spectators, who always had to be on guard. Such skirmishes also resulted in downed hoops and


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snapped broomsticks. Quaffles and Bludgers found their way into the crowd as well. As the great Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody would say, “constant vigilance” was a must even for those not playing. Quidditch is completely coed, so players were pitted against each other regardless of gender. A petite female Ryerson Seeker pursued a very tall male Snitch, coming extremely close to snatching the ball multiple times, getting the fans on her side in the struggle, which she eventually won. The excellent defense shown by Beaters on every team made calls complicated for referees. In multiple instances,

a team began to celebrate a victory when the Snitch was caught, only to be told that the Seeker had in fact been hit by a Bludger right before the catch, making it null and void. The Snitch is only worth thirty points in the Muggle world, in contrast to the one-hundred and fifty points in the Wizarding world, so teams that were behind by that amount, which occurred often, tried to avoid an untimely catch. Some Seekers, such as that of Michigan State which trailed Texas A&M by nearly one hundred points, switched to defending the Snitch against the opposing Seeker until their team could close the gap. By Laurie Beckoff

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In what has been hailed as a Cinderella upset, the Tufflepuffs rose through their bracket to win second place. Tufts player Zara Fishkin wrote about their experience.

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here isn’t a team out there that hasn’t been there: dollar store brooms, hula-hoops taped to chairs, and a unifying desire to have just one thing in our over-booked lives that we didn’t have to take too seriously. That’s where we were in the fall of 2009. One year later, just before taking the field at the World Cup final match, we were looking to the skies, wondering not only how we got there, but how we were getting home. So confident were we that even if we made it to day two, we would be eliminated early on by a powerhouse school, we booked our bus too early. Even as we thrust our silver-coated trophy above our heads, screaming as if we had gotten an extension on our papers due that week (we didn’t), we knew that our bus was pulling away without us, and we were stuck in New York. It’s old news we are short on funding, but what Tufts Quidditch isn’t lacking is overwhelming support from the student body. Sure there are the naysayers and kids with rather unfortunate childhoods who were raised with no sense of humor, but they are thankfully the minority. We wouldn’t have been able to raise the money we did selling t-shirts were it not for our great fans on campus. After making the front page of the Tufts Daily, I overheard some members of the Mock Trial team grumbling that they did really well at their conferences too, but you didn’t see them making any headlines. The thing is, though, that our school really is proud of these people that one day will be upholding the constitutional and human rights of every citizen and earning cool cash that will be returning to the school in the form of endowments. The school is really proud. So proud, in fact, that they get transportation to competitions, the right

to reserve rooms for meetings, and a budget for general operating costs. No one from Tufts Quidditch will be going pro. No one’s getting a slap on the back from employers for being team captain three years running. But the reason we made it onto the front page of our school newspaper is because people like hearing about us. We are the folk heroes. We are the team that students watched through their dorm windows all last winter as we practiced in the snow. We are the team that shouldn’t exist, but we’re here. We’re here and now everyone knows it. There are probably a few teams out there that will try to kick our asses next time they play us, and we know we have it coming. Our players are smaller and our team newer than the other power teams out there, so believe you us; we were just as surprised as everyone else to have advanced so far—surprised but proud. Every member of Tufts Quidditch was absolutely floored by the talent some of those teams threw down match after match. We look to all of you and know we have a lot to learn, but we’ll get there. We started with plastic brooms and Dora the Explorer kick balls in fall 2009, and we ended with a shiny second place trophy in Fall 2010, but that’s not really the end. The Tufflepuffs are coming back to the World Cup in 2011, with more reliable transportation, and we can’t wait to see you all there.

T/&2>'8GD'b"c"#1A/0<'%3'b"%"##9'4"A>"2 I don’t know about you, but up until a few weekends ago, I was still waiting for my Hogwarts acceptance letter. Ever since my eleventh birthday, I’d been anxiously peering into my mailbox, hoping to see an envelope addressed in Professor McGonagall’s precise script. I looked out the window and wondered if the annoying pigeons congregated by my air conditioner were New York’s lame version of delivery owls. At Grand Central Station, I searched for Platform 9 ¾. For years, I was disappointed. I was

trapped in a Muggle world. Worse yet, I was in the American Muggle world—and let’s face it, spells like Wingardium Leviosa and Expecto Patronum sound kind of embarrassing in American English. Unless I came home one day to an apartment stuffed with Hogwarts invitations, I had to snap to reality and accept that the magic would always remain on the shelf. At least, that’s what I thought—until November 13, 2010, when I witnessed Muggles taking flight. I was one of thousands of spectators

and dozens of reporters at the International Quidditch Association’s 2010 World Cup. I had been a part of the IQA’s editorial team for a few months, but until that weekend, I had never seen a live Quidditch match. I knew the premise of the game, and I knew the rules—but I didn’t expect such intensity, nor did I expect anyone to defy the laws of gravity. I should have known. In just one weekend, I saw it all: snitches shoving through crowds, vaulting fences, and cartwheeling away from grim-faced Seekers; teams charging at each other from opposite 8/01A0G">'/0'%/11/$'/='D9U"'*V

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WORLD CUP By the Numbers

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goalposts; head-on collisions; broomsticks snapping in two; cheers loud enough to stir even the most apathetic, headphone-wearing New Yorker walking along Eleventh Avenue. I saw jubilant team members pounding each other on the back after hard-earned victories; I interviewed team members on the verge of tears after being eliminated from the bracket. Nobody was really surprised when Middlebury won the tournament for the fourth consecutive year. But I don’t think anyone could have anticipated the magnitude of energy and spirit coming from the teams,

crowds, and commentators. As a front-row spectator at the final match, I was nearly knocked over by two chasers contending for the Quaffle, their struggle dragging them all the way to the perimeter of the field. When the Middlebury chaser emerged from the tangle and took off with the Quaffle, sprinting down the field, it was easy to imagine that he was airborne. When that goal was scored, the roar of the crowd was enough to drive away even the most determined dementor. There’s nothing quite like the rush of being among thousands of cheering Quidditch

Players Snitch Runners

fans. I’m not going to say it was magical, for fear of sounding ridiculously cheesy. However, I will dare say that the boundary between Muggles and wizards was broken in New York City that weekend. In the world of international Quidditch, they are one and the same. I’m seventeen. I’m going to college next year, and unless an owl intercepts my Common Application, I’m not going to Hogwarts. But as long as my school gets a chance to fly in the Quidditch World Cup, I think I’ll be okay.

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MAU-'<#-//2'1"9$<'-/2>'1-"A&'/Q0' A0'#/22"U"@>/$A091">'<D/&1 By Andrea Hill hough they may be younger and in some cases “We’ll definitely be back next year,” Cryan said. “This physically smaller than their opponents, that did not is a really great experience and I think my entire team stop three high school teams from competing in the enjoyed it and we’ll never forget it.” university-dominated Quidditch World Cup. But while the players may have been enjoying “We want to prove to the college teams that the kids themselves, some parents were watching anxiously on the from high school can do just as well as them,” said Ryan sidelines. McGilloway, founder of the Toms River Hydras high Francesca Oagumina, whose daughter plays on the school team. “We’re playing our hardest and we’re really Ursuline team, said she was a bit nervous about her giving it our all out there.” child playing such a physical sport against older players. Toms River Hydras, Ursuline High School and Lenox However, she said she felt college teams recognized that Memorial High School players on her daughter’s competed with fortyteam were younger and three college teams for smaller. the coveted spray-painted “They were more vodka-bottle trophy. understanding then the The high school teams two high schools they played against each other played,” Oagumina said. and faced one college “The boys on the two team on the first day of high school teams were competition. very rough with them, Toms River Hydras including pulling hair a won all three of its bit. I think the colleges Saturday games and have been very good to faced off against Ives them, they were not as Pond Sunday morning physical as I’ve seen them narrowly losing 30-0 after in other games.” Ives Pond snatched the ,-"'[&<G2A0"'4#-//2'%&/GU-1'/0"'/='1-"'%"<1'$9<#/1<'1/'1-"'8GD Oagumina said the snitch. 16- and 17-year olds on “We’re playing just as hard as they are, stacking up to the team have developed a love of the sport and she is them and really proving what we’re made of,” McGilloway convinced most will play in college, even if they have to said. start teams themselves. Nick Kelly, an Ives Pond chaser who played against Ursuline and Tom River Hydras spent all day Sunday Toms River Hydras Sunday morning, said he was scrimmaging against eliminated college teams on free impressed with the high school team’s performance. fields to gain more experience – a rare opportunity for “They right on level with us. They were a great team,” them due to the limited number of competitive high Kelly said. “Physically they are just as good as us.” school Quidditch teams. Toms River Hydras was the only high school team to Captains from both teams said they hope Quidditch advance to Sunday’s round of 24 teams. will catch on as a high school sport and that there will Though the Ursuline all-girls team was eliminated after eventually be enough teams to compete in a high school Saturday, team co-captain Annabel Cryan said the team is Quidditch Cup. glad to have come.

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hough each of the elliptical fields at Dewitt Clinton Park was manned by a group of commentators for the fourth annual Quidditch World Cup, players and fans heard hardly any blow-by-blow accounts of what was happening on the pitches. Instead they heard members of Middlebury College’s improvisational teams playing off one another as they discussed whatever popped into their heads. “Mostly it was just arbitrary things that really had no relevance,” said Alyssa Limperis, a commentator from the Middlebrow improv team. “Sometimes it was completely unrelated to Quidditch. We would just talk about what we ate for dinner, what we like to do or something cool about New York.”

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The ridiculous commentary has been part of Quidditch since sport founder and improv comedian Xander Marshal announced the very first interscholastic game between Middlebury College and Vassar College. International Quidditch Association commissioner Alex Benepe said he would like to see this tradition continue. “I think that they are the backbone of the sport,” Benepe said. “They keep players in check in a way by keeping the tone of the game light-hearted.” But the humorous commentary does not stop players from going out onto the pitch and giving it their all. “There was so much intensity in the players and passion,” Limperis said. “It felt like we were commentating for the real World Cup or for a football

game.” When they weren’t discussing last night’s party or attempting to announce the game in parseltongue, many commentators wove elaborate stories about teams and teased individual players. Commentator Andrew Powers from the Middlebrow improv team said he particularly enjoyed commentating McGill University’s games. “We really hyped them up a lot and talked about how their coach was making personal guarantees on his honour that McGill would win the match,” Powers said. “We played around a lot with their back story and what would happen to the coach if the team lost.” McGill coach Ben Cohen, who instructed his team from the sidelines in a suit, said he thinks the commentators teased him for taking the game too seriously. “I knew that I was going to take heat from them and be the source of ridicule for them but I knew it was all in good fun,” Cohen said. “As long as Quidditch commentary can help the viewer pay attention and follow what’s going on in the game then they can have all the fun they want,” he added. Ten improv comedians from Middlebury’s Middlebrow and Otter Nonsense teams announced the games in New York City. Both groups regularly commentate games on Middlebury’s campus. !"#"$%"&'()*)'+',-"'./01-23'4""&'5'*^


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Stories by Andrea Hill

S9&">'Y/Q92#e3;H'1-"'&"92'T/&2>'8GD'#-9$DA/0 By the end of the fourth annual Quidditch World Cup, International Quidditch Association volunteer Jared Kowalczyk was running on less than five hours of sleep snatched on Friday and Saturday nights. He had spent significantly more time running from field to field, clipboard in hand ensuring games were running smoothly, that equipment was not missing and that snitches and referees showed up for their scheduled games. He spoke with captains of injured players and dealt with rule discrepancies to ensure the competition ran as smoothly as possible. “I was definitely tired, but I think the adrenaline of just constantly moving and just doing my job kept me going,” Kowalczyk said. Kowalczyk is no stranger to investing hours of his time in Quidditch-related projects. He is the former commissioner of Emerson College’s Quidditch group where he attends school and the organizer of the New England College Quidditch Cup. To those at the World Cup, he was the go-to man with answers about rules and where and when teams were playing. Kowalczyk’s preparation for the Quidditch World Cup began in August when he spearheaded the movement to revise the rulebook. He organized a council of 12 people to address the book’s loopholes and to make the writing more professional. Kowalczyk soon discovered that

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this task was not as easy as it appeared because there was variation in how teams across the United States interpreted the original rules. One of the most contentious rules was that involving how players recover from bludger hits. “Do you have to go around your hoops? Do you need to touch a part of your hoops? Do you need to just run back to a certain line?” Kowalczyk said, listing off some of the questions players had. “It’s one of those rules where I thought it was kind of obvious but I found out some teams were doing things a little bit differently.” Version 4.0 of the rulebook, released in October, specifies that players must touch any part of their hoops before returning to the game. Throughout the weekend, Kowalczyk operated as a tournament

director, communicating with field managers via walkie talkies and heading off potential conflicts between players and officials. “I had at least two instances where there was a rule discrepancy or a referee discrepancy that would have affected the outcome of the game,” Kowalczyk said. “I needed to make the most fair and just ruling as possible.” Although the weekend left Kowalczyk exhausted, he said he is thrilled to have been involved in the tournament’s organization and looks forward to continuing to assist the IQA. “It’s great to have so much responsibility in something that’s just an underground phenomenon that’s happening right now,” Kowalczyk said. “To be able to help lead that is pretty special.”


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f9&9'gA<-;A0H'N&/EA>"&'/='hG92A13'FGA>>A1#-'"01"&19A0$"01 Even when the snitches took a break from climbing baseball cages and the comedic commentators hung up their microphones, entertainment-starved fans were kept engaged with the magic of the Quidditch World Cup through scheduled performances that happened at Dewitt Clinton Park for the duration of the weekend. Live owls shuffled along their perches behind field three, Quidditch players formed a conga line to the beat of Baby Soda’s jazz music and an a capella group wowed crowds with Harry Potter-related songs. Unicyclists, fire-breathing drummers and break dancers also took to the Quidditch pitches between games to the delight of players and fans. All entertainment was booked, arranged and cared for by Tufts’ University Quidditch player Zara Fishkin, a volunteer with the International Quidditch Association. “The main thing I was looking for was a diversity in the

types of entertainment,” Fishkin said. “Quidditch brings together all kinds of people, so we made sure to have something for every taste.” Though her responsibilities kept her too busy to watch most of the entertainment she had arranged, Fishkin said she was especially pleased with the USA break dancers who made an effort to get the audience involved with their routines. Prior to helping out with the World Cup, Fishkin had no prior experience organizing event entertainment. However, she said was keen to help the IQA prepare itself for the world’s largest Quidditch competition in any way she could and is thrilled to have played such an important role in helping make the tournament a success. “I actually got to play a large part in planning because [the IQA] is such a small organization,” Fishkin said. “You really do have a large hand in taking responsibility and I was really lucky to be involved.”

WE909'b/$90H'1G&0A0U'FGA>>A1#-'D293"&<'A01/'#"2"%&A1A"< Print journalists scribbling rapidly on notepads. Photographers and TV crews dodging bludgers to get the perfect shot. The media presence at the fourth annual Quidditch World Cup was so prevalent that throughout the weekend many players joked that they had become celebrities. Athletes’ rise to stardom would not have been possible without the efforts of Ivana Roman, public relations director for the International Quidditch Association. In the weeks leading up to the Cup, Roman contacted local and national media outlets, prepared to twist arms to ensure the event received coverage. Fortunately, she said her job was easier than she anticipated. “I thought when I started helping out with the IQA that I was going to have to fight for people to come here,” Roman said. “It wasn’t like that at all. People wanted to come.” Roman said she and the IQA initially worried that

media outlets were interested for the wrong reasons. “What we were a little bit scared about was that some of the media would poke fun at the World Cup,” she said. Although some news outlets did have a laugh at the competition’s expense, Roman said many reporters came to the tournament with open minds and produced fair coverage. She was particularly impressed with Time Magazine’s coverage of the weekends’ “nerdish camaraderie.” “They got how serious the game was, but they also got how fun and just how relaxed it was,” Roman said. Time was one of the dozens of media organizations reporting from Dewitt Clinton Park. News crews came from as far away as Germany, Japan, Korea and Britain. The event received so much coverage that Roman said the IQA plans to apply for a PR Week Award – an award given for excellence in public relations. !"#"$%"&'()*)'+',-"'./01-23'4""&'5'(*


,&/3'4190=/&>H',9;A0U'2/UA<1A#<'=&/$'1-"'D-/0"'1/'1-"'C"2> Marked fields. Sound systems. Food vendors. Many players and fans may have taken the presence of these things at the 2010 Quidditch World Cup for granted. But for some International Quidditch Association volunteers like Troy Stanford, these logistical details were the results of hours spent calling companies in and around Manhattan to collect quotes, organize purchases and arrange rentals. Stanford, who plays for the Virginia Commonwealth University Wizengamot Quidditch team, said he decided to volunteer for the IQA last October when his team competed in the third annual Quidditch World Cup. He said he was so impressed by the work the IQA was doing to develop and promote the sport that he became determined to assist in any way he could. When the IQA

put out a plea for volunteers in the fall, Stanford signed up right away. “I thought it would a good way to get more experience in Quidditch and do something to actively further the sport,” Stanford said. Though he often had to explain the sport to confused company owners who didn’t understand what Quidditch was or why people would want to demarcate a field for a fictitious game, Stanford said he was thrilled to be able to help the IQA pull off its biggest event yet. “I met a lot of really awesome people and am looking forward to volunteering for the next World Cup,” Stanford said. “It’s been really nice to work with people who are interested in a sport I am just as avid about.”

X2A#A9'b9>=/&>H'bG00A0U'1-"'Q"%<A1"'90>'"E"&31-A0U'"2<" When Tuft’s University accepted their second-place trophy after falling to Middlebury College in the Quidditch World Cup finals, Alicia Radford, Communications Director for the International Quidditch Association, watched as the trophy she had carefully crafted was hoisted into the air above the heads of screaming players. The creation of the trophy, which involved a trip to the liquor store and a morning of securing vodka bottles to Tupperware containers, is just one very small part of Radford’s contribution to the Quidditch World Cup and to Quidditch in general. Radford has been heavily involved with the IQA since the Quidditch team she founded at the University of Washington competed in the second annual Quidditch World Cup in 2008. Though she is formally referred to as the IQA’s Communications Director, Radford tackles many of the administrative issues encountered by the organization including running the website, editing the magazine, coordinating the official membership program and overseeing the organization’s finances. In the month leading up to the Quidditch World Cup, Radford, who is also a student and tech support worker at

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her university, worked tirelessly to ensure that everything was ready for the tournament. “It got to the point where every morning I would start working on it and then work on it until I went to bed at night,” Radford recalled. With only a week before the competition, Radford took a look at the organizational to-do list and knew there was only one way to complete everything that needed to be done – take time off work and school and head to New York City. While in the Big Apple, Radford worked 20-hour days, prioritizing Quidditch-related duties over sleep in order to cross the last items off her list before the tournament opened on Nov. 13. “It was a stressful week, but it was the excited kind of stress. I’ve never functioned so well on so little sleep,” Radford said. “It was the best week of my life.” Though the tournament has ended, Radford’s work has not. She is working on revamping the IQA website and is preparing to launch the official membership program which provides member teams a number of perks including web pages associated with the IQA website and free registration in IQA-sponsored tournaments.


Alex Benepe Interview

World Cup Exceeds All Expectations Five years ago, International Quidditch Association Commissioner Alex Benepe stood on Middlebury College’s campus watching wannabe wizards running around on broom-like implements throwing balls in garbage cans because there were no goal hoops. Much has changed since the sport’s modest beginnings on that lazy Sunday afternoon. On Nov. 13 and 14, hundreds of players and thousands of fans descended on New York City’s Dewitt Clinton Park to witness the world’s largest ever Quidditch competition. And Benepe said he could not be happier with how the event went.

“It met and exceeded all of our expectations,” Benepe said. “Overall I was very pleased with it.” In previous years, the World Cup has been held at Middlebury College, but it is becoming more difficult for the campus to accommodate the dozens of teams from across the United States and Canada that want to compete for the title of Quidditch World Cup champion. Over the last year, interest in the sport has grown considerably and public perception of Quidditch is morphing. “The media are beginning to change their tone a bit when they cover it,” Benepe said. “I think people are

By Andrea Hill

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beginning to appreciate it more as a legitimate sport.” But while the acceptance of Quidditch as a sport has likely played a role in its increasing popularity, it also raises questions about the directions Quidditch is heading. “We’re sort of moving into this new phase where it’s kind of a balancing act between maintaining all the inclusive tongue-in-cheek aspects of the game and also the more serious athletic pursuit,” Benepe said. One suggestion teams at the World Cup have provided to address this problem is hosting tournaments with separate recreational and competitive divisions. Benepe said the IQA is taking this option into consideration as it looks ahead to planning the 2011 World Cup, which he expects to be even larger than this year’s event. A location for next year’s Cup has not been determined but Benepe said he would like to see teams converge once again in New York City. Though Benepe described Dewitt Clinton Park as a “perfect” location for this year’s competition, he said the higher anticipated turnout necessitates moving the Cup to an even larger venue. For teams that were unable to travel to New York City for this year’s Cup or who cannot wait until fall 2011 to play in another IQA tournament, Benepe said the organization plans to sponsor six regional tournaments before June 2011 including five in each of the major regions of the U.S. and one in Canada.

“I think people are beginning to appreciate it more as a legitimate sport.”

Photo Credit: Many of the World Cup photos used throughout this issue were taken by Flickr user Jamie NYC, whose excellent Quidditch World Cup set (of over 400 pictures) can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimkiernan/sets/72157625270643861/

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Monthly Seer Volume 1 Issue 3  

The official magazine of the International Quidditch Association

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