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KIDDITCH GENERATION A look at youth quidditch


Villanova chaser, Team USA


Quidditch Quarterly Autumn 2012 Volume 1 • Issue 3 EDITOR IN CHIEF

Alicia Radford


Alicia Radford



Eric Andres Barry Cromer Logan Anbinder, Eric Andres, Laurie Beckoff, Alan Black, Alex Clark, Deanna Edmunds, Vanessa Goh, April Gonzales, Will Hack, Dan Hanson, Harrison Homel, Vic Kelman, Alicia Radford, Katie Stack, Brady Stanley, Ethan Sturm, Sara Weisenbach, Luke Zak To advertise in Quidditch Quarterly contact

Quidditch Quarterly is published by the International Quidditch Association. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the IQA. The International Quidditch Association (IQA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to governing the sport of quidditch and inspiring young people to lead physically active and socially engaged lives. Adapted in 2005 at Middlebury College by a group of freshmen on a lark, today the game has spread to over five hundred colleges across North America, Australia, and Europe. The IQA was founded in 2010 and hosts tournaments and events all over the world. The IQA is not affiliated with JK Rowling, Warner Bros, or Time Warner. Visit the IQA at



Recent Events

Back to School

An Origin Story

Take me out to the ball game; IQA Summer Games; QuidCon 2012; A Fantasy Summer

Where to start; Must-haves; Money makers; Your room on quidditch; The IQA's biggest fans; Post-grad gametime

The Montvale Monstars were started by three friends in 2009 who went on to play for three of the top college teams in the country




Kidditch Generation Lifestyles

Players’ Corner

An in-depth look at the state of kidditch around the league

A brief look at the complex world of keeper strategy; The Snitchhiker's guide; What's new in rulebook 6; Play of the issue

Player profiles: Cynthia Caceres and Kody Marshall; the QQ interview: Alivan's



elcome to the Autumn 2012 issue of Quidditch Quarterly! Autumn is my favorite season—Halloween, Thanksgiving, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin picking, pumpkin carving...but also because it’s the beginning of the college quidditch season (although the IQA season officially started on July 1—there’s no off-season in quidditch!). To get you prepped for the new season, we’ve got a 14-page Back to School section packed with content and tips for teams at any level, from “Where to Start” (page 24) for beginners, to equipment must-haves and fundraising ideas (pages 26-27), to how to stay involved after graudation and a moving and entertaining look at what parents think about this whole quidditch phenomenon. As you’ll see in this issue, we’re heading into the most jam-packed fall season yet after the most jam-packed summer—don’t miss our extensive write-ups of the IQA Summer Games in Oxford, England (page 7), the fantasy tournaments that swept the United States (page 12), and our recap of QuidCon 2012 (page 10). Three regional championships—qualifiers for April’s World Cup VI in Kissimmee, Florida—are coming up this fall: the Mid-Atlantic regional in Roanoke, VA on Nov. 3-4, the Midwest regional in Warren Co, OH on Nov. 10-11, and the Northeast regional in Newport, RI on Nov. 17-18. Check out pages 18-20 for QQ’s take on teams to watch at each of those tournaments. Many of my editor’s letters are similar: look at how far we’ve come, and how much quidditch has grown, since the last issue. The thing is, every few months, our progress blows the past out of the water, making that story perennially relevant. Last weekend (Sept. 22-23), there were eight official tournaments all over the United States to kick off the season. After not even two months of head referee certification, we have over 48 certified referees. In the coming months we’ll even be sending Referee Development Team members to Canada and Australia to host the first international referee certification clinics. The IQA’s focus for this coming season, even more than any other, is on the future of quidditch. And I want to invite you to do the same. That’s why we’ve come up with a new tagline, specifically for QuidCon 2013 (in Seattle July 11-15—see you there!), but broadly applicable as well. “Your sport, your future.” This year is about your voice making the difference for our sport, because only through a concerted effort to take ourselves seriously, and treat each other with the same respect we want our sport to have, can we fly as high as every quidditch player knows we can. From working on institutionalizing kidditch across the league (page 40) to the first Quidditch World’s Fair (page 21), it’s clear that at the pace we’re moving, we won’t be able to keep up and excel unless we all work together. I’m looking forward to rising to the challenge. Alicia


Take me out to the ball game BY VIC KELMAN


he Lowell Spinners, a minor league baseball team for the Boston Red Sox, invited the Emerson College and Boston University quidditch teams to their stadium for Harry Potter night on Tuesday, July 2. Before the night’s game, the teams held a demo quidditch match in the outfield. Fans dressed up in Harry Potter gear watched as the two rivals battled it out. Ultimately, Boston University sealed the win when their seeker 6

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caught the snitch and ended the game. Following the match, the players went into the stands to watch the baseball game, where many were stopped for autographs and pictures. The crowd size seemed unprecedented for a single match and the teams definitely walked away with some new fans. ■


IQA Summer Games




ince the inception of quidditch as played by muggles, we have always been asked what the future of the sport we are all so crazy about would hold. Our unfettered minds developed ideas of massive arenas, droves of screaming fans, and passionate international competition with media coverage rivaling Sunday Night Football and the FIFA World Cup. Perhaps the biggest pipe dream any of us could dare imagine was the day quidditch would be incorporated into the largest athletic competition in the world. When I clicked attending to the facebook event “Bring Quidditch to the London Olympics” nearly three years ago, as I know many of you did, it seemed such an unrealistic impossibility that I never foresaw the opportunity to help the IQA host the first ever Quidditch Summer Games exposition tournament. This summer, just in time for the Games of the XXX Olympiad, all of the stars aligned to make our dream come to life. It is not just about the momentum and hype surrounding the Olympics that made this summer the perfect time for an international quidditch event like this. In the homeland of Harry Potter and Jo Rowling, who even had a special

role in the opening ceremonies, there could be no better location to launch a corresponding quidditch event than these London Summer Games. On top of the prime setting, this is truly the breakout year for international quidditch. Before, there were a handful of Canadian teams and an outlier team here and there from Queensland or Vaasa, but by and large, playing quidditch was little more than an aspiration being sown into the minds of enthusiasts in any country beyond North America only one year ago. In that short span of time, full organizing bodies for the sport have cropped up in both Australia and the United Kingdom, and the IQA has seen the creation of official teams from the likes of France and China. With the heart and soul of the Olympic spirit of camaraderie and competition, such global development of our sport lent itself perfectly to putting on the first ever Quidditch Summer Games, bringing together our international athletes in a capacity like never before. The event was planned and executed flawlessly by Tournament Director Karen Kumaki with the invaluable help of Katherine Booth and Harry Wells, as well as national team managers Beth Crane,

Mary Warner, Boris Martin, Rob Barringer, and Luke Zak (Australia, Canada, France, UK, and USA, respectively), with a great deal of other volunteers. Even though the goal was not to be a part of the Olympiad, we wanted to share in its sentiment, bringing out unapologetic national pride and widespread admiration for the sport and its athletes. The culmination of months of planning led to a final exposition match between Team UK and Team USA on July 9, where the IQA’s event was invited to be included amongst other activities on a stop of the official Olympics Torch Relay in Oxford’s South Park. Lined around the pitch were media giants CNN and Reuters, joined in the ranks by guest celebrity Ellie Darcey-Alden, who portrayed the young Lily Evans. In terms of public reception and credibility, this match alone would contend with the significance of World Cup itself. In one of the hardestfought matches of the season, the game went to Team USA, winning 250-60 with the snatch. The athleticism and sportsmanship from both teams was commendable, but to see the full impact the weekend held on the quidditch world it is necessary to Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012 7

take a look back at the full tournament between five nations competing for gold the day before at Cutteslowe Park. The day began with a full schedule of round robin play followed by a bracket with the top four teams. Discussion with tournament participants gives us a better look at the players’ perspective on the once-in-a-lifetime Quidditch Summer Games experience.

Great Britain Heading into the event with the home team advantage, the team of athletes drawn from QUK was optimistic. Unfortunately, after a grueling day of round robin matches, Team UK ended up first eliminated from the competition. “We haven’t had as many games against each other to build on the competitive edge and experience needed for these huge games,” said Steven Willey of Team UK, reflecting on the players’ general lack of on-pitch experience. Taking the loss in stride, he usd the event as an opportunity to learn and grow instead of being disappointed. “Playing against amazing players from all over the globe taught me so much about what it takes to be a good quidditch player,” explained Willey. Excited by the prospects of the sport in its birthplace, he continued, “I can already tell which players are going to be the ones to watch on this side of the pond. We may not have shown it this year, but quidditch in the UK will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future.”

Canada Veterans in the quidditch scene, Team Canada was pegged from the beginning to be a top finisher by many. What the world was not expecting, however, was the extent to which quidditch has flourished beyond its origins. With a few unexpected upsets against Team Canada, it ended up placing fourth in the tournament after a narrow defeat by the Aussies. Despite some of the team’s struggles, the high intensity of the competition is what made the event even more exhilarating. “I think the best part of the whole tournament was actually Team Canada versus France in round robin. The game was so intense and went to overtime. Both teams really had tried so hard and it is a game I will never forget,” said Jamie Lafrance from Team Canada. True to the spirit shared by quidditch kids the world over, his reaction to fourth place was, “I thought that it was one of the best experiences of my life, in all aspects. I would do it again in a heartbeat if given a chance.”

Australia One of the unexpected turns of the day came from Team Australia. The players had the misfortune of being on the pitch against Team USA in their first match. Add the lack of confidence that comes with a brand new team, and the results were cause for sympathy. “As the first time that the players had played together, they were shaky and unsure of how they would function as a team,” described Team Australia player Tashi Roberts. “[It] was truly their undoing in the first match.” After losing to France by a smaller margin FROM TOP: TEAM UK; TEAM CANADA; TEAM AUSTRALIA; TEAM FRANCE (PHOTOS: BARRY CROMER). OPPOSITE FROM TOP: TEAM USA (PHOTO: BARRY CROMER); TEAM USA AND UK FACE OFF WITH HEAD REFEREE

than in their first game of the day, Team Australia was finally starting to come around. “Then comes the game against the team that Australia refused to lose to, the British team. With a sporting rivalry between them, Team UK and Team Australia prepare[d] for the match of their lives.” Roberts looked back on the last game of round robin. “Neither team with a win under their belts yet, they [were] both eager to win, in order to get into the playoffs.” A short, close match later and Australia came out on top and on a roll. Continuing her tale, Roberts depicted the lineup of her team’s consolation match against Team Canada: “Bruised and battered already from playing all day, they prepared for their final brooms up of the day. The pitch was quiet, the teams feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders. It was the battle of their lives; to take the bronze medal would be a dream come true.” When Matt Armstrong snatched the snitch to win the game, it launched Australia to new heights in the quidditch world.

France The true dark horse of the competition, Team France astonished almost everybody when they took home the silver. “They were the unknown coming in to the games,” said Willey, recognizing the fact that the quidditch world was already fairly familiar with the four other teams while the French went on under the radar. His viewpoint was shared with many who were in attendance. “They turned up on the day and played some amazing quidditch and took everybody by surprise. I can’t wait to see more quidditch from the French.” The inclusion of a non-anglophone country in this event was a monumental shift in the international perspective of the sport. Having a few sporadic teams like the one in Finland is an inspiration to many players, but having an established network of francophone quidditch teams and athletes is an entirely novel phenomenon. Team USA Captain Zach D’Amico affirmed that “seeing quidditch transcend something like language, such as when we played the French team, was a true eye-opener in terms of how far the sport has spread, and how powerful it has the potential to be.”

United States of America Taking home the championship title of the Quidditch Summer Games 2012, Team USA played the sport with skill like never before. “What impressed me most was the way the Team USA players came together,” said D’Amico. “All these players are used to being the stars on their college teams, many of them accustomed to scoring most of the team’s goals or spending entire games on the field.” But coming together with other elite athletes from top tier teams fostered a new quidditch environment. D’Amico continued, “From the first minute of the first game, each player’s willingness to sacrifice for the betterment of the team and their teammates was obvious. Only by doing this were we able to demonstrate quidditch at its highest level, the way it is supposed to be played.” ■ Luke Zak is the IQA’s Midwest Regional Director and a 2012 graduate of the University of Minnesota, where he founded one of the most successful quidditch programs in the United States. DAN HANSON AND SNITCH BRYAN BAE; THE SUMMER GAMES GOLD MEDAL (PHOTOS: SAM MEDNEY); THE OLYMPIC TORCH IN OXFORD (PHOTO: QUIYK).

2012 CHICAGO • JULY 12-15

One hell of a weekend at QuidCon 2012 BY HARRISON HOMEL


t its heart, QuidCon 2012, the three-day quidditch conference put on by the IQA, was an opportunity for IQA volunteers, captains, and representatives from quidditch teams across North America to learn from one another at a hotel just outside Chicago, IL. No attendee will deny that this is just what happened, though it was so much more than that. It was certainly informative, with a full day of lectures and panels ranging from fundraising to leadership strategies, from kidditch to the World Cup, and everything in between. It was also competitive, with regional super-teams battling one another on the blazing hot pitch in a day-long tournament. It was trying, whether you were battling the referee test, vying for your snitch shorts, or simply attempting to exist outdoors. Perhaps more than all these things, though, it was familial: in the rooms each night, at the Sirius Black Tie Ball, both on and off the pitch, and at every event of the weekend, a sense of community pervaded the convention. It is perhaps fitting that one of the unexpected centerpieces

of QuidCon 2012 was a mock quidditch wedding between two conference attendees (It was exactly as strange as it sounds). In many important ways, the event itself felt like a wedding, or summer camp, or a reunion: a strange, wonderful, frozen moment in time with strangers where boundaries are lowered, unexpected connections are formed, the fun doesn’t stop, and you feel, miraculously, at home. It was the type of event where lasting memories and friendships are made. QuidCon sent its guests home with new knowledge and strategies to share with their team, to be sure. But for one shining weekend in Chicago, though, something bigger happened. I can’t wait for next year. ■

Harrison Homel is an IQA staffer(x5), an occasional QQ contributor, and a particularly awful chaser. He also occasionally participates in real life. He graduated from UCLA last spring, and plans to run away to Russia this fall. 10

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A fantasy summer BY ETHAN STURM


ummers have traditionally served as the slow season in the quidditch community, as many players head home from school for four months, far from the friendly confines of their teams. But this past summer had more quidditch play than ever before, highlighted by a series of fantasy tournaments that added a new dimension to the classic pickup game. These tournaments became much more than your average match in the park, promoting regional unity, forging friendships across regions, and giving the community the competitive quidditch outlet it had so desperately craved in those long, hot summer months. Although almost every region ended up hosting a fantasy tournament, the idea started out very humbly as a pickup game in Austin, Texas organized by the University of Texas-Austin’s Kody Marshall. The concept of picking teams, using a system that has become popular through fantasy sports, first came from University of Kansas player Doug Whiston. Marshall, now working on organizing the event with teammate Augustine Monroe, took the idea and ran with it. 12

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“I hopped on after the idea was already formulated, but I wanted to play a large part in making it happen, as well as making sure it was well done,” Monroe said. “There are often times great ideas that don’t pan out as planned. Fantasy quidditch was exactly what was imagined, if not better, once made a reality.” Monroe was by no means alone in this opinion. Word of the tournament spread like wildfire through the quidditch community, and interest grew quickly. Players from the Western Region started forming carpools to make the long drive, while players from the East Coast booked flights to attend. Alex Benepe and The Golden Snitchy were announced as general managers, another popular touch that added even more excitement. But perhaps the biggest sign that the tournament had hit it big was the numerous fantasy tournaments that began forming across the country. Steve DiCarlo was the first to join in, creating a tournament in the Northeast Region on Randall’s Island. Ohio State player Luke Changet formed one in the Midwest, while Mid-Atlantic Regional Director

Logan Anbinder was responsible for the Maryland iteration. “It was really born out of just a general desire in the region to have an event like that in the Mid-Atlantic,” Anbinder said. “Someone on Facebook said, ‘hey, this is great, why don’t we do this?’ and I thought that was a great idea, so we were able to pull it off.” “I laughed when I saw the ‘We copied the idea from the SW, it’s all good’ on the events that popped up in the NE, MidAtlantic, and Midwest,” Monroe said. “One part of me was sad because I feared that it would take away potential travelers to our tournament, but the larger part of me was glad that the idea spread.” Of course, the focus of the tournaments was draft night, as for the first time ever players waited with bated breath to see how much the general managers thought they were worth. Each region did things a little differently: the Southwest and Northeast had auction drafts, in which each general manager is given a budget to bid on players with, while the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic did snake drafts, in which the general managers take turns


picking players. The Northeast regulated the number of players that a general manager could draft, while the Southwest allowed them to draft as many or few as possible. “I think there are definitely a lot of great things about auction, including each player being able to see how much they go for, which I know I as a player would have been dying to find out,” said Anbinder, who put the choice of draft type up to a vote in his region. “But I think a snake draft was a little simpler, and faster, and it still had a whole lot of strategy. There’s also a little bit more that’s in each GM’s control as they’re drafting, so they can plan better, which I think was helpful for a first-time event.” The quidditch community came out in force for draft night, with video chats and long Facebook threads popping up everywhere as players and fans followed along live with the drafts. The Northeast tournament’s live draft spreadsheet reached upwards up 60 or 70 people at some points of the night. “Draft night was awesome!” Marshall said, “There was so much hype and anticipation both in the room and within the quidditch community. I could almost feel the cheers and jeers as I typed players’ names onto the live draft spreadsheet.” “Though we ran into a few bumps during the auction, it was a great experience,” Monroe added. “Every [general manager] made it more enjoyable. While running the draft, I wasn’t able to see how many

people were following along. Post draft I realized how many people were watching and how excited people were via Facebook threads. Seeing the buzz the tournament was creating kept me going strong.” In the end, the Midwest and MidAtlantic both ended up with four-team tournaments, while the Southwest had


LSU’s Jason Winn and Kansas’s Ronell Sharp. The orange team in the Northeast, Jam City Swag, had four members of Team USA; the Menacing Minions in the Mid-Atlantic had a stacked lineup of University of Maryland players including Patrick Rardin and Sarah Woolsey as well as Hofstra’s Jayke Archibald; while the red team in the Midwest was a strong

Augustine Monroe's SW Draft Recollections "I ran the auction while a committee of Kody and other friends managed the spreadsheet, big board, live tweets, and pizza ordering. Though we ran into a few bumps during the auction, it was a great experience. Every GM made it more enjoyable. While running the draft, I wasn’t able to see how many people were following along. Post-draft I realized how many people were watching and how excited they were via Facebook threads. Seeing the buzz the tournament was creating kept me going strong." six and the Northeast had seven. The Southwest may have very well ended up the biggest, but they chose to cap the number of players. In an interesting turn of events, just about every tournament seemed to end up with a super team. In the Southwest, the blue team included Marshall and Monroe, as well as Texas A&M beater combo Reed Duncan and Mollie Lensing,

combination of a lot of Ohio State and Michigan State players. Yet in a tip of the cap to the parity that has developed across the sport, only one of the four “all-star” teams came out on top. The Southwest’s blue team cruised to a victory, winning 170-60 in the final. But Jam City Swag was beaten twice by The Justice Friends, led by Villanova seeker William Greco and Empire Heliopaths Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012 13


beater Heather Knoch; University of Richmond graduate Jeffrey Hunt singlehandedly took over the Mid-Atlantic tournament as a beater while UMD’s Harry Greenhouse help led Fantasy Force to the win over the Minions. In the Midwest, the blue team rode University of Miami seeker David Moyer all the way to the title with a 70-50 victory in the finals. But, in the end, the results were a distant second in importance to the effect the tournaments have had on the community. For the first time, players from different teams and different regions were coming together on teams, talking strategy, creating chants, and truly bonding in a way that was never possible in the past. This was further aided by many events planned around the tournaments, including tournament-wide dinners, team sleepovers, and all other sorts of fun and games. “I think being able to play alongside players who would usually be your rivals was a huge boost to regional unity,” Anbinder said. “It was great that we had some players from outside the Mid-Atlantic, too, but I think all in all this tournament was great in demonstrating that even though our states were originally part of other regions, the Mid-Atlantic is well on our way to becoming our own

region with our own unique identity.” “In this tournament, winning was of course important, but losing was not that big of a deal,” Marshall added. “The most important part of this tournament was getting a chance to play with your former opponents and watch them become first your teammates and then your friends.” The tournament also allowed players to

ful and exciting quidditch tournaments ever put on. And across the board, the regions seem excited to pick up where they left off with new iterations next summer. “I had people telling me throughout the weekend how great everything was,” Monroe said. “It was nice to hear because it was really all for them. I feel the quidditch community had a grand time

“In this tournament, winning was of course important, but losing was not that big of a deal. The most important part of this tournament was getting a chance to play with your former opponents and watch them become first your teammates and then your friends.” come out of their shells and show themselves to the quidditch world. “This was also a neat opportunity for individuals who might typically not be stand out players on their own teams, rise up to help their fantasy teams,” Marshall said. “I saw players step into leadership positions that have always just followed on their teams.” There is no doubt that the fantasy tournaments were some of the most success-

whether they were watching the draft as it happened, playing in the tournament, watching, or submitting a Marshroe Madness bracket for a chance at winning a prize.” “I believe that fantasy drafts and tournaments were the pinnacle of summer quidditch,” Marshall added. “I think this summer set a precedent for future summer quidditch events; I can only see them getting bigger and better with time. ■

Ethan Sturm is a senior at Tufts University, where he is studying biopsychology. He plays for Tufts and also captains the Toms River Hydras, his hometown's community team. In the IQA, he works in the gameplay department. He also referees and founded the Massachusetts Quidditch Conference. 14

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Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012 15

“I think being able to play alongside players who would usually be your rivals was a huge boost to regional unity. It was great that we had some players from outside the Mid-Atlantic, too, but I think all in all this tournament was great in demonstrating that even though our states were originally part of other regions, the Mid-Atlantic is well on our way to becoming our own region with our own unique identity.�

"The best team moment was when blue team, who had nicknamed themselves 'squirtle squad,' were lining up for the championship match and they broke as 'wartortle squad,' saying that they'd evolved to a higher level. The tournament was great for the Midwest. I know we're not an often talked about region, but this tournament showed that at the end of the day, we're just like the rest of the IQA; we just want to play quidditch." —Luke Changet


TEAMS TO WATCH Keep an eye out for these teams at this fall’s regional championships.

Harvard Horntails


he Boston area has become a hub of competitive quidditch with a roster of teams that includes the reigning Northeast Regional Champions (Boston University), the reigning Champions Series winners (Emerson College) and the 2011 World Cup runners-up (Tufts University). But playing right alongside these national powers is a team that is often overlooked despite coming from perhaps the most prestigious university of them all. But by the end of regionals, the Harvard Horntails are unlikely to be flying under anyone’s radar anymore. The Horntails formed in 2009, and a video produced by The Harvard Crimson hit YouTube soon after, garnering plenty of attention, both positive and negative. The team attended its first World Cup in 2010, and was knocked out of the tournament by McGill in the first match of the elimination rounds. They returned in 2011, once again falling in the first round of the elimination bracket, this time to the College of Charleston. But the current squad is an entirely different animal from the one portrayed in that 2009 video, or even the one from this past November. Streamlined into a team that rarely breaks double digits in roster size but plays with the toughness and endurance of a full side, the Horntails began 18

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putting up impressive results in the final months of the season, including beating the Tufts Tufflepuffs multiple times and taking a game to overtime against almost the exact Emerson lineup that would go on to win the Champions Series just a week later. The core of the team is a chasing line that is undersized but still potent on both sides of the ball. Andrew Murray, CJ Curtis, and Hank Smith all understand their roles and what they need to do to keep their team in games. They also seem to have limitless engines, and can all readily switch in and out at seeker. The team has learned to compensate for its size with quick movement and one of the best distance shooting games in the league. “We definitely emphasize speed in practice, and it shows on the field,” Murray said. “While most of our players won’t be bowling our opponents over, we’ve gotten pretty good at running past them. We have an excellent set of chasers—and a keeper—and as a result have a pretty high-scoring offense.” The team’s chasers have also become known for their scrappy play. Murray optimizes the style, commonly coming out of piles with the ball. “We have some players who really lay themselves out to make a play,” he said.

BY ETHAN STURM Even if we get injured, many of our players will want to stay on the field and keep playing. It is unusual for us to come back from a game without being a little bloody and scraped up.” The team operated much of the spring with two female beaters, led by Laura D’Asaro. All of their beaters are tough players, and specialize in conservative bludger control, allowing their offense to operate on its own with the advantage. Unfortunately, team size remains the Horntails’ most limiting factor, something the team plans on putting a focus on during the 2012-2013 season. “We usually have to cajole our teammates to come to games, and even when we succeed we rarely have more than a few substitutes,” Murray said. “It leaves the core players feeling exhausted well before the match is through. Our losses seem most often to come from our lack of players, not from a lack of talent.” “Recruitment will be a main focus for next year,” he added. “We hope to at least double our team. It seems that a lot of people at Harvard think that quidditch isn’t a respectable sport. If we can convince some former high school athletes that it actually is, then we can bolster our numbers. There is nothing better we could do for our performance than to increase our recruiting talent.” There are many question marks at the beginning of a quidditch season, but few things are more assured than the talent and dedication of the Horntails core group of players. With the experience of playing in one of the toughest cities in the quidditch world and an ever-improving set of results, expect Harvard to break through in a big way this year. “We’re on the cusp,” Murray said. “Every year we’ve improved, from a miserable, winless showing at the World Cup a few years ago, to a respectable, narrow defeat in the elimination matches last year. If we continue on this trajectory, we will be a force to be reckoned with in 2012-13.” n PHOTO: QUIDDITCHPHOTOS.COM

University of Maryland O ne could argue that no team in quidditch history has ever risen to prominence at the speed the University of Maryland has in the past year. After being a non-factor in their first World Cup in 2010 and suffering a disappointing Round of 32 exit at the hands of Pittsburgh in 2011, the squad erupted in 2012, putting up the type of results that have many people ranking them as the prohibitive favorites for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship. The team was started in 2009, with, as chaser and keeper Patrick Rardin puts it, “a group of maybe five or six people and a smiley-faced volleyball.” They started attending tournaments in 2010, but after a year full of disappointing losses, decided to focus more on the competitive side of the game. Recruiting took a turn for the better, Rardin was chosen as the team’s captain, and improvement began. By the end of this past spring semester, they were fifth in the world, with tournament victories in the Sirius Blacksburg Brawl and Shell-Shocking Spectacular and a runner-up finish in the highly competitive Stony Brook Classic. The results were not due to weak competition: Maryland has already scored wins over Emerson, Hofstra, and Richmond in 2012. “I think we can play with anyone,” captain Josh Marks said. “We proved ourselves last semester against Emerson at the Stony Brook tournament. I think that really put us on the map as far as beating a big quidditch powerhouse.” The key to the side’s success has been the depth of its talent. Much of their leadership comes from the back, with Rardin, Marks, and Team USA member James PHOTO: DEANNA EDMUNDS

Hicks all serving as strong keepers with the capability of contributing offensively. Their chasing lines are paced by sophomore Harry Greenhouse. Greenhouse is a powerful combination of strength and quickness, and if a team has no one player that can match up with him defensively, he can win a match by himself. On the female side of the chasing unit, Liz Miles and Erin Mallory have both established themselves as dangerous threats capable of playing at a level well above their size. “Erin is by far the best female chaser I have ever seen,” Rardin said. “[She] plays like a mini Liz Miles; she jukes players twice her size and is not afraid of a hit.” As good as their chasers are, Maryland’s beating corps may be even more impressive. Even after losing Ryan Willard and Zac Connelly last season, they continue to excel thanks to the play of Ricky Nelson, a strategic beater whose background in karate makes him one of the most physical players at the position; Rola Saleh, a young player with a fiery style of play and a high ceiling for growth; and Sarah Woolsey, one of the team’s best known players around the quidditch community. “Sarah plays a huge part in keeping our beaters sharp and keeping bludger control for what I would say is the majority of our matches,” Marks said. On the pitch, Maryland optimizes its depth and athleticism by playing a fastpaced run-and-gun game. Able to sub their star players in and out to keep them fresh while still maintaining a talented side on the pitch at all times, the team is rarely outmatched in endurance. “From a tactical standpoint we play a very physical and fast-paced game,”

BY ETHAN STURM Marks said. “We will make the other teams play on our terms.” “We have three solid lines of chasers,” Rardin added. “Our beater squad has improved tremendously and now is the key to our defense. But as Marks notes, sometimes they get away from what they do best, leading to valuable lost points during a game. “I think our biggest [weakness] is that we’re sometimes hesitant on offense to begin fast breaks,” he said. “We’ll get the defensive stop, and then not break up the field as fast as we could. I think fast breaks could lead to even more points this year.” Mid-Atlantic Regional Director Logan Anbinder will be a major loss for the team both on and off the pitch, but Maryland appears to have the infrastructure down to sustain itself for the long run. The school consistently gets practices of 30 or so participants, with even more people attending part time. They also host a tournament every semester, making them the epicenter of quidditch activity in the region. And on the pitch, they are pretty confident they are the epitome of talent as well. “Here’s where I may get myself in a little trouble,” Marks said. “I truly believe that we are the best team in our region right now. No disrespect to anyone in the Mid-Atlantic…but if we play the way we played during the middle of last semester, I don’t think anyone in our region can beat us.” Just two years after coming into World Cup IV as a fresh-faced squad, you might find it hard to believe the confidence Maryland exudes. But on the pitch, there’s no doubt they can back up the claims. n Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012 19

Marquette University BY LUKE ZAK


hen looking at the global quidditch scene, a few team names have become commonplace in the headlines. Everybody can list off a dozen schools that consistently find themselves at the top of the quidditch world: the likes of Emerson College, USC, Louisiana State University, Middlebury College, and the University of Texas, among others. But one team has gone a bit under the radar— though they won’t be there for long. Anybody who saw one of Marquette University’s matches last season knows that they are here to play quidditch, as a sport and not a game. Despite being a brand new team in the fall of 2011, the athletes performed remarkably well. Even with beginner’s excitement and momentum, however, Marquette failed to attain the success the team strove for. Marquette Quidditch founder and team captain Curtis Taylor laid it out right when he said, “Marquette definitely showed up last year on the scene with a bang; however, we were definitely inexperienced.” Nobody could deny the intimidating demeanor or the swag uniforms (complete with home and away jerseys, as well as matching cleats) the team donned as they arrived at the 2011 Midwest Cup. They were powerful and athletic, but the truth is that they didn’t have a quidditch background and that hurt them. The pressure of high intensity games appears to have been the cause of Marquette not making it further at the Midwest Cup and their first World Cup appearance. After getting some playing time and concentrated strategizing, the team came together extremely well in pool play last November, landing them a solid spot 20

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in the top 32. Then, under the stress of a scheduling mix-up and pitted against another top team from the Midwest, Marquette went on to lose their first bracket game to Michigan State University, despite having just beaten World Cup V semifinalists from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in three matches only a week prior. “The team failed to do well in brackets, which showed lack of experience,” admitted Taylor. He followed that up by clarifying, “there is high potential this year.” And there is no doubt about that. Keeping the same core of a team and only making improvements, Marquette University is now easily a contender in the Midwest for having the strongest roster of the region. Chelsea Greco, Marquette Quidditch coach, gives us some insight into the team’s prospects this upcoming season. “The team looks solid this year. We’ve replaced some key points, which we were lacking last year, and the addition of four to five new players in the fall will help with depth.” According to Taylor, the team replaced two thirds of its beater core and is reloaded with three new chasers. In a game as young and volatile as quidditch, scouting, recruiting, and training new athletes is an imperative component of team survival and performance. That is why adding enthusiastic and dedicated players since World Cup V is significant to highlight. One such recruit, incoming sophomore chaser Caroline Villa, says, “I’m so excited to get this season going! The team was clicking really well at the end of spring.” Her positive outlook for this coming season is evident. “I can’t wait to get out there and start playing with

them!” Though she has an optimistic attitude for the fall, her fun and athleticism spectrum seems to be less black and white than much of the league. Villa is just as talented as many of the greatest players in the IQA. “We look for athletes, not just an obsession with quidditch,” explains Greco. Already, Villa has traveled extensively to show her capacity to compete at a high level, attending events like the Southwest fantasy tournament. In attendance was Zach D’Amico, captain of Villanova and Team USA Quidditch, as well a as member of the IQA gameplay department. Few people know more about the league and the players who comprise it. He breaks down the team’s addition from a third party perspective. “Caroline Villa is going to be a chaser to watch out for, playing for Marquette in the upcoming season. The most impressive thing about Caroline is her knowledge of the game, especially for such a new player. She is great at the aspects of quidditch which are hardest to teach. Her timing is impeccable, her field positioning is that of a veteran, and her awareness is phenomenal.” On top of calling her out as a natural with a strong athletic background, D’Amico predicts, “With a little more experience, Caroline will continue to grow as a chaser, and has the potential to become one of the best in the Midwest, if not the country.” “We are excited to play a more scheduled semester and qualify for World Cup,” says Taylor. “We are a threat in the Midwest now; with a year and some tournament experience, the team should contend and make a bigger splash than last year.” n PHOTO: QUIDDITCHPHOTOS.COM

Impact the tra jectory of our sport. Enter your invention, game improvement, or innovative service project into the first Quidditch World's Fair at QuidCon 2013 for the chance to win cash prizes and a partnership offer from the IQA. All entries will be judged at the World's Fair Exhibition Hall by a panel of businesspeople, academics, and IQA staff. Applications and more information at


JULY 11-15, 2013


Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012

Hogwarts? Nope! This is the University of Washington library. Regardless of which institution you call home, QQ is here with advice on how to start a team, equipment must-haves, fundraising tips, how to decorate your room, and just what Mom and Dad think of all this quidditch stuff, anyway.

Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012 25


Eight easy steps (that’s right—you don’t even need 10) to raising a quidditch team of your very own.


MENTALLY PREPARE YOURSELF. Many adults won’t take you seriously and teachers will make you jump through hoops to access student group privileges. Your peers will laugh. But a few of them won’t, and they’ll attend your first practice. And you’ll get on Facebook and join ‘Westbook,’ the now-infamous group for the Western region, and thousands of your new quidkid friends will cheer you on from across the globe. Their encouragement, and your knowledge of the upcoming quidditch events, will give you the strength to gather together your mishmash of brooms and mops and wiffleball bats for the weekend’s practice in which one more person might show up. It’s worth it. Keep that in mind.


CONTACT YOUR REGIONAL DIRECTOR AND STATE REPRESENTATIVE. Your IQA representatives are there for you! They’ll inform you about upcoming events and put you in touch with nearby teams. They’ll answer any questions you have, and if they don’t know the answer, they’ll talk to the IQA staff member who does know. They might suggest you apply for the IQA mentor program, a new initiative that will match you with an established team nearby. This official member team will be available to lend equipment 24

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and players, as well as offer logistical and emotional support.



The PDF version is inexpensive, and included inside are all the official IQA rules explained in great (sometimes too much?) detail. The back of the book includes an in-depth section on how to make hoops and how to create a quidditch pitch, as well as fundraising and recruitment techniques. When people are interested in your new team (and they will be), you’ll want to sound knowledgeable.



Talk about quidditch to your friends, to your classmates, to your colleagues. Spread the word! Show them videos and news articles and pictures. Plan an informational meeting and advertise with fliers posted (with permission) around your community. Find out if there are any Harry Potter clubs in the community that might be interested in co-hosting. Set a date for your first practice, “BYOB” style (Bring Your Own Broom), and advertise that event through Facebook and any local news calendars. Find out the requirements to become an official school organization, if that’s your goal, and start working towards achieving those requirements.



Unfortunately, it is difficult to create a sustainable quidditch program without the appropriate funding. If you are lucky enough to gather school support, they will usually allocate you some money per semester. It’s rarely enough. Contact other local organizations to see if they would like to run a fundraising event with you. Bake sales are a classic fundraising technique, and cards or care packages on holidays are usually a crowd favorite. Everyone loves clever t-shirts, so quidditch shirt sales are generally a success. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas! Raffles and auctions take more preparation, but can reap high rewards.



Once you’ve gathered the courage to decide that your team is here to stay, it’s time to plan for the future. You can’t do everything yourself ! Put together an executive board to help run the club. You can structure the board based on your team’s individual needs, but usually teams will have at least a president, a vice president, a treasurer, and a secretary. As your organization expands, you might want to create more specialized positions, such as a communications or social chair. Decide how long each term will be, and how new members will be elected. Establish a constitution by which your group will abide.


HOST YOUR FIRST EVENT! The best way to gather respect and support in your community is to host an event. Start small to begin with, and invite one nearby team to play an exhibition match. Plan the event at least a month in advance, so you can request permission to use the event site and so that you can promote it appropriately. Contact local news stations or the school paper to see if they would like to cover the event. Don’t charge tickets; you just want to garner support. Do feel free to sell some of your t-shirts and baked goods, though! KEEP RECRUITING.


Never stop looking for new ways to promote your team and entice new members to join. If you’re a school group, host a table at all the club fairs, and ask to play demo matches at halftime of school sporting events. Give press interviews as often as possible, and invite friends remain up to date on the team’s activities via a Facebook page or personal website. When you’re ready to apply to become an IQA official team, email Official member teams have quite a few more resources at their disposal and qualify for a number of benefits. ■

IQA MEMBERSHIP PLANS North America Basic: This basic membership is perfect for the newer, smaller, or more casual quidditch team. You’ll receive priority IQA staff support and priority invitations to tournaments and events like QuidCon, as well as be internationally ranked using the IQA’s one-of-a-kind quidditch ranking algorithm. IQA legitimization can go far to encourage acceptance in your school or community. North America Tournament: This tournament level membership is best for teams that plan on attempting to qualify for a place in the World Cup. It offers all the benefits of the basic plan plus free entry into your regional tournament. Basic level teams can still attend regional tournaments, but the cost will be roughly $35 each per player. North America High School: This youth membership applies to high school teams or community teams of which the majority of members are under 18 years of age. Most of the basic plan benefits apply to high school teams; a separate ranking for only youth teams is also included. High school teams will have the opportunity to attend a High School World Cup hosted by a college team on campus, with details to be announced in the future. Australia Basic: The Australian Quidditch Association, a subsidiary of the IQA, is offering a unique, dual-membership opportunity to Australian quidditch teams. By registering with the AQA, teams will also become IQA Official Members. The AQA will provide the on-the-ground support that the IQA is unable to offer to many global teams. Australia Tournament: Similar to the structure of the North America Basic and Tournament plans, the Australia tournament level membership offers member teams free access to the QUAFL regional tournament. Global: The Global plan offers teams around the world the opportunity to access IQA staff logistical, PR, and emotional support. Global teams receive most of the benefits of a Tournament level plan, except that there is less likely to be a nearby regional tournament and it is more difficult to the IQA to grant on-the-grand support until there is more widespread knowledge of the sport of quidditch in each country.


Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012 25

FALL MUST-HAVES It’s that time of year again: time to clear out broken brooms, droopy hoops, and punctured bludgers, and use those team dues or appropriations funds for new stuff for a new season. BY ALICIA RADFORD

the basics BROOMS One of the most important parts of the game. There are many broom options for teams today, from hardware store lobby brooms (far left, from $5 each) to PVC pipe lengths with caps on each end (right, from $0.87 each), to Alivan’s brooms for the established team (left, Shadow Chaser, from $20 each for IQA official teams).

PRACTICE CONES Mark out the field in practice cones to save on the time and expense of painting your field (if you’re allowed to paint at all!), or use these soccer cones to set up drills. From $14.99 for 30 on

great upgrades

PRACTICE PINNIES Pinnies are perfect for differentiating scrimmage teams and can be used in a pinch for games. From $3.95 each at FOX 40 WHISTLE All of your referees should be using a Fox 40 whistle, the whistle recommended by the IQA Referee Development Team. From $4.95.

KRALL HOOPS Upgrade your hoops to this sturdy design by Alex Krall. These were the exclusive hoops used at World Cup V. For a construction guide and price estimate, see the IQA Handbook.

QUIYK SNITCH GEAR Upgrade to Quiyk snitch gear for a matching shirt, pair of shorts, and snitch sock, with the IQA logo embroidered on the front of the shirt. $76 for the complete set at

BROOM CARRYING CASE Looking for a better way to carry your team’s sets of brooms from practice to storage, or even as checked luggage? Try a golf club travel case. They’re sturdy and roll on wheels, with general dimensions of 50"x13"x13". From $49.95 on eBay. 26

Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012

AGILITY LADDER Take practice drills to a new level with an agility ladder, used by soccer and football teams to improve footwork and agility. From $22.99 on


Sure, must-haves are nice, but how will you pay for them? Here are ten fundraising ideas. COMPILED BY ALEX CLARK


Spread the word that your team will host quidditch at birthday parties or other kids’ events. These can run for two or three hours and would consist of your team bringing their equipment to the birthday kid’s house or other field and running a few games. Kidditch can be run effectively with as few as four or five adult players (one head ref/organizer, one “coach” for each team, and one snitch) and is a great way to raise money. Your team can charge per event, or even just say that you accept donations to the team, and you can get paid pretty handsomely!

concessions This can be a day of fun for your team while earning donations at the same time! Contact your local sports teams, especially at the high school and college level, and get on their list of concession stand volunteers. You typically have to sign up far in advance because this is a popular fundraiser. Bring your team members and assign everyone to different tasks such as grilling burgers, making soft pretzels, handing out drinks, and being cashiers. After the event, your team will receive a certain percentage of the day’s total.

quid-gram A quid-gram is candy bar or gift bag of candy with a note attached that you can sell around campus. When students buy the quid-grams, they write a note to the person for whom they’re buying it and the quid-gram is then delivered to that person during a designated time.

drink sales Set up and sell drinks to players after practices and during tournaments.

garage sale Once a year, have a giant garage sale in which people clean out their apartments and houses. Do this close to a main street so people can see you selling. Whatever you don’t sell, donate to the Salvation Army or Goodwill.

rake leaves Go door to door and ask to rake leaves during the fall for a small donation to your organization. This can be very profitable for some groups who have made $750$1,000 per year.

clean up Let the community know that your team is willing to clean for a donation.

calendars For a region-wide fundraiser, teams or players pay $5 to submit a player to be in the calendar. The calendar is then sold around the region. For a specific team fundraiser, organize a photo shoot for the calendar, then sell to parents/fans/teammates.

service auction Auction team members off to members of the community to perform various services to the bidders such as cleaning their room, apartment, bathroom, cooking dinner, or other random tasks. Make sure tasks performed are reasonable and not demeaning.

Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012 27


H C T I D D I U Q ON Whether you live in a dorm room, apartment, house, or your parents’ basement, decorate it with style—quidditch style. Check out these two quidditch rooms for inspiration.

ALICIA RADFORD'S ROOM The COO of the IQA decorates her room with her Sienna Storm, conveniently held up by Ikea shelving ($21.99) near the ceiling housing her books. A collection of quidditch posters hang in 12''x18'' frames (from $8.11 each at

CLARE HUTCHINSON'S ROOM This University of Ottawa beater adorns her dresser with Harry Potter and uOttawa quidditch posters, her handy QuidCon 2012 waterbottle, signature cap, cleats, and quidditch duds: from her team jersey to her World Cup V and Utah Crimson Fliers t-shirts.


For those of you who have succeeded in forming your own quidditch team, especially in college or high school, you’ve probably realized that it would have been impossible without the support of team parents. Donations of time, equipment and vehicles, as well as both moral and financial support, are more necessary than you might think when it comes to getting this ridiculous sport off the ground. These past few weeks, I was lucky enough to discuss the sport with some of our better-known quidkid parents—and yes, I am including my own in this categorization. Who else can boast four quidditch athletes in one family? When asked to describe quidditch, our parents were surprisingly sensitive to the combination of competition and whimsy that makes quidditch the unique sport it is today, and will hopefully remain in the future. “Quidditch is a multidimensional sport combining athletics, theatrics, literature, art, humor, and bloodcurdling competitive drive,” explained Charlotte Glasser, mother of IQA commissioner Alex Benepe. Most parents also had a surprisingly good idea about what quidditch entailed as a game, and what their child’s role in the organization was. “Well, [Alicia] has a long title, but as [her] 12-year-old brother Billy describes it, ‘she is number two in charge,’” shared Bill Radford, father of IQA COO Alicia Radford. “Alex runs the organization, with the help of many fantastic college students and 20-somethings—the best generation I know of,” Glasser said (and I agree; we are the best generation!). I’m not sure the ‘rents’ descriptions 30

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would have been quite so accurate when they first heard of quidditch, as much fun as they thought it was. Debbie Domas, mother of IQA directors and board members Aimee and Kristen Howarth, described her first Texan match as “fun, a bit confusing, and very physical.” “I was surprised at the amount of athleticism and competitiveness involved; I loved it except when my daughter was thrown to the ground over and over by the snitch,” Karen Stack, mother of IQA director and WCOT member Katie Stack (me!), agreed. Stack’s three other children, Caroline, Brendan, and Ian, are all players and at times executive board members with the Boston University quidditch team. Brenda Meyers, mother of World Cup VI Tournament Director Hannah Lindgren, found the game magical, but also a bit confusing at first. “I have to admit, I got chills at the start of the game. It was a chilly autumn morning, a little fall morning mist in the air. Everyone got into position. Heads down. It was completely silent. And then

this skinny guy in a yellow outfit started doing things to the balls on the field and I thought ‘What in the world?!’” Parents’ friends, however, are sometimes a different story. “When my children first started [quidditch], my friends chuckled when we talked about it,” Stack said. Jim Lindgren, father of Hannah, said that his friends always seem “somewhat puzzled” at first. Janemarie Clark, mother of WCVI Logistics Director and creator of the infamous “clarkstat” Alex Clark, has friends with mixed emotions regarding his involvement. Most friends are Harry Potter fans, she explained, so they are supportive of the family’s involvement. “Other friends comment to us that Alex is obsessed,” she added. Domas’ friends recognize the organizational and interpersonal skills being involved in such a burgeoning international organization offers her daughters.

PARENTS have a variety of relationships with their quidkids and the quid-


ditch world. Some are located nearby and are pleased (we like to think) to shuttle equipment back and forth and provide last-minute pizza deliveries. Others do what they can by fronting money for hundreds of t-shirts, while still others listen to hours of real world complaints and tirelessly forward emails about the new issue of Quidditch Quarterly. I know first-hand that Stack saved the day by purchasing last minute capemaking materials (back in the day when capes were required to play in WCII), as well as shuttling equipment and humans all over the state of Massachusetts. Meyers has delivered pizza and lent tents and camp chairs, as well as provided the first brooms for the Ball State University quidditch team, which her daughter founded. Lindgren even assumed the role of goal referee at a tournament. He and his wife call themselves “quidditch groupies.” Laura Leinhard, a self-described “quidditch mom,” is the mother of Allison Gillette, Gameplay Director for WCVI and beater for Team USA at the recent exhibition games in London. Leinhard has volunteered at many quidditch games with food and drink donations, and is a big supporter of the IQA through the

purchase of shirts, stickers and jerseys. Their efforts have been worth it, they believe. Each parent cherishes something different about quidditch. Radford loves the sense of humor involved. “Quidditch has an offbeat flair. Also I think the athletes are underrated. Try running with a broom and throwing and catching a ball while crashing into your opponents!” he said. Stack loves the speed of the game, as well as the disbelief and joy spectators experience at their first viewing. Meyers loves the “enthusiasm, passion and support” she sees from IQA management as well as lowerlevel volunteers, and Clark appreciates “the powerful friendships formed.” “I love the hysterically funny comments that are broadcast throughout the match. I try to stand as close to those guys as I can so I don’t miss any of the jokes and allusions,” Glasser said.

THE MANY, many aspects of quid-

ditch result in a different appeal for each of their children, the parents believe. “I think the entrepreneurial spirit and the cross-collaborative engagement of it all excited [Hannah],” Meyers professed.

“Alex is athletic, competitive, loves to make new friends and travel…The IQA offers all this and more!” Clark said. Radford claimed that quidditch is a “creative outlet for Alicia’s boundless energy,” while Glasser very poetically summarized and said “today’s college students are surrounded by gloom and doom. Quidditch is a light in the dark.” And the parents, as always, believe the most and the best of us. They all, resoundingly, said they see quidditch continuing to grow and expand; they have faith that quidditch will fly far. Stack and Radford see the sport expanding through kidditch, and Meyers, while confident, surveyed the future a little more critically. “The biggest challenge will be this fine line between creating a manageable structure and not suppressing the independent spirit that lies at the heart of quidditch,” she said. “Quidditch is one aspect of Allison’s life that has truly molded her into the young woman she is today,” Leinhard said. Only she put it into words, but I’m pretty sure all the parents would say the same, if asked. And I think I speak for quidkids worldwide when I say, “Thanks, parents! We couldn’t have done it without you!” n

Katie Stack is a Boston University graduate with a love for traveling and sandy beaches and all things magical.

Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012 31


But what if you’re not back in school this fall? Aside from being kicked out of your house for blowing up your aunt, nothing quite instills a feeling of homelessness like graduating from college. And whether you move back home, ship across the country, or go traveling, chances are you’ll start to feel a desire for quidditch. But having left your school’s team, where do you turn? As it turns out, there are lots of opportunities to stay involved, or become even more so, in quidditch after graduation. It may not be as straightforward as grabbing a broom and heading to the quad, but as the first generation of quidditch postgrads will tell you, it can often be almost as easy!

COMMUNITY TEAMS Of course, your playing career doesn’t have to end with your graduation. With community teams established across the world, and more springing up every season, it’s not hard to find a group of likeminded athletes in almost any major U.S. or Australian city. The social aspect of quidditch is as big a part of community teams as it is in college, which is particularly helpful for newcomers to a city looking to find their footing. “[Community teams] can serve very well as a primary social group for people,” says Kevin Oelze, co-captain of the Silicon Valley Skrewts. Of course, players needn’t worry about the athletic aspect of such teams, either. “It does a really good job of keeping you healthy and fit,” says Oelze. Even if there’s not an established community team yet in your city, you can try working with other graduates to get one started, as did Melanie Kohut, formerly of the University of Maryland. New 32

teams have their own benefits, too. “I have really enjoyed the fact that, since the team is so new, I have gotten to try out some of the other positions,” says Kohut. “Previously, I only played beater, but during our scrimmages, I was able to try out chasing and even keeping as well.” Though community players are often older, they’re just as formidable on the pitch, with community teams Utah Crimson Fliers and Ives Pond Quidditch Club finishing in the top 20 of last season’s rankings. For players looking to avoid getting rusty, or even to take their game to the next level, joining a community team can be the logical solution. This talent is poised to develop even further, opines Oelze, as more and more college players who made quidditch a career-long activity decide to pursue it as a pastime in the “real” world. “At some point, assuming that people keep interest after graduation, the community teams are going to become the best teams. They won’t be limited to the smaller pool of collegiate athletes, but instead anyone around, [including] graduated players who may be the best at that point.” As community teams continue to develop in size and skill, they’ll become premier destinations for college players in search of continued competition. And with community teams allowed to

Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012

qualify for the World Cup, players may even get to step on the pitch to face their old college teams in a showdown for the ages. Whatever the result, joining a community team is certainly a no-brainer for players looking to stay involved!


But undergrads who decide to continue their education can also look closer to home (or dorm) for another solution. Many college teams are open to both undergrads and graduate students, meaning that players who stay in school have a great chance to pursue a snitch as well as a Ph.D. “I only got to play a year and a half [as an undergrad at] Hopkins,” notes Matt Panico, who played for the JHU Hallows during his undergraduate career. “Like hell was I going to let that be the end of my quidditch career.” Though the presence of a team on campus was not the highest criteria on Panico’s list of potential schools, the odds worked in his favor. “All of the grad schools I applied to had teams,” he notes, “with the exception of Brown, which had Emma Watson.” Ultimately, Panico chose to study Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, forsaking certain Harry Potter actresses but gaining the fellowship of some of the top players in the country.


Clearly, players who return to school could do worse than to seek out their new university’s team—and undergrads should also keep in mind that grad students often make up a very talented recruiting pool.

JOIN THE IQA Depending on their post-school plans, graduates may notice that they suddenly have an abundance of time on their hands—and free from the rigors of lab reports, term papers and final exams, what better way to spend this time than by joining the very organization that makes quidditch possible? Such was the question that Northeast Regional Director and Convention Representative Kristina Moy asked herself when she graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2010. Volunteering in college as Massachusetts State Representative, Moy quickly realized her passion for getting others involved in quiddich. “It definitely helped me to get to know teams and their players better,” she says, “not just as quidditch players but as people and friends. And because I was helping other teams as well as my own at the time, I thought, ‘this is great. This is what I want to keep doing.’” Volunteering in the IQA isn’t just for

those jobless grads, either—though M o y admits that working full-time and managing one of the most active regions in the country can be a challenge, she says it remains extremely rewarding. Plus, quidditch can even be parlayed into a Muggle job, as in the case of both Moy and former Vassar College Broooer Michelle Cantos. In the latter case, it wasn’t even intentional. Cantos recounted how she had forgotten that she had included her experience with the Broooers on her resume, until her interviewer asked out of the blue how she and her quidditch team could fly. Since then, Cantos has said, she’s found that quidditch has been an excellent way to break the ice during interviews. So, got some extra time on your hands? Check the IQA website for a volunteer opening—not only will you stay involved with quidditch, but it will help you in the job hunt, too.

GO WATCH, GO PLAY Along with the lessening of time commitments for college grads may come diminishing obligations, at least for a time. Many players have taken advantage of that opportunity to travel more than they would otherwise, across their region or even to other parts of the country to

SILICON VALLEY SKREWTS Mountainview, CA SiliconValleySkrewts LOST BOYS Lomita, CA LostBoysQuidditch HOLLYWOOD HARPIES Hollywood, CA HollywoodHarpies OC OBLIVIATORS Orange County, CA groups/ocobliviators/ CRIMSON FLIERS Salt Lake City, UT utahquidditch

Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012 33


DENVER DEMENTORS Denver, CO TheDenverDementors IVES POND QC Buffalo, NY buffaloquidditch ITHACA HEX Ithaca, NY ithaca.quidditch NY BADASSILISKS New York, NY NYBadassilisks

TOMS RIVER HYDRAS Toms River, NJ ethan.sturm HONEY BADGERS Philadelphia, PA


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watch games, or to play on mercenary teams. Though the IQA’s new membership plan prohibits individuals from playing on more than one official team in a season, unofficial merc teams are fair game. Players may take advantage of their newfound freedom to play in summer fantasy tournaments, or to travel to a semesterculminating tournament at a time when they had exams scheduled a semester earlier. Though money may be tight for many graduates, they can look to their friends on other teams for a ride, or even carpool with family or non-quidditch friends to see this game that they’ve been talking about for so long. With the freedom from a schedule that graduation at least temporarily provides, the sky’s the limit!

BE A COACH Player, volunteer, spectator—while departing college may afford graduates greater opportunities in these roles, they’re nevertheless positions that grads may have held in some capacity before. But graduates can also look to use their newfound credentials to give back to the community in a different way—by becoming a coach. Players with teaching degrees may have the easiest route here. Many high schools require faculty advisors for recognized clubs, and quidditch-enthusiast students

will no doubt be thrilled to find a sympathetic adult among their ranks. However, all graduates should have varied opportunities to dip their toes into the coaching waters, either by asking about starting a kidditch league at a local community center, or returning to their own high school to coach, or even staying on to act as an advisor to their old university team. For players who have honed their skills over years of college, coaching may be the best way to stay involved while passing on their skills to the next generation.

GRAD YOU COULD MAKE IT Truthfully, quidditch is not the most lucrative sport, and college grads (and their parents) will have other things on their mind besides just staying involved with quidditch. But see what you have time for! Join a pickup game here, do some volunteer work there, and soon you may find that your positions as State Rep and president of your new community team are just what you need to get your foot in the door for that fancy real-world job. Though it may seem tough to deal with departure from your team, there’s always a way to remain involved in quidditch. Join a community team, help out the IQA, or coach a high school, or all three. But you can keep your fancy new bachelor’s degree off the pitch—the sport is already B.A. enough! n

 

Contact James Hyder SOUTHERN SNIDGETS Sydney, NSW

NORTH QUEENSLAND QUIDDITCH ASSOCIATION Cairns, QLD NorthQueensland Quidditch MELBOURNE MANTICORES Melbourne, VIC groups/emily.vqa/



QWERTIANS QC Tijuana, Mexico groups/emily.vqa/


 




Logan Anbinder currently serves as the IQA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, as well as one of its convention representatives. He’s also President Emeritus of the University of Maryland Flying Wizard Turtles, and enjoys sprinkling Harry Potter references throughout his writing as Fred does Bulbadox Powder through Kenneth Towler's pajamas.

Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012 35

     A Quidditch Origin Story:

The Montvale Monstars BY DAN HANSON


t’s early fall of 2009, in the pitch darkness at Villanova University. Armed with hoops made out of buckets and mixed concrete, twenty students were ready to play quidditch for the first time in their lives.


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Do you remember that feeling? Where you were? How unfamiliar it sounded when you heard the basic rules for the first time? What it felt like when you were waiting on one knee with your eyes closed before “Brooms up?” Back in Villanova, the kids already had one problem: they didn’t have any brooms. So they went out into the nearby woods, grabbed some sticks from the ground and ripped some branches off trees, and the rest is history. “This is the f****** coolest thing I’ve ever done,” said Zach D’Amico to Team USA, on the pitch in Oxford just before the gold medal match between Team USA and France. He was talking about the first time he ever played quidditch, after looking on the ground for the first broomstick he’d ever play on, in the woods at Villanova. Less than three years later, he’d deliver that pregame speech. Somebody else in the Team USA huddle played with Zach for the first time that night in Villanova: seeker Billy Greco. Billy ended up catching three snitches in the IQA Summer Games tournament, and is possibly the most famous seeker in the country. He’s a figurehead of Villanova’s team, and an outspoken figure on the web. Back in the Team USA huddle, next to Billy stands chaser Michael “Yada” Parada. The two were hard to keep very far from each other during the team’s time in England. Yada and Billy grew up together in Montvale, New Jersey. Yada also went to school in Pennsylvania, but

a little further away than Billy, at Penn State University. Yada was one of the first-ever players to be featured in quidditch media, named among four players on SnitchCenter’s “Players to Watch in World Cup V.” The quidditch community certainly continued to watch him, as he went on to be named as a Team USA starter. “Spencer is too modest. Spencer Gold for Team USA!” says Billy. Spencer Gold is a captain of University of Southern California, and you guessed it—he too hails from Montvale, New Jersey. Spencer was not named to Team USA, but that’s not to say he doesn’t have the ability. He primarily plays beater, and was an integral part of USC’s Western Cup championship in March. Three guys from Montvale are now three major quidditch leaders from coast to coast. How did they first hear about quidditch? A much less well-known name in the lore of our sport: Jeremy Sender. Jeremy started playing chaser for Emerson College quidditch in the fall of 2009. With his speed and game smarts, he quickly became one of their biggest offensive threats and helped lead ECQ to a finals appearance in World Cup III, where they lost to (do I even need to say it?) Middlebury. Jeremy faded from the quidditch scene due to the demands of Emerson’s film program, but he created quite the legacy for himself. Billy was immediately sold on the idea of quidditch. He saw that Villanova’s

Harry Potter Club was trying to make a team, and he describes his reaction as “OH HELL YEAH.” Spencer and Yada took a little more work. Spencer didn’t have the means to start a team three thousand miles from home, but all it took was a USC Quidditch Facebook group to pop up the summer after his freshman year, and he was ready to go all out. As for Yada, “Billy started badgering me everyday of our summer break after freshman year about playing.” So how did they pass their time in New Jersey before quidditch brought them all closer together? Their descriptions were strikingly similar. Spencer said, “We usually sat in Billy’s house playing video games or watching TV.” Billy added, “And make fun of Yada.” “Montvale is a pretty typical suburb,” Spencer went on to say, “so there’s not a whole lot to do. Because of that we sometimes had to get creative. One time one of our friends came up with the idea of duct taping boogie boards to the bottom of an inflatable pool and sailing it in a local pond. Surprisingly, the maiden voyage of the S.S. No Girls Allowed was successful. So on nice days we liked to go boating in the goose poop filled, algae covered pond.” With a group of guys in a quiet town who are good at creating adventures, quidditch was the perfect addition. Jeremy and Billy were hooked on quidditch from playing their freshman year. “We basically decided we needed to bring this to Montvale stat,” said Billy. Jeremy

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went into action: “I taught Spencer how to play…I literally did workshops with him because he didn’t know how to play.” Proud Papa Jeremy had profound words about his newly-discovered talent: “He was okay when he started.” The Montvale Monstars were born. Jeremy and Spencer built a set of hoops out of PVC, and then they just needed players. “Spencer was down to play and Yada HATED the idea,” said Billy, “Yada said he would never play this stupid nerd sport.” Spencer elaborated, “Yada was pretty resistant because it sounds so nerdy. But once he realized that it does actually take some athleticism, he saw it as another way to prove that he’s better than everyone and got into it like the rest of us.” Yada sounded like a kid whose parents were making him do chores, but now he says, “If it wasn't for Billy and Jeremy getting me into quidditch, I highly doubt I would be playing it. Now that I am, I do love it.” Chalk up one more game that Billy got Yada hooked on, as quidditch quickly passed World of Warcraft on Yada’s list of habits inherited from Billy

(what were you calling nerdy, Yada?). And Yada’s career started off illustriously: “The second game, I was last pick and I was told I had to play beater only. So I’m pissed that I’m on the bench and last pick, and the moment I come in I run around the side and destroy Spencer. I thought he saw me, but he didn’t, so it

The following summer, they kicked it up a notch. They played in the Deathly Hallows Expo Tournament at the World Cup IV site, Dewitt-Clinton Park in New York City. You may remember the tournament from the player interviews shown on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (it’s pretty good stuff—search the web for the July 18, 2011 episode). Billy proudly described the tournament as his favorite memory with the Monstars. “We made makeshift jerseys the day before—yellow to piss people off (we did it first, Emerson!). We showed up with a CD player with 15 different remixes of Come on and Slam [the Space Jam theme song] and blasted that shit.” Spencer added, “Whenever our chasers scored they’d shout SPACE KABOOM! It was pretty obnoxious but we pride ourselves on being those guys…but what really made it fun was all of us getting to play on the same team for once.” Oh yeah, and the Monstars ended up taking first place. Spencer, who goes to school across the country from everyone else, was particularly happy for the chance to play with

“I’m pretty glad I haven’t had to play against Billy or Yada in a real game. I respect the hell out of both of them and their teams. They’re all-stars and facing them would not only be challenging, but heartbreaking as well. One of us would have to lose.”

Spencer Gold, USC


Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012

could have been a complete blindside. So, I was basically ejected and went home.” But the first summer started slowly. “We barely ever had enough people to play a full game anyway, and the real fun came from just hanging out,” said Spencer, “At first it was just the three of us running drills and messing around, but we were able to get other people to join us eventually.”

everybody. And since he’s so far away, he’s never had to play against them. “I’m pretty glad I haven’t had to play against Billy or Yada in a real game. I respect the hell out of both of them and their teams. They’re all-stars and facing them would not only be challenging, but heartbreaking as well. One of us would have to lose.” After Billy and Yada’s head-to-head experience, Spencer was proven right in considering himself lucky. “Billy ended our first game in thirty seconds like a big jerk,” recounted Yada, “I was mad, but I still shook his hand and called him a bastard for ending it before anyone could even score.” In the second game, however, Penn State was able to defeat Villanova, in a characteristically controversial quidditch ending. Billy lamented about the

it’s only made their friendships as well as their quidditch ties stronger. Billy went on, “Getting Yada to play and Spencer to play definitely added to the experience. I don’t imagine I’d be NEARLY as involved as I am without the two of them in the sport. If I can’t talk about it with my friends, it just isn’t as fun. Also, getting in fights and debating Yada over quidditch always makes my day.” Spencer reflected a lot on what the Monstars meant to his quidditch career: “It let me get a full understanding of what quidditch was about before I started playing at school. USC’s team started out very small and we probably would have disbanded soon after we started due to a lack of activity and interest if I wasn’t there to reassure the team that once we

they are sure to play Spencer and USC often. Jeremy can continue to make fun of how seriously Spencer takes quidditch, like he did with a series of memes (check out the pictures on the left). Not to mention, he can always poke fun at Spencer that his Western Cup championship can be traced back to Jeremy teaching him the game. And as his friends and former protégés have gone on to win tournaments, gold medals and Snitchy features, Jeremy only has one thing to say: “Well, it is my time to shine.” Montvale is a great mix of the old and new aspects of quidditch, where a bunch of guys can come together both as friends and rivals, and be douchebags to each other and have it be a good thing. The Montvale Monstars may become

game, “I stormed off and pouted and wouldn’t shake Yada’s hand.” Yada described it more, uh…succinctly: “Billy was the biggest BABY.” Billy described another clash he had with Yada. “We once got in a fight over how athletic one of my teammates was as a barbeque. I told him to GTFO of my house, then we bro hugged it out a few minutes later.” But whenever you know anyone as long as these guys have known each other, it’s impossible to stay mad. The fights have been plentiful, but

had enough people to actually scrimmage, things would start getting much more fun.” It seems the Monstars’ golden age might already be over. As Jeremy, Billy, Yada and Spencer all head into their senior years, they mostly spent their summers at their apartments where they go to school. But while they all go their separate ways, they have quidditch to keep them together, at least for one more year. Jeremy has already been recruited to the Lost Boys when he moves out to Los Angeles, and

the most historic defunct team, and its legacy will go a long way for a long time. In Yada’s words, “Team USA was probably the best experience of my life, and I have Jeremy, Billy, and Spencer to thank for starting me onto the path that led to London.” A few World Cup contending teams along with scores of quidditch careers owe their continued existence to a handful of guys trying to keep things interesting during their summer break. Maybe New Jersey’s not so bad, after all. n

Dan Hanson went to Emerson College in Boston, where he played Keeper for two years. After graduating, he manifested his destiny by moving to Los Angeles, where he watches TV and co-founded the future Quidditch powerhouse team, the Lost Boys.

Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012 39

Kidditch 40 BY

Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012 KATIE STACK


today's children... O

ne second!” The little boy tugged his hand out of his mother’s grasp and ran over to the brooms lying still in the green turf. He stood next to the Harry Potter movie replica broom and positioned his hand above the handle before commanding, “Up!” His quiet voice rose, and he repeated the phrase insistently while motioning impatiently with his hand, “Up!” The on-looking college students knew exactly what he was doing. In the film adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s books, Hogwarts students are taught to fly by commanding their brooms in just that manner. The boy made a third attempt before sadly lowering his head, kicking the ground, and mumbling “It didn’t work.” His mother grabbed his hand once more and attempted to whisk him away, but one student stopped them, and brought the little boy back to the brooms. Welcome to the wonderful world of quidditch for kids, or, as it’s more commonly called in the quidditch world, “kidditch.” This kidditch story, unbe42

Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012

lievable as it is, is a common occurrence when today’s children discover the sport of quidditch and its excitingly real equipment. For those children who love Harry Potter and his magical adventures, playing the game of quidditch is the culmination of all that they’ve been dreaming. Although the lack of flight is disappointing, the rest of the sport is more fun than they could have imagined. And for the children unfamiliar with Hogwarts and Dumbledore, the opportunity to chase an adult dressed in gold, run around with a really neat looking broom, and dunk volleyballs into hula hoops is too special an opportunity to pass up. The IQA’s three tenets are creativity, community, and competition, and university level players do their best to still uphold these values while interacting with children. Quidditch is a sport different from most others. While it can be fast moving and physical, and certain hand eye coordination skills are necessary in order to excel, it also contains an element of

whimsy and goofiness. It’s toward this aspect that most children readily gravitate. “Kidditch events provide a great chance to get involved with kids in the community. Each of us on the quidditch team loves being able to play such a unique sport, and kidditch gives us the opportunity to spread our passion,” Becca Czaja, outreach coordinator for the Tufts University Tufflepuffs (Medford, Mass.), said. The sport of quidditch, with a variety of player positions, provides the opportunity for children to demonstrate their own particular skills. They could be great goalkeepers, fast sprinters, or more strategic thinkers. Quidditch has a place for all of them. “A student might not be a top scorer, but rather a sniper with a bludger or a fantastic runner to seek the snitch,” said Stephanie Jonker, outreach coordinator for Carleton University (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada). And quidditch isn’t just about the activity and physicality. Many kidditch

events combine gameplay with a readaloud activity, so that children can relate their real-life experiences to the quidditch many of them read about in the Harry Potter books. And even children who haven’t read Harry Potter before can appreciate the game in the books after playing it themselves. The Tufflepuffs explain that for many of them, Harry Potter was the first story that really inspired further reading; the thirst for more steered them on a path that lead them to their university today. “Kidditch is a chance to bring the sport we all love so much to the next generation. It’s a way to get kids excited both about the sport itself and sometimes even to get them reading more than they might otherwise,” Ethan Sturm, captain of the Toms River Hydras (New York, New York) agreed. Kidditch opportunities vary. The University of Maryland team often helps out at birthday parties; Boston University hosted a mini tournament during alumni weekend; and many other teams have

The sport of quidditch, with a variety of player positions, provides the opportunity for children to demonstrate their own particular skills. They could be great goalkeepers, fast sprinters, or more strategic thinkers. Quidditch has a place for all of them. created long-term relationships with different youth groups in their area. Individually, players have brought kidditch to their summer camps and elementary, middle, and even high schools. Depending on the age of the participants, kidditch hosts have found the need to alter equipment and gameplay rules to accommodate the different levels of physical and emotional maturity. “There are some basic rule changes for younger ages in the [IQA] Handbook.

The importance of these rules is to provide a non-tackle option and to reduce contact so that younger kids will be able to enjoy the sport safely,” Will Hack, former Rules Council President and current IQA Gameplay Director, said. Although the Rules Council doesn’t usually focus specifically on kidditch, it is important to keep in mind as the league moves forward, he added. Of course, the same rules used for preteens are not appropriate for five-year-

Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012 43

“We play in the gym where the Boys and Girls Club is based, and any noise resonates and it is very hard to set up a game and enforce rules during a match simply because the students cannot hear us.” olds, so kidditch hosts have learned to be flexible and to adapt to every situation. “No tackling” is agreed upon across the kidditch board, no matter the exact age group. The youngest age group can be difficult, organizers said, because the many complex rules can be out of the young children’s mental grasp. Sometimes children are too small to run while carrying a broom, said Max Havlin, a Boston University quidditch captain who plays the game weekly with a summer camp. Most agree older elementary school children are fun to teach too, although they can get bored easily so it is important to rapidly switch activities and to make sure that everyone is involved. Teenagers and preteens thrive in the atmosphere of a competitive game, so for even older groups it is more important to keep score and to have a referee call rule violations. Kidditch organizers have at times been thwarted by obstacles other than age appropriate rules. There is a decided lack of age appropriate equipment as well, and a lack of funds to buy such equipment if it can be found. As Havlin observed, many small children have trouble running with the brooms used by college students. His solution is to play without brooms, while Jonker has adapted a soccer-style game so that children can use both hands to hold the broom. Still others have children use pool noodles as lightweight and safe kidfriendly vehicles. Appropriate play space 44

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is also often inaccessible when traveling to meet children onsite. “We play in the gym where the Boys and Girls Club is based, and any noise resonates and it is very hard to set up a game and enforce rules during a match simply because the students cannot hear us,” Howie Levine, captain of the Tufts University Tufflepuffs, said. Kidditch organizers, Levine continued, have had to think creatively in order to adapt the game of quidditch to younger ages, different equipment, and these less than ideal venues. Parents are also always a concern when dealing with children, and because most quidditch players are university students, dealing with nervous and at times overprotective adults can be stressful. “Usually the parents know more or less what the kids are getting into. You can send the parents a link to a video of a college game so they get the gist, but say kidditch is zero contact. And tell that to the kids, too!” Logan Anbinder, University of Maryland captain and IQA MidAtlantic Regional Director, said. Communication is important when making plans with the parents. Inform them of the rules, and allow them to remain near the field to watch, he suggested. A general lack of awareness of the sport of quidditch is another oft-seen obstacle. The United States has the greatest

density of quidditch teams, so it makes sense that kidditch programs have begun popping up throughout America. Recently, though, international teams have begun to take control of kids’ quidditch in their own countries, often times in communities unfamiliar with the Harry Potter books. “Even though quidditch is gaining popularity in Canada and around the world, it remains less well known than it is in the US. As such, teachers and community groups are less likely to be familiar with the sport and so it may be more difficult to get them on board,” Andrea Hill, IQA International Regional Director, said. Both Carleton University and the University of Ottawa (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) teams have been involved in kidditch events, though, and Jonker has been teaching quidditch in both English and French schools in the city of Ottawa. “I do present in both English and French, and the great thing about ideas is that language doesn’t matter,” she explained. Laurie Rabin, a “kidditch coordinator” with the IQA, and the rest of her Youth Quidditch Development Team are working hard to ensure that kidditch continues to exist not just in the US and Canada, but globally. The team, who refer to themselves as “Babies/Youngins on Brooms (BYOB),” is one of the many

teams involved with the IQA Development Department, all of which focus on different aspects of IQA development and outreach. All the teams, Rabin said, are very closely related and mutually beneficial, and so most projects are interwoven. Supporting literacy without integrating kidditch, or kidditch without literacy, would not be a worthwhile endeavor. “Also,” she added, “we’re all pretty bad ass-ymptote (we’re a department for the kiddies, gotta stay G-rated!), and so we function together quite nicely.” So far the IQA has attempted to spread kidditch by supporting the individual efforts of teams and players. Bigger plans are in store for the coming year, though. The IQA hopes to expand kidditch with team incentives and direct partnerships with established afterschool programs. The “BYOB” team has paired with the IQA Membership Services Department in order to release a new mentor program for member teams. “Kidditch and Membership are directly related. Kidditch activities in the community spread the word about quidditch, leading to increased college/adult member involvement and team formation: increased membership. The mentor program helps established teams support the growth and development of new teams,” Carly Kestler, IQA Membership Coordinator, said. The new IQA membership plan for the 2012-2013 academic year also contains an outreach requirement for all IQA member teams. Each team, in order to remain in good league standing, is required to participate in one activity that benefits their community. Kidditch is one of the activities that can be used to satisfy this requirement. The Tufts team hopes the IQA will soon also produce a detailed guide on how to host successful kidditch events. The document would ideally include tips on how to connect with a local partner, how to recruit volunteers, and how to run an actual game. College students are notoriously busy and stressed, but if the IQA can make kidditch as easy for them as possible, the experience will prove worth their time. One of the reasons quidditch resonates with teachers and adults across the globe is because quidditch as a sport is important for children for the same reasons

it’s important for young adults. Quidditch teaches everyone to lead active and healthy lifestyles, and the lessons of gender equality promoted by the Title 9 ¾ project are just as valuable, if not more so, at a young age. “Today there is a big movement towards technological learning, so [children] spend a lot of time in front of a screen and I want to reinforce the love of physical activity,” said Jonker, a future teacher. In this age of cheap fast food and entertaining television and video games, encouraging physical activity and healthy movement is more important than ever. Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the last three decades, according to the US Center for Disease Control. Obesity (defined by the CDC as “having excess body fat”) occurs when the amount of calories consumed is greater than the amount expended. “I’m not saying that we can fix the problem [of childhood obesity] by throwing some kids on the quidditch pitch, but because of the nature, origin, and spirit of the sport, and because of how the players of today represent themselves, we have the opportunity to really inspire otherwise uninterested kids to get active,” Rabin explained. For this reason, kidditch offers an opportunity for possible non-athletes to engage in physical activity with their peers. The CDC recommends at least 60 minutes or more of daily physical activity for children, and many of the university level quidditch teams and players have established partnerships with the aforementioned summer camps and schools in order to make quidditch a more consistent part of children’s lives. This past spring, an enterprising British gym teacher introduced quidditch into her curriculum at Ormiston Park Academy in Thurrock, Essex. The Telegraph, a newspaper based in the United Kingdom, reported on her efforts in May. The article reported that girls’ attendance at gym classes had fallen to only 25 percent as of September 2010. Since the introduction of quidditch, however, the school has been pleased to see every single girl present at gym class. One of the students interviewed expressed how much she had hated gym class before due to what she saw as her lack of athletic

Common kidditch rule alterations • No tackling. • Can shoot inside keeper area. • No headshots with bludgers. • No immunity rule (“safe passage” rule) with bludgers (ref can take control if necessary). • Adult snitch hides, or child snitch remains with a large seeker floor. • Three pass rule for chasers (so one child doesn’t monopolize the game). • If there are many children present, increase the number of players on the field so that more children are included.

Top kidditch tips • Spray paint the kidditch brooms to distinguish positions; it’s simpler and less confusing than the headbands. • If kids don’t want to play, include them as scorekeeper or goal referee. • Start the session with a very brief demo game. • Have the seeker act as chaser until the snitch returns or the seeker floor is over so the child doesn’t get bored. • Don’t keep score unless the kids are older and really want a more competitive atmosphere. • Refer to the game as “quidditch” when speaking to the children, not “kidditch.” • Create a consistent and stable partnership with one group in order to facilitate more regular events and relationships. • Emphasize safety and sportsmanship. Shake hands at the end of every game. • Don’t discuss strategy! Let the kids figure that out for themselves. • Talk about Harry Potter with those who love it, but don’t make it the focus of the experience.

Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012 45

ability. Quidditch, however, was something fun and quirky in which, with its many roles, everyone could participate. The teacher explained that most girls seemed to lose their interest in sports by Year 10 or 11 and replace it with makeup and boys; quidditch caught their attention in a way that other sports were unable to do. IQA staff have also read studies on this topic and used information to promote and spread the word about kidditch. “Recent studies by the Kaiser Foundation and other organizations have found that 20% of formerly active adolescents cease participation in sports entirely between the ages of 13 and 16, and young people in similar age demographics use electronic entertainment at least seven hours per day,” the IQA reported in kidditch promotions released last year. Kidditch advocates across the globe were thus excited to hear about the English school’s success with kidditch; the school garnered greater interest in one of the demographics the IQA hoped would benefit most from the expansion of the sport. Youth involvement in organized sports has also been proven to enhance social and emotional development. Not as much study has been done on the effect on gender relations because not many youth sports are coed, but the IQA’s hope is that childhood involvement in quidditch can lead to greater understanding of gender relations in adulthood. “Because we as an overall group do not represent the stereotypical bunch of athletes, and because we are coed, we make something unattainable seem plausible,” Rabin said. Kidditch is not only beneficial for the children, but is essential for the future of the IQA, staff members and team captains have agreed. The success of sports at the high school and college level de-


Ormiston Park Academy in Thurrock, Essex...reported that girls’ attendance at gym classes had fallen to only 25 percent as of September 2010. Since the introduction of quidditch, however, the school has been pleased to see every single girl present at gym class...quidditch caught their attention in a way that other sports were unable to do.

pends on the strength of youth programs. Children need to develop their skills and become familiar with gameplay rules at a young age in order to compete at a higher level once they are older. “Quidditch needs to be available for kids because a lot of kids are no longer reading Harry Potter; these kids would have no clue what [the sport] is unless it is introduced to them at a young age,” Havlin pointed out. If the sport of quidditch is going to continue past the “Harry Potter generation” of current university-age students, the IQA needs to ensure that an interest will still exist in the future. The IQA should invest not only in its present form, but in its future players and facilitators, Rabin said. Almost all professional and collegiatelevel sports begin at the youth level; the involvement of children paves the way for a more talented and knowledgeable adult pool of players. At the very least, it fosters a large fan base, and the fan base is the reason these sports have the means to expand and develop. The Tufflepuffs hope to at least see more kidditch matches at the upcoming World Cup in April, to be held in Kis-

Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012

simmee, Florida. “At last year’s World Cup, there were many kids involved in informal kidditch matches, and they were incredibly excited when some of the players [commentated] and even joined the game,” Czaja said. She hopes that if IQA players can see the kids’ excitement, and the ease with which a few rules can be altered, they’ll be inspired to bring kidditch back to their own communities. The IQA has expanded rapidly in the seven years since the inception of muggle quidditch, and now the league—staff, captains, and players—think that kidditch holds the same potential. With plans in store for more official quidditch events for kids and league-wide encouragement for teams to get involved with their individual communities, kidditch will hopefully soon become a household word. “Young children love ‘flying’ around on their brooms. You can just see it in their eyes that in their minds, they are playing at the World Cup. So much laughing, smiling,’s awesome,” Jonker said. “Do it because it is a huge stress reliever and amazing experience to watch how much fun kids have.” ■

tomorrow's athletes Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012 45

LIFESTYLES Player profile: Cynthia Caceres BY LAURIE BECKOFF


hen I started the quidditch team at Townsend Harris High School in Flushing, New York, I was happy to see a number of students watching from the bleachers every week. One of these loyal fans was my classmate, Cynthia Caceres. We started talking about Harry Potter and quidditch, and I encouraged her to play with us. Having watched a number of practices, she saw quidditch for the intense sport it was, and was therefore reluctant to play, considering herself less than athletic. Still, she was enthusiastic, so I invited her to be a referee and she took the position. “When I was reading the rules manual, I was impressed and surprised that there were so many rules and guidelines in quidditch, and reaffirmed that quidditch is really a sport and thus should be taken seriously,” Caceres said. She quickly became one of the most dedicated members of the team, even while balancing quidditch with the photography club, Students for the Preservation of the Earth, and stage crew for school shows. After reading the rulebook, Caceres composed a seven-page mini guidebook of tips for the players. She followed the formalities at practices, asking if each team was ready, making sure that players had a knee on the ground, and allowing the snitch to get out of sight, even in the limited space in the gym, before calling, “Brooms up!” She had notes for players after practice and became the go-to person for rules disputes. Caceres faced an extra challenge in her involvement with quidditch: she was born deaf. She has a bilateral severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss, meaning that she cannot hear in either ear. Beginning at the age of two, Caceres wore hearing aids and used sign language, but in fourth grade, she lost hearing in her left ear completely, rendering a hear48

ing aid, which only increases the volume of sounds, useless. In April 2004, she received surgery to have a cochlear implant in her left ear. A cochlear implant uses an external component to transmit outside sounds to the ear and an internal component to carry those sounds through the auditory nerve to the brain, making it possible for Caceres to hear. In eighth grade, she lost hearing in her right ear as well. At this time, she was faced with the decision of whether she should receive another surgery, which would involve another period of recovery and relearning how to hear with her implant. She was unsure whether she should go through this process just before starting high school, but ultimately decided that she would have enough time to adapt. “I am grateful for the fact that my implants gave me my hearing back,” Caceres said, but she still struggles. “It can be quite difficult for me to interact with people in noisy environments and I often have to ask people to repeat what they said.” Sometimes lip-reading is not enough. This can be a problem in the classroom as well as on the pitch. With multiple people yelling as they run, Caceres sometimes has trouble understanding what is said to her. On and off the pitch, she has learned that she has to speak up to ask people to repeat themselves or speak more clearly, a difficult task for someone who considers herself shy. That shyness is not at all visible when she participates in quidditch. Caceres is far from afraid to call players out for breaking the rules, demand a time-out, or shout, “Beat!” Caceres had become comfortable as a referee when the Townsend Harris Howlers attended their first tournament, the Second Annual House Cup in Briarcliff. The team was determined to play, but one thing or another prevented a number of players from attending, leaving the team with only six players on the

Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012


day of the tournament. We knew that we would be hard-pressed to win anything without any substitutes, even if we managed to scrounge up seven players, but we just wanted the experience. Caceres decided, with some begging from the rest of the team, that it was time for her to get in the game. She grabbed a black headband and prepared to play beater. “I was very nervous to the point that I was nauseous and on the verge of hyperventilating,” she admitted. To further complicate matters, the battery in her left hearing device began giving the warning that it would die soon just as she arrived at the park in the morning. One battery tends to follow the other. Caceres turned her devices off between matches to conserve power. They managed to hold up for most of the playing time, with the left going out occasionally. We arranged for our keeper to tap Caceres when “Brooms up!” was called. Despite her compromised hearing and lack of athletic experience, Caceres managed to play beater well, hitting the fiercest and fastest chaser on the opposing team a number of times. Caceres has learned a lot from her experience. “Deaf people shouldn’t feel in any way that they are blockaded from participating in quidditch, regardless of the role they have,” she said. She gives

this advice to other deaf quidditch players: “Communication is key. If you don’t know how to resolve your issues on the pitch, you should still speak up so you can brainstorm with others and think of solutions.” She also recommends being particularly observant. She points out that the deaf “are more visually attuned than the hearing person as we rely on our vision to provide us the missing information that our ears cannot provide otherwise. Thus, we would be more aware and react quicker as the balls change hands between players as well as pick up on plays.” Deaf people have great potential as referees, in her opinion, since their function is to watch the players closely. Caceres is now a freshman at Fordham University at Lincoln Center. She is currently undecided, but interested in history. Her college does not have a team yet, but she would consider starting one in her sophomore year, after she has settled in. Of her high school involvement in quidditch, Caceres says “I’m glad I had this experience since it was so out of the ordinary. There were some challenges but the fun side of quidditch overcame that so much that they weren’t as big of an issue as they appeared in retrospective.” n Laurie Beckoff is a freshman at the University of Chicago. In high school she founded the Townsend Harris High School Howlers in Queens, New York. She has been an IQA volunteer since September 2010 and hopes to study English, political science, and theatre.

Player profile: Kody Marshall BY ERIC ANDRES


ody Marshall, a social work student at the University of Texas, has been playing quidditch for approximately two years. Starting his career as a beater, Kody has played chaser ever since he tried his hand at scoring while playing for the UT Slytherin team. Since then, Marshall’s presence around the league has grown as a prominent

player, strategist, and leader. I was lucky enough to get some great answers from Kody after some correspondence: QQ: What do you love about quidditch? Kody: I should start off by saying that I am, and have always been, a giant Harry Potter geek. I chatted on forums, dressed up for book/movie releases, and pulled all-night reading sessions when the new books were released. On the other side, I have always been very competitive and very involved in sports. I love that quidditch is a legitimate sport and I love that it has its underpinnings in my favorite book series. I love that I have had the opportunity to meet and befriend athletes from across the nation. I love that I have a real reason to train and practice hard. I love being on the pitch when my team gels and comes together; during those moments, I feel invincible. I love the bliss-filled ambiance after winning a tournament. I just love this SPORT and the athletes who play it! QQ: Tell us about your involvement with the genesis of fantasy quidditch. KM: Fantasy quidditch started off as a conversation on the City of Austin Quidditch Organization’s Facebook page, whose primary purpose was to create and facilitate weekly pick-up quidditch games. Doug Whiston (Kansas University) posed the idea that one weekend everyone should come to Austin for a fantasy draft. Several people expounded on the idea during that thread, particularly Jacob Adlis (UT) who thought up the idea for the online draft. Augustine Monroe (UT) and I took the idea and made it a reality. QQ: Dan Hanson, a member of the IQA referee development team and fellow QQ writer, said you mentioned that you would “will your team to victory” for the Southwest fantasy draft. How did that turn out, in your opinion? KM: Ah, Dan Hanson! First off, my fantasy team, the blue team, was stacked. The team was poised to win from the get-go, and that was courtesy of the blue team’s GM Beto Natera (Louisiana State). However, I can say that my “will” was completely focused on victory for the fantasy tournament, and that kind of


competitiveness can be contagious. QQ: What do you say to some people describing you as one of the "faces of quidditch?" KM: Every sport has stand-out individuals, and quidditch is no different. Take boxing for example: Muhammad Ali was/is one of the “faces” of boxing because of his great presence both in and out of the ring. It is my hope that I do the same and continue to do great things in quidditch both on and off the pitch. QQ: The Pitch [a bi-weekly quidditchcentric YouTube show] is a hit among a lot of people. What’s your experience been like producing that? What’s coming up in the future? KM: In my opinion, The Pitch is an integral and important staple for the quidditch community. It bridges regional gaps and tries to produce a quality news source for the sport. While it is definitely a ton of work and very time-consuming, I love The Pitch. In the near future, Sarah Holub, Jacob Adlis, Lauren Carter, and I want to do some big things to see The Pitch grow and take off. ■

Eric Andres is the captain and coach of the Northern Arizona University Narwhals. He has seen action on three different teams: representing the NAU Narwhals, the Utah Crimson Fliers at World Cup V, and the Western Region at the Champions Series in Boston. His passions are quidditch, writing, and teaching, three things he hopes to combine as he becomes a high school English teacher.

Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012 49


The QQ interview: Alivan's BY LAURIE BECKOFF


f you have ever played at the World Cup or another official IQA tournament, chances are you have played quidditch on a broomstick made by Alivan’s. The first place prize at the World Cup has included a full set of Alivan’s brooms. Alivan’s has also had a merchandise booth at past World Cups, stocked with brooms, wands, scarves, ties, and other Harry Potter merchandise. The broom pens have especially been a hit. Alivan’s is an official broom provider for the IQA. I talked to the man behind it all, Dave Wedzik. Laurie: Hi Dave! First off, could you tell me a little bit about yourself ? Dave: I would describe myself as an entrepreneur at heart. I have had the opportunity to experience a few different “startups” and I enjoy the challenge of building something from scratch, which is what we did in creating Alivan’s. Laurie: Where are you from? Dave: I am originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, though Alivan’s is based out of Panama City, Florida. Laurie: Why and how did you start Alivan’s? Dave: This is a fun story. My wife and I loved the Harry Potter books and couldn’t believe the plastic “junk” that was being manufactured and sold to the fans. 50

We were in a TJ Maxx one day and saw a hollow plastic wand sealed under plastic and said, “Why doesn’t someone make real wood wands out of the actual woods and package them properly?” Within a month after that we produced an initial line of five wands and built a website to sell them from. That was in 2001. I am happy to say that from a very modest start we have had a wonderful eleven years. Laurie: Why did you decide to make brooms? Dave: Brooms just seemed to be the next obvious place to expand the business. We saw some broomsticks that were okay out there but nothing that was being done properly so we decided to tackle it. We have some extremely talented broom-

Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012

stick makers and wandmakers and it is those people that make what we do possible. They are so authentic and capture the essence of the magic in all their designs. The expansion of our broomstick side into new models has been, in large part, due to the IQA driving the game of quidditch so incredibly well. Laurie: How did you first hear about the IQA, and why did you decide to get involved? Dave: I was contacted by Alex Benepe and he explained the sport and how they were playing it. I loved it and thought it was so great. I could just hear his passion for it. We started providing broomsticks right away and the relationship has only grown from there. We have so much en-

joyed our trips to the World Cup and just love working directly with the IQA on events as well as new designs. Laurie: Can you describe the process of making brooms? Dave: It is quite tedious really and takes quite a lot of strength. The broomsticks themselves are carved within a huge lathe and then finished to the proper colors. It is the tying part that is so difficult. Our broom makers start with over a pound of broomcorn and wrap it around the end and then pull tight over and over again while wrapping with wire. This is time-consuming and provides for plenty of sore arms. Once wrapped and tied by hand the broomcorn is trimmed to give it the perfect look. Laurie: What is your reaction, and how have you adjusted, to the sudden huge demand for brooms that has resulted from the popularity of quidditch? Dave: We have been continuously adjusting honestly. Our production has been increased and we are able to handle the needs of the colleges playing now. I was, and continue to be, amazed by the number of teams and the passion of the players. It is truly awesome to see the spectacle at a World Cup! Laurie: How have the designs of your

brooms changed since people started using them to play a sport? Dave: We have chosen wood types that are lighter and harder so as to limit the breakage. And then our newest version of the Competition Sweep has had some of the broomcorn removed to make it even lighter. We have just about finalized our brand new Convertible Competition Sweep and it will be available for sale later this summer. It has a broom head that can actually be removed and replaced by a streamlined end for practice. This way the broom heads themselves do not take a beating in practice and the players can still practice with a similar length and weight broomstick. Laurie: Do you have a personal favorite broom from your collection? Dave: It would really be hard for me to pick one, a bit like deciding which of your kids you love the most. They are all so authentically beautiful and each has its own allure. Laurie: What does your family think of Alivan’s and your involvement with quidditch? (We all loved your adorable son at the World Cup!) Dave: Oh, my family loves the fact that we are so involved with the sport and only wishes they could attend more events. My

sons are eleven and seven (it was my then nine and ten year old, Matthew, who was out on the field for the presentations at the last two World Cups) and they absolutely love the Harry Potter stories. They can’t wait to take over Alivan’s and run it someday. Laurie: What are your hopes and plans for Alivan’s in the future? Dave: That is my hope for the company—that we can continue to give these incredibly passionate fans what they want in magical products for a very long time to come. Laurie: Thanks so much for talking to me, Dave. Anything else you’d like to add? Dave: We have always enjoyed supporting the fan-driven websites, events, and organizations that have been so passionate over the past eleven years. Thanks to all the people out there who keep the magic alive by sharing so much of their own time and energy. We will continue to be there helping in any way we can! You can fulfill all your broomstick needs at Look out for the brand new Convertible Competition Sweep! ■

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SEASON JOIN THE IQA MENTORSHIP PROGRAM Official member teams who join are paired with a new, unofficial team in their area to teach them the ropes, help organize their first event, and build friendships. Official and unofficial teams can learn more and apply by emailing Katie Stack at


PLAYERS’ CORNER A look at the complex world of keeper strategy BY ALAN BLACK


any sports have some form of the keeper/goalie position, whether hockey, soccer, lacrosse, water polo, or a whole host of other sports. Having played the position in soccer, ice hockey, and water polo, I found that the strategy for the position remained fairly similar across the different sports. When I first started playing quidditch, I assumed that the same would hold true for keeper strategy in quidditch. While I have indeed become a keeper and now don the green headband for my team, I learned rather quickly that I had severely underestimated the strategy required to be able to be successful at the position. The keeper position in quidditch is quite unique and rather different from its counterparts in other sports, and as such, the strategy required to play the position can be complex and difficult to get a grasp of. Whereas in most other sports it is an extremely defense-oriented position that functions on its own and largely independent of the other positions, in quidditch the keeper is a major part of both the offense and the defense, and figures quite heavily into overall team strategy. Getting a grasp on good keeper strategy can be difficult. There isn’t a clear example from other sports to follow. The best way to develop a good keeper strategy is through experience, as well as learning from those who have become 52

Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012

successful at the position. In the interest of helping those trying to learn the position, I interviewed several successful keepers about their keeper strategies, and noticed some common themes from their responses, as well as from my own experience as a keeper. One of the most difficult things strategy-wise about the keeper position is knowing where to position yourself around the hoops. According to Kevin Oelze of the Silicon Valley Skrewts, “Understanding how to position your body to be most effective is probably the thing that took the most time for me to pick up. I had to learn how to optimally cut off passing lanes, ensure I wasn’t leaving hoops too wide open, and make sure I was pressuring players with the quaffle before they got too near the hoops.” As I looked back at pictures of me playing keeper in my very first tournament, I noticed that on defense I was in the same spot relative to my hoops in almost all of them, and that I was getting scored on in all of them. Staying one foot in front of the middle hoop at all times is not a very effective strategy. Indeed, one of the key tenets of successful keeper strategy is getting comfortable playing a little further away from your hoops. “The most frequent mistake I see keepers make is staying too far back in the keeper zone,” says Michigan State’s Tyler Rafferty. “Often when keepers play

back they allow chasers to get too close to the hoops, letting them attempt a higher percentage shot. The hoops are positioned too far from each other to guard all three effectively when playing back. Being so far back also makes it harder for keepers to cut off horizontal passes across the pitch. A solid keeper needs to be able to play out from the hoops to be able to help his/her chasers in defending.” Another important part of sound keeper strategy (depending on what kind of system your team runs) is becoming an active part of your team’s offense. Several of the keepers I interviewed for this article likened the keeper position on offense as being like the point guard position in basketball. A successful keeper on offense facilitates the play of their teammates, but is also able to take it in for the score themselves if they notice holes in the defense allowing them to do so. I have found that the keeper position is optimally suited for being the major decision-maker in a team’s offense. They have the whole pitch in front of them, and can see how opposing defenses set up. Says Maryland (and Team USA) keeper James Hicks, “I wish people realized that the keeper sees the entire field. It’s the only position that sees everything that’s going on. So if I don’t attempt a pass when you’re open, it’s because I see something in the opposition’s defense that would break our offense.” One thing that I struggled with when I


first started playing keeper was being vocal with my teammates. I was the newest member of the team, and had only discovered the existence of quidditch three weeks before our first tournament. I felt like I had no right to call out directions to my teammates. My reservations about being vocal wound up hurting my team, as we repeatedly made the same mistakes that I had been noticing all tournament long, but was too timid to tell my teammates about. Being vocal is pretty much a necessity for those playing keeper. Says Cal keeper Sylvia Bowditch, “I’m just super vocal. The nice thing about being a keeper is you can kind of hang back and see everything that’s going on, and you can alert your teammates to anything they might have missed from being in the middle of the action.” Due to being able to see the action going on in front of them, keepers need to be excellent team strategists as well. You need to be able to notice opposing schemes and patterns on both offense and defense, as well as be able to notice weaknesses in your own team’s strategy. Says Hicks, “Study it (your team’s strategy) to

the point where you know exactly where your teammates are going to be at any given time.” Those who choose to play the keeper position also need to understand that the position carries a burden of leadership with it. Regardless of your standing on the team, when you put on that green headband you are signing up to basically be one of the team’s on-pitch captains and leaders. With great vision of the pitch comes great responsibility. Jamie Lafrance, keeper for the University of Ottawa (as well as Team Canada), summed it up perfectly: “Basically the job of the keeper is to direct play; they are the one who has to think of what their teammates can and cannot do, they have to assign defensive tasks to beaters, they have to take on roles they think they can handle and they really need to be a coach out on the field…I have to say that basically people need to more or less have trust in their keeper. It’s very hard to blindly listen to someone barking orders at you but the keeper really does have the best view of an opposing attack because of the way they are positioned on the field.” n

Advice to keep "A good keeper knows how to read the other team's offense and make decisions based on it." —James Hicks "The first time I played I was under the impression I was just a fourth chaser who got a cool immunity zone, and while that is true at times, it is also nowhere near the extent of the keeper’s position." —Jamie Lafrance "More than anything else, over-communicate: make sure you're always talking to your teammates and making sure you know where they should be." —Kevin Oelze "Keepers who are used to playing close to the hoops may find it uncomfortable to play so far out. Playing too close to the goals will limit any player in their ability to keep." —Tyler Rafferty

Alan Black is a student in the German teaching program at BYU and plays keeper for the Utah Crimson Fliers. He also enjoys snitching, where his unique attire has earned him the nickname “midriff snitch.”

Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012 53

The Snitchhiker’s Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything An Existential Essay on Snitching



wish I could provide an interesting sports piece on bludging tactics, or perhaps give insight on who I think will win the next World Cup; I wish I could recap the high points of an incredible match with high definition photography or conduct an interview with the captain of a successful team from overseas. But you will find none of that here. I am instead striving to illustrate the delicate nature of one of the strangest and, in my opinion, one of the most mature positions in modern athletics. I do this not to illicit sympathy, nor do I do this to shock or offend. Rather, I merely wish to provide some insight into the journey of a snitch from immature beginnings to an enlightened end. Allow me to set the scene: Lights up. The pitch is illuminated by the blaring glow of stadium lights, the crowd goes quiet, and the players kneel at their respective sides. A gentle evening 54

breeze tumbles through; the players peer at the ground with fixed concentration. A man in yellow stands jauntily in the middle of it all, sporting a vibrant tail and a Cheshire grin. Everyone is ready. Then the snitch is released. The players see nothing, but hear the crushing sound of feet travelling through newly cut grass. The man in yellow jogs towards a fence and vaults easily over, much to the arousal of the onlookers. He does a little dance; he shakes his tail; he croons animal noises to anyone who cares to listen. And then he darts away from the pitch entirely. He runs along cement walkways where other people are. It’s the snitch! Run, snitch, run! We love you, snitch! The words drive him up a careening hill with orange lanterns and lush green trees. He sits at the top. He sees the players on the pitch, and they can see only silhouettes. Waiting time. Minutes go by, and his passive posture

Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012

jams upright—he can hear quick sneakers on cement. His head whips around to find the two seekers racing towards their target. They are swift and agile, almost birdlike. The man in yellow hurls himself back down the hill, hands scooping through the air, hair flying back to reveal a furrowed and sweaty brow. The seekers follow suit. Everyone seems to pant in unison as the scene of cat and mouse goes down the hill, into a tennis court, up four flights of stairs, across a track, through crowds of people and finally through the bushes. The man in yellow tramps noisily through the shrubs, knees high in the air, heart pounding in his chest. He finally breaks free and pelts onto the field as the seekers maneuver close behind. He wheels around, arms raised against his pursuers, and forces his whole weight into a throw that sends one of them toppling over; the other seeker lunges for the

man in yellow’s hips, but the man in yel- years of hard work. The only “victory” a this point, a snitch may be driven out of low leaps backwards. He has trained for snitch has at this point in their mentality anger or frustration more than anything just this kind of confrontation. But un- is to choose not to play. This never hap- else, assuming they have decided to go on fortunately his training ultimately means pens, of course, so the snitch will prob- at all. Training is done out of spite, and nothing; a sad inevitability awaits the ably continue to play with a mentality of every match ends far too quickly. A perman in yellow, and there is nothing he or hope, a terrible idea. It is this very aspect son in this spiraling situation may very anybody else can do about it. We all know that may keep a snitch training; this hope well feel foolish for ever having hope in how the story ends. for victory may be the driving force be- the first place. One of the most common questions hind a snitch’s diet and exercise patterns, Very soon, however, a revelation ocnon-quidditch people ask a snitch is this: along with their curs. A snitch “How often do you win?” They pry, usu- attendance and will step back “I started snitching because what ally hoping to meet an athlete with amaz- enthusiasm. At and look at the ing statistics. Of course, they always look this point, the larger picture, I saw at World Cup IV made me slightly disappointed when they get the wisdom of the a picture much want to become part of it and I'm truth. Such reactions are a small part of player is in an ellarger than their addicted to it. I've learned a lot.” the sensitive nature of a snitch, and are ementary phase. snitch duties, one of the many mixed messages in their Unfortunatemuch larger —Bryan Bae line of work; after all, at the beginning ly, this practice than the teams of the game they are rooted for, and as in futility is acthey have played it comes to a close the crowd almost al- companied by a with, and much ways switches sides, oftentimes goading myriad of psychological repercussions. A larger than the sport itself. One begins to the seekers on as if the event had trans- feeling that they are never good enough understand that the role of snitch is not formed into some sort of gladiator coli- is easy to understand, and can lead to a about an attempt at victory, nor was it ever. seum. Snitches are constantly subject to depressive state of mind. After all, if they It is not about titles or publicity, it is not these kinds of problems. From life’s most are aiming for victory, then they never are about what kind of tricks you play, and it difficult lessons to the psychological re- good enough. What is worse is that the is not about being the best person on the percussions of the hunt, these yellow-clad players are confronted with an emotional field. Instead, the position becomes a lesfighters can live a tough life but ultimate- crossroads in terms of their own person- son in man’s sweet mortality and just how ly rise to the challenge both on and off ality. Their lack of loyalty to either side briefly one is able to exist on this earth. pitch to become some of the most emo- forces them into an introverted nature, This is one of the first times that someone tionally in-touch athletes around. acting alone, but their rambunctious an- can take the old cliché that “life is like Let’s start with the obvious: to my tics on the pitch are perfect examples of a game” and turn it on its head, because knowledge, the quidditch snitch is the an extrovert, vibrant and exuberant. It is this is quite possibly the first time an athonly position in modern athletics that much the same as the overly social, po- letic position has mirrored the realisms is guaranteed to lose. This is where the tentially alcoholic party guy who spends of an inevitable finish. The realization questions begin to surface. Where is the his time at parties milling around, drink that defeat is at the end of every story is victory? Does victory even exist? If defeat in hand, chatting with anyone and every- pivotal—the player understands that the is inescapable, why bother training? Why one. To an outsider he may look perfectly end will indeed come, so one must make even bother being enthusiastic about the happy, but they do not realize that this the most out of every moment, no matjob? Pessimism will probably sink in. The person lacks any sense of permanence or ter how grim the ending may seem. They snitch might have fun being mischievous, relation to the people around them. That greet the crowds with a smile of genuine but where is the person is lonely. happiness; they are standing before the enjoyment in Very quickly, masses in the only body they have, the “My favorite thing is everyone's knowing that the hope that a only piece of permanent property they you are specifireaction to a new stunt (silly string, snitch may once are given in this life. They train themcally designed have had falters selves vigorously so that they can survive signs, costumes, etc). Especially to ultimately be or is crushed longer; they are investing in what is eswhen I threw a milkshake right in a entirely. On a sentially a “retirement fund” so that life, someone else’s footstool, the more medical or in this instance the gameplay, will be seeker's face.” —Rob Snitch tail that almost note, with the easier and fun, rather than guilt-ridden lovingly taps you stress of con- and loathsome. And when the end of the on the back of the thigh to be humiliat- stantly being hunted by two aggressors game comes as they know it must, they ingly ripped away and displayed as a tro- (particularly in the tournament setting), smile and watch as the celebrations ensue, phy? That has been the reason for every a snitch can easily develop Acute Stress their bouncy yellow tail not a symbol of civil rights movement in American histo- Disorder, which is essentially short term shame and defeat but an icon of the sucry—people were tired of being treated as PTSD and is accompanied by many of cesses enjoyed by the snitch both before the underling, so they fought for equal- the same symptoms: anxiety, nightmares, and during the game. The game of quidity— except those people got to pass sweating, an unexplainable heart pound- ditch becomes a place of almost addictive legislation and enjoy their victories after ing, etc. Suddenly the fun has stopped. At spirituality for the snitch, a place to come

Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012 55

“The hardest thing for me is trying to constantly keep track of the seekers and everything that can affect their attacks on you, such as nearby beaters, teammates that can screen them from your view, etc.” —Alan Black


“If the seekers think I played competitively but fairly and if the crowd was entertained, then I've done my job. I haven't literally won the game but let's be honest, I won the game.” —Rob Snitch

and rejoice in the game they play and in the life they lead both on and off the pitch. The energy of the crowd becomes their food, and the adrenaline of the chase becomes their water; hope becomes a thing of the past when it is replaced by pure, unbridled joy for the substance of life itself. To a snitch that has their philosophy in check, all of existence becomes meaningful again, and quidditch becomes a powerful metaphor for life. To me, snitching has been an existential journey. Personally, I find it hilarious when bystanders consider the snitch to be an immature bounce house of energy; little do many people realize that the person behind the yellow is actually a humble and spiritually enlightened human that wants nothing more than to celebrate life and all of its fruits with the people around them. A good snitch, in this writer’s opinion, accepts the inevitable with grace, yet still plays the game with one hundred and ten percent. Really, all a good snitch does is say yes—yes to death, yes to life, yes to celebration. I cannot guarantee that everyone holds the same ideals as I have stated in this essay. I can certainly say that not everyone has gone on the same journey as me. In fact, I cannot even guarantee that my own journey is over. Perhaps it never will be. But I do believe firmly that you do not get anywhere unless you know where you are going. I am not invincible, nor will I ever be. A day will come when I will no longer be able to pull my body over a fence or sprint across a field; a day may come when I can no longer run, dance, or even go up a flight of stairs. I know that, someday, I too will come to pass, and I have not even the slightest inkling as to when that may be. But until that day comes, I fully plan on celebrating my life as a quidditch player and supporter. Come join the party. ■ Brady Stanley is a native of Phoenix, Arizona and is currently a musical theater major at UCLA, where he snitches for their quidditch team. He is an IQAregistered snitch and snitch trainer.


Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012

Play of the Issue BY VANESSA GOH University of South Florida and Team USA chaser Sean Pagoada has a move in his arsenal that defines what it means to “take one for the team.” “The Human Shield,” otherwise known as the “Sean Shield,” requires a great amount of field awareness and physical prowess. When Sean’s teammate gets into a 1 vs. 1 situation, Sean will look to block or push the defender out of the way in order to clear a path for his fellow chaser. Rather than trying to get open for a pass, Sean uses this move to allow his teammate to take it straight to the hoops for the uncontested 10 points. It also works in 2 vs. 2 situations where the defense is playing man-on-man. Sean, sans quaffle, will block his teammate’s defender, bringing his own defender along with him and creating confusion as the defenders try to switch players. It’s the ultimate selfless move and removes the possibility of sloppy passes on the way to the hoops. ■


Vanessa Goh is a senior at UCLA where she is majoring in Environmental Engineering and minoring in Conservation Biology. She currently plays chaser for the UCLA quidditch team and previously chased for Team USA. She also has a huge crush on Batman.

What's new in the new rulebook BY WILL HACK We’re very excited to announce that the newest edition of the quidditch rulebook is complete! Here are a few of the changes in the sixth edition.

Loose Boundaries—The pitch was never intended to strictly

bind the players in quidditch, and the rules are changing accordingly. Beaters will be allowed to leave the pitch to beat seekers, and chasers will be able to defend other chasers who leave the pitch to retrieve the quaffle.

Spectator Buffer Zone—There will be a small buffer zone

around the pitch that must be kept free of spectators, to ensure their safety. Further, play will be stopped any time players are dangerously near spectators.

Tackling Point of Contact—Legality of physical contact

will now be determined by the initial point of contact. This means that if you hit a player in front, but that players spins so that you are contacting their back, this physical contact will still be legal. Additionally, a clause has been added banning players from running backwards with the intention of abusing the

physical contact rules that are meant to ensure safety.

Knock Out Immunity—In order to obtain knock out im-

munity to recover the third bludger, beaters will have to raise a closed fist over their heads. The opposing team will still be prohibited from guarding the third bludger in all instances.

Substitute Penalties—If a substitute is sent to the box for any reason, the offending team will now have to play one player down on the pitch.

Live Bludgers—A beater may now cause a bludger to become

live by intentionally propelling it in any way. Previously, only throwing and kicking a bludger caused it to become live. This change may or may not bring “hip thrusts” into vogue among beaters.

Broom Drop Stoppages—Players will now be required to

drop their brooms in place any time there is a stoppage. This will effectively eradicate movement after the whistle. ■

Will Hack is the Game Play Director of the IQA and a coach and beater for Michigan State University. He has played in two World Cups. 58

Quidditch Quarterly • Autumn 2012

BAND YOUR TEAM TOGETHER with official IQA headbands. Chaser. Keeper. Beater. Seeker.


Your sport, your future. Your convention.


Join the IQA at QuidCon 2013 for three full days of programming where you have a voice in the exciting future of our sport, all minutes from downtown Seattle. Here's just a taste of our formal programming workshops: • • • • • •

Referee and snitch certification Fundraising Tournament planning and team management How to be a coach Branding your team: from making logos, to jerseys, to websites, and more Hands-on tackling training and strategy for each position


And that's not all. Get ready for a quidditch tournament, the Quidditch World's Fair exhibition, regional "house points" competition, pool parties, scavenger hunts, quidditch Jeopardy, the Sirius Black Tie Ball, sightseeing in downtown Seattle, and more.


JULY 11-15, 2013


AUTUMN 2012  

Quidditch Quarterly is the only magazine dedicated to the real-life sport of quidditch, played at over 500 colleges and high schools around...