QUIDDITCH GOES GLOBAL A look at quidditch around the world
TACKLING SAFE TACKLING QQ INTERVIEW: QUIYK
IQA SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES
Four nations compete at the Oxford torch lighting ceremony
SUMMER TRAINING SON OF A PITCH! RESUME TIPS
WHIMSY VS. COMPETITION
MISSY SPONAGLE UCLA chaser, Team USA
Quidditch Quarterly Summer 2012 Volume 1 â€˘ Issue 2 EDITOR IN CHIEF
COPY EDITOR COVER CONTRIBUTORS
Eric Andres Monica Wheeler Eric Andres, Laurie Beckoff, Leah Farrar, Zara Fishkin, April Gonzales, Will Hack, Dan Hanson, Andrea Hill, Camila Delgado-Montes, Andrew Nguyen, Alicia Radford, Abbie Rickard, Kathleen Richter, Golden Snitchy, Katie Stack, Ethan Sturm, Sara Weisenbach, Luke Zak Flag photo on page 18: Stefano Brivio
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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 promoting 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 www.internationalquidditch.org.
6 Recent Tournaments
UK Summer Games
Quidditch Goes Global
House Cup Tournament; Shell-Shocking Spectacular; Swamp Cup II; BGSU Round Robin, Lone Star Cup; Cinco de Mayo Cup
Quidditch is coming to Oxford this summer to celebrate the 2012 Olympics and participate in the official torch-lighting ceremony.
Quidditch has spread to eight countries on four continents. Hereâ€™s an in-depth look.
The Core Conflict
Competition vs. Whimsy; Who is the most influential person in quidditch? Son of a pitch!
Best places to visit on a broom this summer; Selling quidditch on college applications; QQ interviews Quiyk
Getting into the summer swing; Tackling safe tackling; Troll snitches; Getting fit for quidditch; The mixed tournament
THE IQA T-SHIRT. MEN’S & WOMEN’S. SHOPIQA.COM
EDITOR’S LETTER W
elcome to the Summer 2012 issue of Quidditch Quarterly! For the first time, many of you are reading this magazine in print. This is a remarkable achievement, and the result of the hard work and dedication of so many people, chief among them my writers and copy editors. To you I have two things to say: thank you, and we did it! When I look back through past issues, I’m fiercely proud of how far we’ve all come. It’s been a pleasure watching you grow as writers, and exciting going on my own graphic design journey. I also want to thank everyone who bought a subscription. Putting QQ in print simply would not have been possible without you. Thank you for your faith and support. We won’t let you down! Since the end of 2009, my IQA duties started taking up enough of my free time that I was no longer able to play with my college team. This April, I had the opportunity to play competitively for the first time since the 2008 World Cup at the IQA Champions Series in Boston, repping my home region: the West. A lot has changed since 2008: capes are illegal (I pulled an all-nighter before leaving for Middlebury sewing my team’s purple and gold felt capes—which honestly I did think hampered game play too much), beaters can’t handle more than one bludger at a time, and the snitch’s primary objective is no longer, in so many words, “to be a jackass.” But some things were exactly the same. The adrenaline of playing, the exhilaration of being part of a team, cheering on the sidelines, group huddles, and eating a mountain of food together after the matches were over. I missed these things, more than I realized. The Champions Series was a fantastic tournament (even objectively, I think). You’ll read more about it on pages 12 and 13. The main thing I’ve taken away from this issue is the continuing maturation process happening throughout the league. Just read about this summer’s fantasy quidditch series (page 14)—all-mercenary tournaments that might, perhaps, be the first seed for tomorrow’s pro quidditch teams?—the spread of quidditch across the globe (page 22), a fournation tournament at the Olympic torch-lighting ceremony in Oxford ahead of the 2012 Olympics (page 16), and a thoughtful and critical look at what some call the core conflict in quidditch: whimsicality vs. competition (page 34). This is a sport that’s really starting to come into its own. How to shape that and continue to serve the needs of players and fans is what I spend the bulk of my time on, as the IQA’s COO and this publication’s editor in chief. But I want to try and bring quidditch back into my life as a player, as well. Because the Champions Series reminded me that the experience of the latter greatly enriches and informs my work as the former. Play—and read—on! Alicia
MAY 26, 2012 • BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY 2ND ANNUAL HOUSE CUP TOURNAMENT PHOTOS: MICHAEL MASON
APRIL 22, 2012 • UMD SHELL-SHOCKING SPECTACULAR 1ST: UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND 2ND: HOFSTRA UNIVERSITY 3RD: JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY PHOTOS: DEANNA EDMUNDS
SOUTH PHOTO: ALI FISHMAN
ABOVE: MARCH 24-25, 2012 SWAMP CUP II 1ST: UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI 2ND: UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA 3RD: RINGLING COLLEGE RIGHT: APRiL 22, 2012 TENNESSEE TECH VS. MIDDLE TENNESSEE. TT WON BOTH MATCHES. PHOTO: JULIE HUE.
APRIL 1, 2012 BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY ROUND ROBIN BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY THE CHARLES SCHOOL DENISON UNIVERSITY ASHLAND UNIVERSITY PHOTO: SAMANTHA ELGIN
APRIL 14, 2012 LONE STAR CUP PHOTO: MATT HELLMAN
PHOTO: MATT HELLMAN
1ST: UT 2ND: A&M 3RD: LSU 4TH: BAYLOR 5TH: DELUMINATORS 6TH: TEXAS STATE
PHOTO: LORI LOPEZ
7TH: TEXAS TECH 8TH: TCU 9TH: SHSU 10TH: TLU 11TH: SILVER PHOENIXES 12TH: LOYOLA
PHOTO: BECKY SCHMADER
MAY 5, 2012 CINCO DE MAYO CUP PHOTOS: MONICA WHEELER
APRIL 28, 2012 • BOSTON, MA
IQA Champions Series BY ETHAN STURM
he Boston Cannons Major League Lacrosse team, Boston University and Emerson College collaborated with the IQA to bring us the first annual Championship Series this past April. Ten teams—a combination of elite college squads and regional conglomerations of top players spanning the entire United States —descended on the city for a competition that was likely the broadest in geographic scope of any non-World Cup tournament in the IQA’s history. After a long day of hotly contested matches, one of the host teams came away with the victory. Emerson College battered a fatigued Villanova squad 130-10, winning its second title in two weeks and its first major championship in school history. Due in part to the late announcement of the event, teams struggled to put together a roster in time for the tournament. But despite the problems, interested players still found ways to get in on the action. Those from teams that couldn’t send whole squads came together on regional “all-star” teams, with the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and even the West each forming one. The University of Vermont and Green Mountain College formed one combined team, while Villanova took on a few of Penn State’s players, including Team USA member Michael 12
Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012
TEAMS CIRCLE UP BEFORE THE CLOSING CEREMONIES. (PHOTO: PAULINA PASCUAL)
Parada, to fill out their side. The local teams didn’t suffer from the same issues. Boston University submitted a full roster, while Emerson entered not only its tournament team, but also a second side, the Mattapan Muppets. Middlebury also sent its own team for a rare appearance at a non-World Cup intercollegiate event, but disappointed many when a last minute announcement revealed that their squad would contain almost none of the players that had led them to five straight World Cup titles. Perhaps the most impressive story was Minnesota, who worked with All About Group Travel to turn a hope of attending the Championship Series with a full squad into a reality. The team was able to dip into its funds to pay for most of the cost of attendance, therefore retaining team chemistry. Using only their own players proved invaluable throughout the tournament. The competition was well run throughout, a testament to the organizational skills of Emerson’s Allison Gillette, the Championship Series tournament director. The first major move that helped efficiency was the implementation of tournament-wide meetings on Friday evening. These included a referees meeting and test to help to get them all on the same page, a snitches meet-
ing, a captains meeting, and a general meeting. These helped to clear up many of the issues that typically plague a tournament in the early stages. This was also a chance for teams to spend time with each other off the pitch and see old friends from across the country as well as meet new ones. The following morning, the teams made their way out of the city to the Brookline area for pool play action. Matches took place across three fields with each of the 10 teams getting two games to attempt to earn a high seed for the bracket portion of the tournament. The Mid-Atlantic Monstars started things off by pulverizing Middlebury on their way to the No. 1 seed, but many other games were much closer. One of the marquee games of the early rounds was a defensive battle between Minnesota and Boston University, which the Golden Gophers pulled out on a snitch grab. Minnesota was one of the most organized teams defensively all weekend thanks to a combination of highly disciplined beaters and strong man-to-man chaser play, earning the No. 2 seed for their efforts. One of the few hiccups of pool play was the set of snitch boundaries that gave the snitches almost nowhere to hide. Some of the more resourceful snitches, including Connor Loch and Jeffrey Brice, found a
L: THE NE PRESENTS A SHRUBBERY (PHOTO: MICHAEL MASON). M: EMERSON VS. MONSTARS (PHOTO: PAULINA PASCUAL). R: THE WEST TRAVELED FARTHEST.
courtyard they could use for a brief respite, but they were eventually kicked out of their solace. This, combined with a three minute seeker floor, led to shorter games than many players and teams had hoped for, but also made for a smoothly running schedule. With the pool play rounds in the books and the bracket complete, the entire tournament—teams, officials, referees, equipment and all—were transported by van to the Harvard Stadium Complex in Cambridge. Upon arrival, two fields were constructed on a turf field awaiting bracket play. The single-elimination rounds began with two play-in games for the four lowest seeded teams: Mattapan vs. Middlebury and the West vs. Vermont. The Muppets were eager to have a chance to knock out the game’s most storied school, but Middlebury put up a fight, sending the game to overtime with a snitch grab and holding off the Muppets for five minutes to force sudden-death double overtime. But in the end, Brandon Cardwell came away with a grab for Mattapan, sending them to the quarterfinals. Across the bracket, the West and Vermont were locked in just as tight of a game. Eventually, a Vermont snitch grab gave them a 90-70 victory, eliminating a team full of talented players who many thought were hit harder by a lack of prior experience playing together than lack of skill. In the quarterfinals, the well-rested top seeds feasted on the play-in sides. The Monstars eliminated Vermont 120-20, while Minnesota took down the Muppets 160-20. Emerson struggled more against the Northeast (their team was called The Knights Who Say NE, a play on the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail), but was able to pull away thanks to dominant beater play and an ability to find the cracks in the Knights’ defense. By driving at them on of-
fense, goals from either David Fox, Chris Seto, or Matt Lowe were the usual result. The Lions eventually pulled away, and were out of snitch range by the time they made the grab, winning 90-10. But the best game of the round by far was the contest between Boston University and Villanova. The Wildcats were able to hold onto bludger control for most of the game, which, combined with some formidable defensive chasing, was able to shut down the very strong Boston offensive attack. This allowed Villanova to keep the game close and low-scoring throughout until the snitch returned to the field and Billy Greco, another Team USA member, completed the 40-20 upset victory with a snitch catch. In the semifinals, Villanova looked to play a similar style against Minnesota, a team who was more than happy to play defensively itself. Each team managed to put a few points on the board, but the game remained tight right through to the end. This time, it was Dan Takaki coming through with the crucial grab for Villanova, giving them the 70-40 win and sending them to the finals. Emerson’s semifinal against the MidAtlantic was just as intense. Using a similar strategy that had served them well throughout the tournament, the Lions built up yet another sizable lead. But against a talented squad that included Steve DiCarlo, USA team member Jessica Klein, and USA reserve team member Patrick Rardin, it was tougher for Emerson to pull away. With the score at 60-30, a controversial snitch grab threatened to send the game to overtime. But the snitch was ruled down, and minutes later Emerson had extended the score out of snitch range. An eventual grab sent them to the finals as 110-30 winners. After an intense tournament, the finals
could be seen as somewhat of a letdown, beginning with a snitch attempting to dive through a hoop pregame and instead wrecking it completely. Villanova had a short squad, and the tournament had strained it to the core. By the time the finals came around, the team had just two female players. Minutes into the game, Zach D’Amico, another Team USA selectee, hit the ground hard on a tackle delivered by Max Blaushild and suffered concussion symptoms, unable to return to the game. Eventually, the game just became too much for the Wildcats, and the Lions slowly pulled away, finally winning the match and the tournament with a score of 130-10. The day did not end with the final match, as the tournament’s award ceremony added another new tradition to the game with team trinkets. Each squad in attendance brought along something that represented the quidditch community to them, then drew another team at random to present their gift to. The top prize in the drawing was likely Middlebury’s broom, which was used in the first-ever game of muggle quidditch and ended up in the hands of the Mid-Atlantic. Even the referees joined in on the action, presenting signed yellow and red cards to Gillette and Alex Benepe. From there, some players made their way to the Boston Cannons lacrosse game, where they were given access to the onfield VIP area, another chance for teams to interact with each other off the pitch. The night concluded with a party at a local bar for those who could still stand by that time of night. Overall, the Championship Series tournament received positive feedback, and will likely become a much-loved part of the IQA’s tournament canon in years to come. But the biggest question is whether Emerson will be back to defend its title. n
Ethan Sturm is a junior 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, works in the Game Play Department. He also referees and founded the Massachusetts Quidditch Conference early this year.
Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012 13
WHAT TO WATCH
Summer fantasy tournaments BY ALICIA RADFORD
Don’t worry—I’m still referring to the real-life quidditch variety. This summer, the Southwest, Northeast, MidAtlantic, Midwest, and Western regions are all hosting “fantasy” tournaments. What is a fantasy quidditch tournament? The idea originated in the Southwest, but Steve Di Carlo, a Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY) alum and the man behind the Northeast fantasy tournament, explains: “We’re going to compile the relevant information of people playing (years played, tournaments attended, team, position, strengths), and people chosen as general managers will use that information to draft their dream team. Each GM will have ‘1000 galleons’ to use in bidding wars to fill their roster how they choose. Once teams are chosen, they will be announced so teams can coordinate jerseys, strategies and positions.” Excited? Follow the action on Facebook and don’t miss the IQA’s first “all-mercenary” tournaments. n
FireMercs Invitational JULY 7-8 • 10:00AM • FLINTRIDGE PREPARATORY SCHOOL, LOS ANGELES, CA http://www.facebook.com/events/387971037911248/
Mid-Atlantic Fantasy Quidditch tournament JULY 21 • 9:00AM • UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, COLLEGE PARK, MD http://www.facebook.com/events/447770338583732/
Southwest Fantasy Quidditch tournament JULY 27 • AUSTIN, TX http://www.facebook.com/events/272811259482667/
Northeast Fantasy Quidditch tournament AUGUST 12 • 12:00PM • CENTRAL PARK AT W. 86TH STREET, NEW YORK, NY http://www.facebook.com/events/353059838093614/
Midwest Fantasy Quidditch tournament TBD • CHICAGO, IL http://www.facebook.com/events/309926962425959/
Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012
Quidditch takes the Olympic stage in Oxford OXFORD, ENGLAND: THE SITE OF THE 2012 IQA SUMMER GAMES. (PHOTO: JEREMY T. HETZEL)
BY LAURIE BECKOFF
his summer, a spectacular sporting event in the United Kingdom will precede the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Teams from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and France will compete in quidditch matches at Cutteslowe Park in Oxford on July 8 and 9. The international cooperation of the Olympics is one of the world’s most remarkable traditions. Harry Potter has been bringing readers together from around the world for nearly fifteen years, quidditch is beginning to have a global impact, and now the IQA will expose an international audience to this extraordinary realization of the magic that has captivated a generation. Never before have quidditch teams from three continents played against each other. Although the matches will take place before the Olympic Games begin, they will coincide with the Olympic torch passing through Oxford on its way to London on July 9. Karen Kumaki, head of the summer games organizing team, reported that quidditch will be involved in the ceremony. The members of Team USA were announced on May 15. Team Coordinator Luke Zak of the University of Minnesota (Duluth, MN) worked with the IQA’s regional directors to choose 21 first-string players and 21 reserve players out of over 150 nominations. Players were selected based on athletic ability as well as involvement and initiative in quidditch off the pitch. Sean Pagoada, a chaser and seeker
from the University of Southern Florida (Tampa, FL), could not believe that he had made it onto Team USA and described the upcoming event as “monumental.” “I want the world to see the passion we all have for this sport and I expect the next World Cup to be ten times as competitive as the last one,” Pagoada said. The confirmation of an Australian team making the long journey to participate in the games was met with much enthusiasm. “We thought the games would be an amazing opportunity to get Australia a bit more involved in the worldwide quidditch scene before the next World Cup,” said Morgyn Benstead, one of the organizers of Team Australia and President of the Australia Quidditch Association (AQA). “The team is really looking forward to meeting and playing against the Americans especially!” Benstead sees the Summer Games as a great networking and promotional opportunity, and has already noticed a surge in interest in quidditch in Australia since the announcement that the country would be represented at the UK games. Australia plans to send a team to World Cup VI as well. The home team will be chosen in Birmingham, England on May 26. UK Team Coordinator Rob Barringer of Keele University (Staffordshire, England) plans to give the visiting nations a run for their money, despite the relative newness of quidditch in the UK. “Though we might
be outmatched skill- and experience-wise, our all-or-nothing approach should be a spectacle,” Barringer said. “Teams in the UK are cropping up all over the place and the interest is increasing, helped also by the vast amount of media coverage quidditch has received in all areas of the country.” Quidditch is sure to experience enormous growth in the UK after the summer games. Quidditch has been spreading quickly and this summer’s games will be a momentous landmark that will expand the quidditch community and showcase the dynamic sport. As Barringer affirmed, “Quidditch is real, now it’s time to prove it.” Perhaps quidditch is on the way to becoming the newest Olympic sport. n July 8, 12:00 - 6:00pm Cutteslowe Park
Tournament between the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and France
July 9 Olympic torch festival @ South Park
Demonstration match between top two teams and open youth matches
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 in college. 16
Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012
WITH THIS SHIRT, THE ODDS ARE ALWAYS IN YOUR FAVOR.
MEET TEAM USA Selected out of over 150 nominations based on their skills on the pitch and ability to be a good ambassador for the sport and the United States, meet the 23 athletes who have been chosen to represent the United States at the IQA Summer Games in Oxford, England on July 8 and 9.
LAWRENCE LAZEWSKI Chaser Michigan State University
JARED SIPE Keeper University of Minnesota
TYLER MACY Seeker Ball State University
MATTHEW ZIFF Beater University of Miami
SEAN PAGOADA Chaser/seeker USF
KEDZIE TELLER Chaser Boston University
ALLISON GILLETTE Beater Emerson College
JESSICA KLEIN Chaser/seeker NY Badassilisks
MISSY SPONAGLE Chaser UCLA
BILLY GRECO Seeker Villanova
JAMES HICKS Keeper University of Maryland
MICHAEL PARADA Chaser Penn State University
ZACH D’AMICO Chaser Villanova
BRAD ARMENTOR Chaser LSU
MOLLIE LENSING Beater Texas A&M
AUGUSTINE MONROE Keeper University of Texas
MELISSA WHITE Chaser LSU
SARAH KNEILING Beater LSU
VANESSA GOH Chaser UCLA
WILLIE JACKSON Keeper Arizona State University
AUGUST LÜHRS Chaser USC
BRYAN BAE Snitch Ringling College
DAN HANSON Referee Lost Boys
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With official teams in eight countries on four continents, the IQA is becoming more international than ever. Hereâ€™s a look at how quidditch is developing around the world.
QUIDDITCH DOWN UNDER QUAFL CUP 2011. (PHOTOS: MATT HUDSON)
BY ERIC ANDRES
uidditch across the pond was a long-standing mystery to many stateside quidditch players until recently, with the introduction of the IQA Summer Games and the subsequent explosion of media interest in British teams. But while the athletes across the even bigger pond in Australia haven’t yet gained widespread media recognition, the Aussies have a longer-standing and more organized quidditch tradition than many realize. The Australian Quidditch Association, or AQA, was established in 2011, and more than a half dozen official teams rally under that banner, traveling just as far as American teams to play other AQA schools across the continent—and it’s a big continent. Nearly as large as the United States, Australia has only a fraction the population, spread out over a much wider area. But that hasn’t deterred the spread of antipodean quidditch. Their ambition and competitive spirit culminated in Australia’s first large-scale tournament in late November 2011, with five teams competing for the QUAFL (Quidditch Universities in Australia League) Cup. Since then, the AQA hosted a quidditch “camp,” submitted a bid for World Cup 2015, and formed a team to play at the Summer Games in Oxford this July. Now, it even has plans to build and establish the world’s first permanent quidditch pitch. In short: watch out, world.
QUIDDITCH CAMP A pre-cursor to the IQA’s QuidCon 2012, 24
Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012
the AQA hosted a “Quidditch Camp” that included workshops on chaser and keeper skills, refereeing, snitching, and running quidditch teams. The camp was a great way for the Australian players from different schools to form a greater intra-league bond. Morgyn Benstead, the IQA Oceania Regional Director and president of the AQA, says that the camp “was the first time that everyone got to know each other after QUAFL. We’d met but not really mingled outside of our own teams.” The camp hosted about 40 people, with 20 coming from Canberra, the capitol of Australia, and the rest coming from out of state. Benstead would like to host the camp at a rotating location each year, so that players from different regions will have a better chance to attend. Beth Crane, of the University of New South Wales, agreed with Benstead, believing that “rotating things is really important for Australia, so more people can come to things.” The IQA’s QuidCon 2012, taking place in Chicago this July, will mirror much of the AQA’s camp, improving on snitch and ref training with a multitude of workshops to improve team and league play in a large scale on the American stage.
2015 WORLD CUP BID Continuing with being ahead of the game, the AQA’s ambitions didn’t end with a national convention. After seeing the success of World Cup V in New York City, the Australian league has set its sights three years ahead to host the 2015 World Cup. Zach Bickhoff, President of North Queensland Quidditch and acting captain of JCU
Quidditch, was ambitious enough to throw Australia’s hat in the ring, if not for a reasonable and logical time in the future. “If people are going to come here for a weekend, we’re looking at more than two days to line it up with US [university holidays], because we figure if people are going to come all the way to Australia, they’re really going to spend four days with traveling,” says Bickhoff, who seems to have the cogs working at full speed on the logistics. “They might was well stay longer, so I’ve looked into having it be more of a festival than just World Cup.” Bickhoff makes it as easy to get excited for the Australian World Cup as if it were next week. A week-long festival in Australia is enough to make any person drool, but factoring in the amount of quidditch being played and discussed could make even Dan Panzarella’s heart grow three sizes. “On top of that I’ve been talking with [the] local government,” says Bickhoff. “They’re doing a big tourism drive at the moment.” The idea of such a festival is enough to catch any player’s eye, but the involvement and support of local government is something the IQA can’t resist. I think we’ll all have our fingers crossed in the form of the Western Region handshake in order for a “Bludger Down Under” to materialize in 2015.
IQA SUMMER GAMES In the meantime, Australia is sending a side to the Olympic Expo matches in Oxford, UK. Its first venture abroad seems only logical, according to Bickhoff. “As the birthplace of Harry Potter, I think it’s
appropriate that that’s where the first international match between different countries is happening.” A truly amazing experience for all nations attending, the final matches on July 9 will take place at the Olympic torch lighting festival in South Park. As for the competition, Crane has more than one reason to be excited: “I’m going to die,” she says with a laugh. “I did athletics, but not team sports growing up. Running was my sport. [Playing] chaser, it’s really exciting. I’m looking forward to meeting a bunch of other people from the other teams, and I think it’s appropriate playing in England.” Crane doesn’t let the small number of her squad get her down either. “We have 11, so it’ll be interesting playing against the full 21 person USA roster. But I’m excited.”
PHYSICAL CONTACT These Australians have been able to take the cue from the IQA on how to play quidditch, but are apprehensive about adopting the level of physicality in American quidditch. The AQA recently voted to play by stricter physical contact rules that restrict tackling more than the American variety because of safety issues. “We still have barging and shoving, which can lead to some down to the ground,” explains Bickhoff. “The difference is, without arm contact it doesn’t bring the other person down with you and avoids the broom injuries.” James Hosford, of the University of Newcastle, said he “tends to see an American football tackling technique, but with
out the helmets and pads, which is unreasonable. The technique is not designed for someone so unprotected to get so smashed.” Does American quidditch rely too much on the fundamentals of a national sport with different physicality requirements? “If rugby were more prominent in America, we could standardize the twoarm tackling technique to something rugby-based as an International standard, which would be much safer while still being rough and tough,” says Hosford. Matt Hudson, also of the University of Newcastle, notes that “the last Triwizard [Cup] was the first inter-varsity match where we didn’t have to call an ambulance, and that’s a positive thing to say about a quidditch tournament.” All this is not to say that Australians don’t like their quidditch with a bite to it—Benstead contests that “Perth plays full contact, even though the rest of Australia doesn’t. They’re always saying quidditch is meant to be full contact, but we still play quite roughly.” Regardless of opinions on contact, all of the Australian administration is eager to see the result of competition between the two countries.
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE What’s next for Aussie quidditch? A Mid-
Winter Cup in July, an official IQA regional tournament in December, and the Triwizard Cup, which will become a monthly tournament in Sydney for any interested teams to compete in. The AQA is also working on a comprehensive membership plan, which will be released alongside the IQA’s membership plan for North American teams. The AQA hopes to be a model for other international regions as quidditch grows there and local governing bodies begin working directly with the IQA. “Some things are better Down Under,” says Bickhoff. Despite the immense distance, the AQA’s success advancing the sport of quidditch on a different continent speaks volumes about the impact and positivity of their league. The Summer Games and future World Cups will be sure to solidify the relationship between Australia and the rest of the world, showing everyone that the Aussies will show you a good time and maybe even fight you for it. n Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012 25
BUILDING COMMUNITY IN FRANCE
BY LUKE ZAK
s would be expected as quidditch becomes a truly international sport, the passion and dedication we all share has continued to sweep across the Atlantic and found a home in France. What started as a small community effort to bring some of the magic alive has now led the nation to developing one of the most prominent quidditch scenes beyond the Americas. In January 2011, Elodie Laruelle’s experience with quidditch began much in the same way as her American counterparts. She discovered videos of muggles running around with brooms on the Internet and became immediately enthralled. Straight away, she started forming a team in her home town of Nantes, France. Thankfully, with some lengthy correspondence, I was able coordinate my spring break travel plans so that I could attend the team’s first-ever practice in May. Start-up supplies in tow, the first French quidditch team convened at the Parc du Grand-Blottereau. All it took was that one day to get a group of people together who were committed to the future of the sport in France. From then, local interest continued to grow and the program garnered official recognition, establishing itself as a student association at Nantes University in January 2012. They weren’t long the sole French team. Organizations from Paris and Lesparre-Médoc have cropped up over the last year, joining ranks with Nantes Quidditch. Anthena Quidditch, the team from Lesparre, soon became the first French IQA official member team, followed not long after by Nantes and Paris. Additionally, another unofficial team has formed in Toulouse. Naturally, with so many teams, a tournament was in order! Last fall, Anthena Quidditch hosted the first muggle quidditch tournament to take place on French soil. Called the 1er Tournoi de Quidditch de Lesparre-Médoc en Gironde, the event brought together athletes from across the country to face off in quidditch, unprecedented in this country. Nantes and Toulouse Quidditch merged teams and took a solid second place, just behind Les Spartiates, one of the teams from Anthena Quidditch, who clenched the historical title. More important than the competition, though, was the alignment of aspirations for the future of international quidditch. After making new connections, the teams returned with a sense of the importance of creating lifelong relationships through the sport, promoting the growth of quidditch, and passing on the passion. Perhaps the most notable example of these new teams’ drive to connect with athletes beyond France is Nantes Quidditch team captain Elodie Laruelle’s desire to create international quidditch friendships. This past March, she hopped on a transatlantic flight to visit her new francophone friends in Canada. There, Laruelle says that she had the chance to “meet McGill Quidditch and UOttawa to improve her skills and create quidditch friendships.” Now
she is continuing this effort as she will be traveling to Oxford this July to compete in the IQA Summer Games on the France national quidditch team against the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Australia, with teammates who have been pulled from all three official French teams. With all of the developments in French quidditch, there is even more exciting news on the European front. Now, thanks to the association in Nantes, two more teams have started up: Isère/Bourgoin Muggle Quidditch in France and even a team in Switzerland, Nyon Quidditch! Set on spreading the quidditch word, Nantes Quidditch is going as far as to organize a Quidditch Camp July 14 and 15. Lastly, every athlete in our sport knows that the best way to ensure the future of quidditch is to invest in the youth. Ever since a wide-eyed kid ran over to the newly assembled team setting up a pitch with three hoops on each end in May of last year and inquired with bewilderment what game we were playing, the members of Nantes Quidditch have recognized the possibilities of giving children the chance to experience quidditch. Captain Laruelle discussed the outreach initiatives her team has engaged in since the team’s creation, stating, “This team is also very involved in teaching quidditch to children. They work with some leisure centers to promote the sport among young people.” After having organized kidditch workshops on February 15 and 22 and April 13 and 17, her team has decided to take the next step in involving the youth of the community. “Nantes Quidditch will open one or several kidditch teams for children aged 6-14 years old in September 2012,” she explains. All in all, the growth of quidditch over the past year in France has been indescribable. One thing is certain, however. This country will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future of quidditch on a world-wide scale as the number of teams continues to escalate and the love of the game is sown into their communities. Vive la France! n
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, bringing them to World Cups IV and V and the Spring Champions Series in Boston. 26
Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012
ABOVE: NANTES QUIDDITCH AT THE FIRST FRENCH TOURNAMENT. (PHOTO: COURTESY ELODIE LARUELLE)
QUIDDITCH IN HARRY POTTER’S HOMELAND BY KATHLEEN RICHTER
ith the Summer Olympics coming up, many in the quidditch world are understandably getting revved up about sending their nation’s respective team to London—but what about the teams that are already there? While according to the IQA there are 33 teams in the UK, only one of them—just recently—has become an IQA official team: the University of West England (UWE) in Bristol. Chris Holgate, team captain, said the move was a way “to add credibility to what we do,” as even in the home of Harry Potter, the sport is often approached with skepticism. “The initial response was more than often a strange mix of surprise, laughter, and ‘are you serious?’” said Holgate, talking about a presentation he did for UWE’s Sports and Society Council. Once he showed them YouTube clips featuring the sport, “many seemed to warm to the idea, especially when sports individuals saw how it was like a sport like any other.” As for UK teams in general, “quidditch is overall the same here in the UK [as it is in the US],” according to Kyrie J. Timbrook, who has played quidditch on a US team (the Silicon Valley Skrewts) and on
a British team (Kingston University). “One of the main differences is that they’re still building up steam…In the UK, there are so few teams that it’s been difficult for them to play each other. At Oxford they get lots of people because different universities in Oxford have teams. However, they play by their own set of rules.” “Though I can’t speak for all UK teams,” Holgate said, “a lot of those interested in quidditch here are openly ‘nerdy,’ where sport wouldn’t be the first port of call... After seeing many of the U.S. teams playing it, we feel we may never take it as seriously as them, to the extent of excluding the full-contact aspect of it to make it more appealing to potential members.” Robert Barringer, from Keele University, noted that though the sport is even newer in England than it is in the US, it has the potential to become just as popular—and as athletically competitive—as its iteration in the US. “Comparative to the US, the UK is a very dense island (realistically), so it’s easy for a craze to spread over the country and encompass the nation, “ he noted, citing the fact that in just six months, the Quidditch UK network (QUK, pronounced “qwuk”), has grown to just under 150 people, and that some schools have al-
ready added quidditch to their physical education curriculum. “It’s a waiting game currently,” Holgate said about the future of quidditch in the UK. As many schools are now out for the summer, there’s not much that can be done. “But when we come back we’re hoping to be in contact with both the IQA and our local quidditch enthusiasts who’ve contacted me to organize games and whatnot and really get this put onto the map!” n
Kathleen Richter started playing quidditch when she found it through Meetup and thought, “zomg must play NOW.” She now co-captains the Silicon Valley Skrewts and spams the IQA West Facebook page as often as feasible. KEELE UNIVERSITY QUIDDITCH. (PHOTOS: LEFT COURTESY MELANIE PIPER; RIGHT TOM CRAVEN) ABOVE:
Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012 27
FLYING TO CHINA
BY KATIE STACK
his past month, the IQA’s first official Asian member team from Hangzhou Foreign Language School in Zhejiang, China, hosted a tournament in order to spread awareness of their new favorite sport and gain a greater familiarity with the IQA rulebook. Six teams participated in the tournament, drawn out over a period of several days, for a total of more than 100 players from the school. Each match boasted at least thirty spectators. This tournament is not the first that the Hangzhou team has hosted; in March, the team held a match with roughly 200 spectators. The sport was well received by the community, with an impressive amount of press coverage and eager audience members voicing their questions. Team captain Jenny Wang said that the team is very excited to be the first team from the Asian continent. “However,” she continued, “[we feel] a bit alone because there isn’t a team nearby to play with us. We really hope there will be in the future.” The team hopes to host at least one large tournament each semester in order to keep the sport popular and keep the team running, and the club founders, who are graduating this year, hope to start teams at the Chinese universities they will attend. “We hope that the IQA membership will assist with free access for videos, training materials and so on. Maybe someone from the official IQA would even give a talk or attend our meetings to give suggestions,” Wang
said. IQA staff members have reported that they are currently working on uploading quidditch footage to a server that can be accessed in China; the popular American video site youtube.com is blocked by the Chinese government. While they wait for this next step, the Hangzhou quidditch players have kept themselves busy. The founders have translated the IQA rulebook into their native Chinese and filmed their own training video in order to make the sport more accessible to their peers. The team has also begun to work on future events. They plan to host a tournament over the summer, using a popular Chinese event website, douban.com, to spread the word. The Hangzhou players are discussing details with the event website and hope to confirm soon. For a new team on the other side of the world, the Hangzhou Foreign Language School quidditch team has traveled a long way and is already making strides for the future. n
Katie Stack is a Boston University graduate with a love for traveling, sandy beaches, and all things magical. She currently teaches English in Don Benito, Spain, and you can follow her adventures at http://experienciasespanolas.wordpress.com/.
PHOTOS: JENNY WANG
Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012
VIVA EL QUIDDITCH BY KATIE STACK
ásala! ¡Vamos, chicos!” Players and fans alike were excited and curious to hear the Qwertyrians Quidditch Club cheering in Spanish at the Western Cup in LA two months ago, although those in the know were not surprised. The IQA has been rapidly expanding internationally, with exposition games to take place in the United Kingdom to coincide with the 2012 Olympics, and the first team from Asia joining the IQA this May. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Qwertyrians QC made their way across the border to compete and that an equally strong team, Tec Quidditch, exists further south, in Monterrey. Tec Quidditch, an official school organization at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) and a 20-person team with weekly practices, was founded in August 2011. The nearly two-year-old Qwertyrians QC is an IQA member team based in Tijuana with a 23-person roster. Although young, both teams have contributed immensely to the IQA and to their communities, overcoming a variety of obstacles to do so. Their communities have supported them in kind. Tec Quidditch’s popularity skyrocketed when the team’s spring tournament was advertised on a popular social media site, 9gag.com. The post received hundreds of views, yet most of the comments involved some sort of harassment. As hurtful as those responses were, the Internet buzz attracted the attention of the press, and three newspapers covered the tournament: two newspapers from ITESM, as well as the main Monterrey paper, called El Norte. In April, the Tec Quidditch team collaborated on an event organized by “Niños Regios,” a group dedicated to encouraging children to read. Nearly 500 children from the city of Monterrey enjoyed playing kidditch that day. The university recognized the group for their efforts by awarding them two “Golden Apples.” “The Golden Apple is a very important award for student organizations in our college. Tec Quidditch won two, and they were given to the
group for being the ‘Revelation Student Organization of the Semester’ and for hosting the ‘Revelation Event of the Semester,’” Antonio Cruz, team captain and founder, said. Alberto Santillon, the captain of the Qwertyrians QC, said that the community of Tijuana has also been very supportive. The team has received enthusiastic responses from media outlets and has even done a few interviews with a local television station. The team hopes to continue to work with the IQA to expand within their community. “As part of our vision, mission, and objectives, the IQA represents the same values. We believe that the requirements to belong in such an organization meet ours as well. We are a community team and therefore we believe community service in whatever way possible is an instrument of rallying people to do better for their city and their country,” Santillon said. Tec Quidditch hopes to join the IQA soon in order to garner more support and foster a greater sense of legitimacy within their community. “We’re not yet official IQA members, but we are currently in the process. We are doing the process now because we wanted first to be recognized in our college, have the sufficient club members, and get all the necessary equipment,” Cruz said. “Our biggest challenge is getting people to join our team. Many of the interested people are still afraid of peer pressure and being humiliated… On the other hand, there is a big amount of people who are totally supportive and are super happy that we started quidditch in Mexico, which is a very difficult thing due to the fact that many Mexicans are not tolerant to new and different things,” Cruz said. The Qwertyrian QC’s problems stem more from geographic location. Tijuana is a city located on the United States border; the closest Mexican quidditch team is at least 1500 miles away, and so many of the US teams are an easier option for tournament play. The team has traveled to the University of California, San Diego on two separate occasions and played in Los
ABOVE: QWERTIANS QC PLAY AT THE WESTERN CUP IN LOS ANGELES. (PHOTO: KATIE MERCURIO)
Angeles at the Western Cup this past year. Unfortunately, tourist visas are not always available for everyone, captain Alberto Santillon said. Another challenge for most quidditch teams worldwide (and the Mexican teams are no exception) is fundraising. The Qwertyrians bring $1 to each weekly practice as a way to fund the cost of equipment. The Tec team sells t-shirts and Krispy Kreme donuts, and in November hosted “The Biggest Potterhead,” a Harry Potter trivia competition. Future goals for both teams involve raising enough money to buy more equipment and to fund competition travel. A higher level of competition, at this point only possible by traveling, is necessary for these teams to reach the next level and become recognized in the league as competitive athletes. “Skill-wise, they have a lot of speed, but they need size and strategy to compete with the big dogs. The strategy will come, since they aren’t shying away from playing the best in the West and they’re getting great experience through that,” Dan Hanson, an IQA referee, commented after watching the Qwertyrians QC at the Western Cup. Santillon agreed with Hanson, attributing different playing styles to cultural differences. “[In our] country where tackling is not part of the training development, it makes it very different from yours. I can say that most Mexican quidditch teams will play alike, with a passing system. Ours is a sprint-passing system that has so far worked fine, we’ve learned some strategies we believe are really good,” Santillon said. Both Mexican teams are ready for the next step in tournament play. Tec Quidditch’s goal is to play in the IQA World Cup, while the Qwertyrians are focused on hosting a large Mexican tournament (open to all teams, including the US and international) in order to encourage Mexican participation. The quidditch world should watch out. Mexican quidditch is rapidly expanding and the Qwerty Effect, or El Efecto Qwertyrian, as Santillon described it, is not the only force to be reckoned with. n Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012 29
Quidditch Quarterly â€˘ Summer 2012
COMMENTARY: QUIDDITCH IN CANADA BY ANDREA HILL
his summer, dozens of quidditch players from around the world will make their way to Oxford to represent their countries in an Olympic quidditch match. Sadly, Canadian players will not be among the mix. It’s not because there aren’t talented, committed quidditch players in Canada— there are, and many teams who’ve had the opportunity to play against Canadian quidditch powerhouses such as McGill University can attest to this. It’s because the pool of quidditch players within the nation remains limited. And when the proportion of players able to commit the time and finances to fly across the world to play the sport they love is small, this poses an impossible barrier for the formation of a Canadian national team. Quidditch in Canada has not taken off as it has in the United States. Though the sport arrived in Canada just a couple years after it was first played at Middlebury College in Vermont in 2005, it has not gained the same nationwide popularity in Canada as it has farther south. This is evident in the fact that the United States boasts close to 120 official member teams whereas Canada has only eight. America also houses considerably more unofficial active teams and high school teams than its northern neighbour. It is likely not possible for quidditch to ever become as widespread in Canada as it is south of the 49th parallel. Part of the problem is that Canada simply doesn’t have the same volume of people. Quidditch was designed as, and largely remains, a university sport. While Canada has close to 150 postsecondary institutions, the U.S. De-
partment of Education database includes figures on 6,900 postsecondary educational institutions in the country. The numbers speak for themselves. Even if quidditch teams are established at half of Canadian postsecondary institutions, the number of teams would still pale in comparison to what is being achieved in the United States. Canada is also short on strong quidditch leaders who could potentially work to promote and mobilize the sport in the country. The benefits of such a group are best seen in Australia—a nation with a fast-growing quidditch presence despite its isolation from the United States. Quidditch in the island nation of kangaroos and platypuses is overseen by the Australian Quidditch Association, a group that works alongside the IQA. Its elected members from across the nation share ideas and resources to organize quidditch events that ultimately promote the sport in the country. Though the formation of a similar Canadian Quidditch Association has been proposed in casual conversations between players and through the country’s quidditch Facebook group, no action has yet been taken. Perhaps it’s because communication between the country’s quidditch teams is poor even in this age of social media and email. Or perhaps it’s because people fail to see the benefits of such a group in a geographically large country where a team’s closest competitors may be in the United States. Quidditch in Canada saw considerable growth between 2010 and 2011 when teams started cropping up across Ontario and in western British Columbia. However, that growth appears to have slowed and now captains of some established teams are graduating, leaving their teams with uncer-
tain futures. But we don’t need to see the number of official teams climbing for quidditch to be a success in Canada. In fact, the nation’s quidditch teams have much to celebrate from this season. In October, the first-ever Canadian quidditch tournament was hosted at Carleton University in Ottawa. Seven Canadian teams and a single American team competed in the IQA’s smallest regional tournament on a chilly October day. And despite organizer concerns that the American team would walk away as victor of the Canadian event, the Canuck teams came out on top with McGill University (Montreal, QC) placing first, Carleton finishing second and University of Ottawa taking home the bronze medal. And less than a month later, Canada made its largest-ever showing at a Quidditch World Cup with five teams attending—an increase of one team from the year before. That Canada only had five teams at the 2011 World Cup may be surprising to many fans and players who attended the tournament since the singing, chanting and drumming of the Canadian players often drowned out American cheers. The Canadians at the World Cup were damn proud to be there and were proud to be representing their country in an Americandominated sport. Players cheered on other Canadian teams throughout the weekend and loud choruses of O’Canada could be heard sporadically across Randall’s Island. So will quidditch in Canada ever be as big as it is in the United States? Probably not. But that won’t stop players and quidditch fans from getting involved in the game they love and playing it with incredible enthusiasm and spirit. n
Andrea Hill is the IQA’s international director and captain of the Carleton University quidditch team in Ottawa. LEFT: ANDREA HILL WAVES THE CANADIAN FLAG AT WORLD CUP V.
Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012 31
JE NE PARLE PAS L’ANGLAIS, BUT YES, I PLAY QUIDDITCH A brief look at the existence of a language barrier within the IQA
T BY KATIE STACK
THE IQA IS RAPIDLY EXPANDING throughout the US and abroad, with the first annual quidditch convention (QuidCon) in Chicago in July and an exhibition tournament for the Olympics in the UK in July. The nonprofit organization currently boasts official member teams from eight different countries and five different languages. IQA official member teams speak not only English, but French, Spanish, Chinese, and Finnish. Unofficial quidditch teams span more of the globe and express themselves in a number of different tongues, including an unofficial team interviewed for this article with Italian as its first language. With such worldwide popularity, the question arrises of how best to satisfy non-US teams, especially those who do not share the English language. In an increasingly globalized world, foreign exchange is valued more highly than ever before. The influx of new ideas results in a rich collaboration, and interaction with foreign cultures is often argued to increase both international understanding and individual empathy. These goals mesh well with the IQA’s inspiring mission of community, creativity, and competition. In the same way the IQA strives to overcome gender 32
Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012
inequalities, the organization is attempting to bridge geographical and cultural gaps. Yet there is concern that IQA publications available only in English will prove to be a problem, and that it may be already. Foreign teams say no, but IQA staff members say yes. After speaking with both parties, it seems that the difference in language has not been a barrier so far for those who would like to play the sport of quidditch, but it is a hindrance to its spread across the globe through the press and various social media outlets. On the international playing field, a variety of phrases can be heard. The Qwertyians QC (Tijuana, Mexico), the only official Mexican team, commonly shouts “¡pásala!” and “¡cuidado!” for “pass the ball!” and “look out!” The match starts with “¡escobas arriba!” and “¡la snitch está suelta!” At Italian matches, it’s common to hear “nemo fioi” and “tira” as players encourage their teammates with a hardy “let’s go boys” and “shoot!” said Enrico Higginbotham, captain of the Quidditch Club Provincia di Venezia (Venice, Italy). The team’s optimistic yet violent motto is in their native tongue as well: “Anca se no vinxemo, spacheremo un fia de capocie,” which translates to “even if we don’t win we will break some heads.” Fortunately for the new sport, the love of Harry Potter—the protagonist of the famous book series by J.K. Rowling on which the sport of muggle quidditch is based— is universal. The Harry Potter books have been translated into 73 languages and so
quidditch teams can easily use the athletic terms in the books as they interpret the IQA rules. “We use the same terms [as the book] in order to have consistency between fantasy and reality and to have a reference to the context of the game,” said Ingrid Vezy, of the Anthena muggle quidditch team (Lesparre, France). Each team claims at least one fluent English speaker, and most team members have the ability to understand English to an extent. These English skills are necessary because the teams do their best to adhere to the current IQA rulebook, published only in English and Italian. Most teams have translated the rulebook into their native tongue. “We of course use the IQA rulebook. We have translated it into Chinese. It’s pretty difficult, because it’s a new sport and it’s in English,” Jenny Wang, captain of Hangzhou Foreign Language School quidditch team in China, said. She explained that the team captains do the translating and rules interpretation; most of the players learn the rules through live play and through videos the new Chinese team has filmed themselves. None of the teams feel as though the language barrier has at all hindered their comprehension or enjoyment of the sport. They admit that it would be a little easier to have rules clarifications translated in their language—many of the IQA rules rely on specific syntax to explain technical details. Each team, however, has enough players
with the ability to communicate in English if necessary. And Google translate works wonders, Wang explained with a smile. At the same time, however, all the teams claimed that their biggest challenge is finding local teams to compete against. Paris Quidditch explained that quidditch is not yet taken seriously at their school and so it’s hard to gain respect. The Qwertyians QC don’t have any Mexican teams near them, and while they do live on the border, it can be difficult to acquire a tourist visa to cross into the neighboring country. “We’ll just have to work around it until the sport is legitimate enough to provide us with quidditch visas,” Santillon said. He remains hopeful. IQA commissioner Alex Benepe admits that it is very possible that the difference in language is responsible for the lack of other international teams. “I’m surprised that quidditch, at least to our knowledge, has not taken off on the Asian continent…and I’ve always wondered if that was attributable to the language barrier. I finally solved at least part of that riddle through our new Chinese team, who testified to the fact that it was hard for them [to garner interest] without the ability to watch youtube videos (youtube.com is banned in China),” he said. Even after the IQA posts videos on additional servers, they will still be in the English language only. While non-English
speakers will at least be able to appreciate the competition and whimsy involved in the sport, they will not be able to understand specific training or promotional aspects of the videos. IQA international regional director, An-
is more difficult for the IQA to promote its sport to non-English-speaking countries since our website and rulebook are in English,” she said. Hill believes that the first step toward quidditch as a global household name is to
That language is a barrier to worldwide adoption of the sport is made clear by looking at what countries have a strong quidditch community: the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. All of these are English-speaking countries.
drea Hill, believes that the language barrier is a problem, as well. “That language is a barrier to worldwide adoption of the sport is made clear by looking at what countries have a strong quidditch community: the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. All of these are English-speaking countries. It
recruit English-speaking fans abroad to act as liaisons and translators: a very feasible goal. Watch out, world. In addition to those cited above, thanks are due to Alberto Santillon of the Qwertyians QC in Tijuana, Mexico, Cowrin Falfus and Soraya Abbagnato of Paris Quidditch in Paris, France, for their assistance with this article. n
Do you know your cognards from your cazadores? French quidditch terms Batteurs – beaters Poursuiveurs – chasers Gardien – keeper Attrapeur – seeker Souafle – quaffle Cognards – bludgers Et vif d’or – snitch runner Arbitre – referee But – goal hoops Balais – brooms
Spanish quidditch terms Jugadores – players Guardián – keeper Cazador – chasee Golpeador – beater Buscador – seeker Aros – hoops Quemado – knocked out ¡Escobas Arriba! – brooms up! ¡La snitch está suelta! – the snitch is loose!
Phrases heard on the field Fonce! – go go go! Chope le! – take it! cours – run
Spanish exclamations ¡Pásala! – Pass the ball! ¡Cuidado! – Look out! ¡Espera! – Wait! ¡Corre! – Run!
Chinese quidditch terms 起飞！ Brooms up! 放出金色飞贼！ the snitch is loose! 犯规了犯规了！ Against the rules! 黄牌 ! Yellow card! 游荡时间结束！ The seeker floor is over!
Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012 33
THE CORE CONFLICT: WHIMSICALITY VS. COMPETITION BY DAN HANSON
Why You only need one reason for anyone to play the game, and there are hundreds of reasons to choose from. Once again, quidditch finds itself in a unique place in the world of sport. In this case, it’s because some of those reasons are perceived to be mutually exclusive. Can quidditch be a serious and competitive sport in which the championships matter, and at the same time, keep the whimsical, fun, sometimes Harry Potterbased elements that got the game started in the first place? This dichotomy has always been present in quidditch, back to the days when teams were required to wear capes at the World Cup (which was most recently the case at World Cup III in 2009). Some teams still go with capes, some go with joke or nonnumbers or fake names on their jerseys, and several rock tie-dye uniforms. Texas A&M has become famous for the shiny leggings that several players use as part of their uniforms. Western Cup champion USC’s jersey numbers include <3, 5, 5!!, ##, and ;-). A bunch of incredibly intense players charge 36
Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012
do we play quidditch?
down the field with front ponytails, and others wear pink tutus in high stakes games. Northeast, Southwest, West, internationally…teams everywhere have their whimsical side. Most, if not all, would surely argue that it doesn’t take away from their competitive demeanor. But what does it look like to the fan? David Gutierrez of Texas A&M—and the main figure behind the International Confederation of Broomstick Athletes (ICBA)—puts it this way: “Try to put yourself in the shoes of a 40-year-old man, who has never read the Harry Potter books or didn’t see any of the movies and didn’t have any kids to tell him about quidditch (scary life, I know). Someone tells this man to go onto the Internet, and to define what muggle quidditch is. So he signs on and ventures through all things quidditch. He sees the hundreds of Facebook groups, Twitter, the blogs, the Tumblrs, and the IQA site. There is talk of teams and tournaments, information which can only really be found on Facebook. There
are no conference tables, or standings, or progression of competition. Occasionally there are tables of match results posted on articles that quickly fade from the front page of the IQA site. Everything seems to revolve around social networks and tournaments whose results have no long-term meaning. To this man, the end-all be-all of quidditch appears to be the World Cup. As far as he can tell, anyone can go and play even if they have not played quidditch before. Do you see it yet? Quidditch was just a game that became a fad. If you won or lost at a tournament, it didn’t matter. So long as you could afford to pay for the next tournament, you could go. It wasn’t a sport; it couldn’t have been, because there was no measure of competitiveness in the long run. It was a game a bunch of students played at Middlebury that turned into a fad when it spread across the nation. The only time match results mattered was when teams were seeded for the World Cup. However, the level of competition was so unstandardized across the nation that it really didn’t
matter how you were seeded for the group stages of the tournament. If you trained in an athletic manner for the World Cup, chances were you’d at least make it to the single round elimination portion of the tournament. Quidditch teams’ results never really mattered.” Gutierrez is correct that quidditch neither appeals nor caters to the average sports fan. However, that lack of allure is not due to the whimsical elements of the team or games, or to any lack of competitive nature. The bias against quidditch can be traced back to its origins: a fictional sport in a young adult fantasy series. Those origins are also a commonly used justification for the whimsy in games, usually followed by something along the lines of, “We run around on broomsticks; it’s all just based on young adult fantasy books.”
THE STATE OF THE LEAGUE “Quidditch teams’ results never really mattered,” Gutierrez wrote. It’s easy to take exception to a word as broad as “mattered.” And while you may or may not agree with his point, David was right to use the past tense. Quidditch has always been a fastevolving phenomenon, but these days, it’s changing faster than it ever has before. From World Cup to World Cup, the number of
participating teams approximately doubled, and volunteering became more and more organized. Even with the move from Middlebury to New York, it wasn’t until after World Cup V that a new quidditch era was ushered in. The change was revealed in one sentence in Alex Benepe’s December State of the League Address: “Regional championships will become qualifying events for
sicality vs. competition issue has become more than just an argument. There is now a schism in the quidditch world: should the World Cup remain open to any and all teams, or should it be reserved for the best of the best? Benepe’s address got the typical range of responses—some were excited, some critical, and some mixed. But Andy Hyatt, a
It wasn’t until after World Cup V that a new quidditch era was ushered in. The change was revealed in one sentence in Alex Benepe’s December State of the League Address: “Regional championships will become qualifying events for World Cup.” World Cup.” That proclamation—along with the announcement of the bidding process to host the World Cup, marked the end of the era of isolation of the Cup to the Northeast and the end of accessibility of the Cup to all teams. Now that teams will need to qualify for the Cup, the whim-
ABOVE: EMERSON COLLEGE WAITS FOR “BROOMS UP” AT WORLD CUP V. (PHOTO: JAKE HINES) PREVIOUS PAGE: EMERSON COLLEGE WARMS UP. (PHOTO: JAKE HINES)
captain and four-time World Cup champion with Middlebury College, responded with an address of his own. “I can’t say that I’m enthusiastic with the way the game is changing. I think this divide is very clearly seen in how people refer to quidditch. Several times in [the State Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012 37
MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE CIRCLES THE FIELD BEFORE A MATCH AT THE 2008 WORLD CUP.
of the League Address], quidditch was referred to as a sport. Speaking for myself (and for a great part of the Middlebury team), we frankly do not see quidditch this way. Quidditch is a game.” Hyatt goes on to discuss the out-ofcontrol intensity of some of the games, the spirit-killing and fun-suffocating effects of institutionalization, and the regression of quidditch to become “more like any other sport.” Everything Hyatt says is outlined clearly and fairly, but the comments set off some uproar around the league. Many quidditch players cannot even tolerate such an anti-competitive perspective, especially coming from an important figure like Hyatt, the captain who led his team to the World Championship. Brad Armentor of LSU voiced one of the strongest reactions to Hyatt’s reaction (just wait, there are even more reactions to come). Says Armentor, “Whimsicality is obviously something that we all love about quidditch. I honestly respect anyone who plays the game because of it…Quidditch has already begun evolving into a more physical and athletic sport 38
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than in years past. Because of that, I think that the ‘come on man, we’re playing a game with a broom between our legs’ argument has become obsolete.” Hyatt’s classification of quidditch as a game rather than a sport is what bothers Armentor the most. “How can we even hope to become a legitimate sport when the champion of quidditch sees it as just some game?” Armentor and Gutierrez both discuss catering to people outside of quidditch and the Harry Potter subculture. They want to bring sports fans into our community and our sport into a wider community. Of course, the more the merrier, and ideally we would like to bring in all kinds of fans. But it’s up to us, the quidditch community, to shape the perception of quidditch, and that perception will in turn determine what kind of fans we bring in. To grossly generalize, quidditch is half Harry Potter, half sport. Nonetheless, the majority of our quidditch fanbase comes from Harry Potter, which has proved to be the far easier translation of fandom so far. Here’s the question that seems to be at the heart of
the whimsicality-competition dichotomy: do we shape the perception of quidditch as more of a sport to try to bring in new fans, players and volunteers, or do we stick to our loyal base and keep the Harry Potter spirit as strong as ever? The reaction to Hyatt’s reaction was largely public. Hyatt was able to watch the harsh criticism he was receiving unfold online, in a way that was neither behind his back nor to his face, but also sort of both of those at the same time. Hyatt’s reaction to the reaction to his initial reaction: “I was definitely a bit shocked at the vitriol I received...I still stand 100% by what I said in that post. I just wish it could have led to a constructive conversation as opposed to a shouting match…If I wanted to play a real sport in a competitive atmosphere, I’d go play soccer or baseball or basketball. I’m not denying that those sports can be fun, but at the highest level, fun is not the main object, winning is…With the proposed changes mandating a minimum number of qualifying games and year-long play, we’re going to be hard-pressed to keep
“There’s one big problem with the Internet, though. It makes it easy to be a douche.” quidditch laid back and accessible to everyone…For me, quidditch has more to do with my 11-year-old self waiting for an owl to deliver my Hogwarts acceptance letter than anything else.” That is a perspective that Armentor and others who want to win will never agree with. And Hyatt will never agree with the hard training and physical gameplay that Armentor and those of his mindset want to go through to win. By no means do Hyatt and Armentor speak respectively for all those who are more whimsical or more competitive, but their conflict did capture the nuances within the whimsicality-competition dichotomy. Hyatt thinks that quidditch should be as separate and different as possible from other sports, while Armentor thinks it should be modeled after sports like handball and ultimate. Hyatt imagines himself flying on his broomstick, while Armentor thinks of quidditch on the ground before the air. Hyatt says his least favorite part of quidditch is the World Cup, while Armentor lives for it. Their differences lead to an unfortunate conclusion: it would seem that not everybody in quidditch can be happy with quidditch’s next step.
THE INTERNET It’s through the Internet that this whimsicality vs. competition issue has boiled over. Quidditch’s headquarters are truly on the web: on Facebook, Tumblr, and the IQA forums, where players and fans interact with each other from all over the world, or from across the room with their own team. They figure out who the best players are, debate about the vague intricacies of gameplay, or mostly trail off into any number of tangents. Gutierrez says this is rare to find in the sports world: “In the two to three years I participated in club soccer, never did I come across a club soccer team’s Facebook group, a conference Facebook group, or any sort of social networking craze.” While a mainstream sport has major media outlets telling you what players and teams to root for, we have to do so ourselves through the
Internet, since the news doesn’t cover even close to the full scope of quidditch. There’s one big problem with the Internet, though. It makes it easy to be a douche. Quidditch news spreading through the Internet works sort of like telephone: really important facts are often lost from post to post. Information becomes a mess of judgments, opinions and biases masquerading as facts. “Alarmist rants and conspiracy theories have no place in quidditch conversations. They are counterproductive and rude. Period.” That’s according to UCLA captain and fan favorite Tom Marks. He goes on to say, “How do we balance the fun of the game and the competition of the sport? The answer, in my opinion, is strive to be the best at both of them.” Naturally, the Internet served as the battleground between Hyatt’s whimsy and Armentor’s competition. With sentiments reflective of each of their opinions, Hyatt respectfully urged for a drawback in intensity, while neglecting the widely held belief of Armentor’s that we’re in it to win it. Armentor did not hold back in his criticism of Hyatt’s post, calling him hypocritical and pretentious in stronger words. Tom Marks to the rescue: “This is where [Hyatt]’s comment comes from: A fear that the competition is going to make people forget how awesome pre-game hugs are, and a fear that the hugs will dilute the sport that some people, including myself and my team, work really hard at...We can hold onto how fun the game is without losing it as a competitive sport, but to do this we need to change our attitudes as a community, specifically in how we interact with each other online.” Actual fights in quidditch, which have been breaking out across the Internet more and more since the lead up to World Cup V, are always somewhat of a shock. People call out other players, teams, and even regions, negatively generalizing them. No matter how different and antithetical each other’s opinions are, quidditch has no room for negativity. When it comes down to it, we all want the same thing: to play quidditch, for quidditch to grow, and for no-
QQ asks: Where do you fall on the competitionwhimsy spectrum? “I’m fine with the whimsy as long as it doesn’t interfere with the game. If you want to have ninja games before brooms up, that’s your decision as a team. But I don’t want to not be able to hear my teammates on the pitch because there’s a band playing Harry Potter songs at level 10 volume 20 yards away.” —Mitch Cavender, USC “I love Harry Potter as much as/even more than the next quidditch player, but...the whimsy is what keeps people outside of the quidditch community from taking us seriously as a sport.” —Jacob Adlis, University of Texas “I think what keeps me around is not so much ‘whimsy’ as friendliness and acceptance. I’ve never played penguin quidditch and I’ve always been against capes, but when I’m not playing I hug anyone whose name I know and can shout across the event field.” —Matt Panico, University of Pittsburgh “Whimsy is what draws you in, competition is what keeps you in the sport. There has to be a balance between the two—whimsy draws the curious crowd, but the competitiveness keeps them in their seats.” —Stephen Smith, University of Florida “If it weren’t for the whimsy, I never would have appreciated the sport of it. They are both so ridiculously important to me. I just hope players will always be doing silly antics or wearing imaginary numbers or names on their jerseys.” —Anna Brisbin, NYU “I think intra-school competition should be a bit more whimsical, and tournaments can have some fun stuff attached, but inter-school play should largely be competitive and treated as any other sport.” —Kevin Peterson, Austin, Texas “If you actively try to ‘create’ entertainment, without at least making an effort to improve the sport itself, the extra attempts at fabricated whimsy will only end up distracting from what should be the main focus: quidditch.” —Mason Kuzmich, Texas A&M
Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012 39
A PERSPECTIVE FROM VASSAR COLLEGE BY CAMILA DELGADO-MONTES Vassar’s Butterbeer Broooers are well known, to quote Tumblr’s The Golden Snitchy, as “one of the nicest and most bizarre teams.” Since its founding, we’ve been firm proponents of hijinks (like seekers wearing pink tutus, cartwheels when we feel a game merits them), a general desire to try and be lovely people, and finally, a passion for sportsmanship and a clean game. So it has always perplexed and angered me that other teams have underestimated us because of our spirit. I was a captain when my team won fourth place in World Cup IV a mere year ago, so our talent should not be an issue. So why is our skill questioned because we know how to have fun? And why do people feel that “having fun” and “competition” are mutually exclusive? Vassar, at least, is a competitive team who plays for fun— indeed, there is no point in playing unless you are enjoying it. But lately, I have noticed matches debased by the urge to win, which, like Andy Hyatt mentioned, are like “competing in a fight to the death,” and matches and tournaments where ridiculous violence and rule breaking have been prevalent. Snitchy even said that “being extremely rule-abiding makes [Vassar] noble but not always practical,” and I had to pause for a second. Following the rules is not being noble; it makes you a decent person, and hardly deserving of the description “noble.” What is the point of playing a game if you aren’t playing cleanly and well? At that point, you aren’t winning because of your skill or dedication, but because you don’t respect the game, the rules, the teams, or even yourself to be able to win based actual work…instead, you end up relying on cheating and violence. “Winning at all costs” already warps people…but does it have to encroach on our beloved niche sport? I understand that quidditch is an aggressive sport, and that is part of why I love it so much! I enjoy tackling and being able to take a tackle. I enjoy baring my teeth, dodging and weaving, and how utterly physical our game is in a way that I never got out of basketball in school. But the moment we treat it like we treat other sports, we destroy what truly makes quidditch special. I decided not to play basketball so I could join quidditch, not just because I am a Harry Potter fan, but also because it is a special sport that was a perfect meeting place for the athlete and beginner, and because the family I found
Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012
in it has become one of the most important parts of my college career. If I had ever wanted quidditch to be like other sports, I would have stuck to basketball, gosh-darnit, and avoided the heckling from friends, family, and strangers alike. So why do people try to make quidditch like other sports? Do they feel insecure with the “quove” aspect? Why do we need to change ourselves to resemble the others, to become less unique, when these other sports already exist and have filled this niche to excess? Why take away the magic, the silliness, when it is exactly that which first made quidditch, and its prankster snitch, the great thing it is? Standardizing our beloved game, our sport, is like taking out the wings from the snitch, because bludgers and quaffles do not have them. Whimsy is what set us apart. Without whimsy, quidditch would become frightfully dull; it would cheapen us, and bring us down to the average sport. I personally am not insecure enough to have to justify quidditch to our constant doubters, or to change my playing style or the spirit of the game to “prove” myself to these haters: it is their loss if they cannot enjoy quidditch, and it is other teams’ loss, more than mine, if they think that “competition” cannot go hand in hand with “whimsy.” In this sense, the ICBA does not make sense to me, but I understand that they have a very different set of priorities than I do. However, while reading the arguments surrounding their split, I found that a lot of the complaints were regarding issues that the still-young IQA has already started working on, and that will thus be addressed in the near future. As such, I think that the split is far more one regarding the spirit of our game, than one of its administration, a split that lies precisely at this apparent discrimination against whimsy. I want the ICBA to prove me wrong, so I will be following their progress with cautious optimism. My hope is that if quidditch stabilizes, hopefully with the whimsy intact, and with the general ref and season concerns of the ICBA addressed by the IQA, they will reincorporate themselves into the general IQA and quidditch world. I will stand by and congratulate the ICBA for taking charge for their opinions and desires, so long as it comes with the understanding that my “whimsy” does not make me a poorer player, or my team less talented or competitive. n
“The problem to the average sports fan, and to the perception of our game, is not the whimsy. It’s that we justify the whimsy by discrediting quidditch as something less than it is.” body to get hurt. Disrespectful fights only stifle the game’s growth. One of most glorious parts of the game is that it can mean anything to anyone. Hyatt and Armentor could play on the same team, and both get what they want out of it. Before we worry about whether we will play in a more competitive or whimsical league, we should create an environment where any player or fan can be as competitive or whimsical of an individual as they want. The problem to the average sports fan, and to the perception of our game, is not the whimsy. It’s that we justify the whimsy by discrediting quidditch as something less than it is. Just because we’re running around on broomsticks doesn’t mean quidditch can’t be one of the most meaningful parts of our lives. In Armentor’s words, “Yes, we play with brooms. But we still play a sport. Competition is part of sport.” And in Marks’s: “I don’t want to lose how competitive this sport is, because every game we won gave me a sense of such pride that I can’t even describe. But I also don’t want to lose the camaraderie I have with even my biggest rival.” There is an incredible synergy created by the high stakes competition, our creativity to break the conventions of usual sport, and our creativity to make quidditch something so much more than it was in Harry Potter. Sorry, Jo Rowling, you made something seriously awesome—but we made it way better. 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.
RIGHT: A TEXAS A&M KEEPER TACKLES VASSAR’S KEEPER AT WORLD CUP V. (PHOTO: QUIDDITCHPHOTOS.COM)
Quidditch Quarterly â€˘ Summer 2012 41
WHO IS THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON IN QUIDDITCH?
But no, seriously.
BY DAN HANSON
ith the exponential growth of quidditch from World Cup to World Cup, World Cup V saw teams come in with solidly established reputations. Exciting teams like Texas A&M and Vassar were well known to the quidditch community, and their reputations bought them fans in the tournament. Then there were other teams that everybody wanted to lose, like… 42
Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012
hmm, I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head. In previous World Cups, people have been able to root for teams based on their brief history, or whether they know the school from NCAA sports, or whether they have cool uniforms. How do you choose whom to root for when you’re watching a sport? You have your favorite teams, but more often than not, you choose your favorite teams based
on your favorite players. You hear commentators talking about them, check out their stats, see them on highlight reels. But quidditch doesn’t have highlight reels, or stat lists, or commentators who know the players’ names. Dr. Dre of the University of Florida may have been the biggest star of World Cup V, as he lead his team to the finals on the back of his memorable nickname.
reputations as stars. The biggest change, however, has been the addition of one major figure in quidditch… Someone who seems to dedicate all of his time to the study of the game, and preaches that knowledge to us via Tumblr behind an unnecessary shroud of anonymity. I am speaking, of course, of the one and only Golden Snitchy. Snitchy is far and away the most influential person in quidditch right now, even more than Benepe, Alicia, or fellow anonyblogger Quinksy. In case you are unfamiliar with Snitchy’s blog, thegoldensnitchy.tumblr.com, he has several features, most notably Son of a Pitch, The Freshman, Drill of the Day, the Quidditch Yearbook. In Son of a Pitch and The Freshman, he highlights players and their skills. Drill of the Day gives teams and players suggestions for practicing techniques. And the Yearbook is a particularly creative endeavor in which he post submissions from all over the world about peoples’ favorite moments of the year. It takes his blog in a new direction, capturing the real emotion and culture behind quidditch. While he usually focuses on the competitive side, the Yearbook shows that there’s too many wonderful aspects of quidditch to even count, and competition is just one of them. But competition is the one that Snitchy highlights the most. Son of a Pitch is his main feature, and that is the one that makes his blog, for that is where he creates quidditch stars for the entire quidditch world. Quidditch stardom spreads through word of mouth, and though not responsible for all of it, Snitchy begins many of the discussions about great players.
Who is he? PHOTO: JAKE HINES
But since the World Cup, everything has changed. Players have shot from anonymity to stardom, and now quidditch fans can choose their favorite teams based on the players. Since certain regional Facebook groups have exploded with popularity, quidditch players nationwide now talk to each other nonstop about each other, and when the occasional quidditch-based conversation happens, players start to gain
SON OF A PITCH! I’M UP AGAINST _____ So I’m going to return the favor on behalf of the quidditch community. The Golden Snitchy finally gets a feature. Keep on breaking new ground and making our culture better! Anonymity isn’t easy, when quidditch is such a social world. Snitchy has somehow managed to superheroically maintain his secret identity. Whenever we’re at a tournament, he’s out there watching over us all, ready to soak in quidditch knowledge and
spread it to the rest of the league. Snitchy isn’t right about everything, but his quidditch knowledge is unparalleled. He seems to pay more attention than anybody else, so we are lucky to have such a dedicated source bringing us all this information. If he’s not at a major tournament, he’s live blogging the information he receives via live streams. And it’s not like he just watches games, either; he has mentioned that he volunteers. We can assume, based on his persona, that he snitches. Does he sneakily watch other games when he hides off the pitch? His expertise isn’t just limited to players, either. He likes to make predictions and reflections of tournaments, and has very astute analyses that sound like they come straight out of an ESPN column. He accurately predicted the result of every match in pool play of the Champions Series, even though some of those teams had never played before. He knows quidditch players and gameplay well enough to make those predictions confidently and correctly. That’s all without mentioning his groundbreaking creativity. He’s created an entire original media outlet, and his presentations take the entertainment aspect to another level. Just look at the Snitchy Games to see what he’s capable of. But who is this man? That’s all the info he’s given us, after all. He has a particular knowledge of Northeastern and Western players. But then again, he knows a lot about the Southwest… and the MidAtlantic… he basically covers everywhere. Some clues point to the Northeast, but who knows if those clues are just there to mislead us. I may be wrong (and I’m assuming he’ll correct me via Tumblr if I am), but I believe he is remaining anonymous so that his readers won’t think he’s biased toward any particular team or group. I can understand that, although I think it would make his opinions more legitimate knowing the source. But I hope he remains anonymous. It’s just so much fun to keep guessing.
WEAKNESSES: Stuff that annoys him. He spreads a little more hate than people deserve, being harshly critical of schools like Middlebury. With such an influential voice in the league, Snitchy needs to be careful that he doesn’t use that power to cause other people to be too judgmental of each other. n Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012 43
SON OF A PITCH! I’M UP AGAINST nine players to watch this season BY THE GOLDEN SNITCHY
“DR.” DRE CLEMENTS CHASER, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA U of F made it all the way to the finals of the last Quidditch World Cup, thanks to Dr. Dre. They had a good team this year, but you won’t be able to convince me that there weren’t a few other teams that maybe deserved to be there more. Dre is a powerhouse chaser and seemed to be the team’s primary offensive and defensive player at the Cup. There’s a reason everyone in the crowd knew his name—he did it all. He hits hard and charges down the field like a freaking bull. He’s got impeccable aim and a sharp eye for openings. Yeah, he got carded for neglecting to return to hoops after being beat, but when you’ve got the whole team on your back it’s easy to get a little flustered. I may not believe Florida deserved second at the Cup, but I definitely think Dre deserved all the positive attention he received.
WEAKNESS: He may not trust his team-
mates—he didn’t seem to pass too often. Keep your beaters and a few chasers on him and you’re set.
TYLER AMBLE CHASER, UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS Due to the huge hype around Kansas for being the number two team going into the Cup, I watched a few of their games to see what all the fuss was about. And I’ve gotta say, I was intrigued by them. They don’t have any of those big players that carry the team on their backs. What they lack in size, they more than make up for in brains. They 44
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just play smart, and Tyler, one of their chasers, caught my eye for his intelligent playing. Tyler wasn’t one of their vocal players, but he still appeared to be one of the team’s primary ball handlers. He is a skilled passer and knows how to use the size of the field to his advantage, either to find openings for himself or to get the ball to someone who can find an opening. What also interested me is his apparent lack of fear. There’s always that situation where the opposing team’s beaters are distracted and all that’s left to do is get past their chasers. Don’t ask me how he did it, as he’s not very large, but whenever faced with that situation, Tyler just powered through and didn’t let anyone take him down, regardless of their size. He never flinched or wasted time trying to avoid his opponents, which is huge in quidditch because even the slightest hesitation can make a large difference. Some chasers are major showoffs/ballhogs, but Tyler doesn’t appear to have a selfish bone in his body on the pitch—I agreed with every move he made. Perhaps brains really can compete with brawn.
WEAKNESS: Accurate beaters. He did a
good job steering clear of beaters, but once confronted, I didn’t see him make too many successful blocks.
ZACH D’AMICO CHASER, VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY First off, I’d like to say that I’ve seen Nova in three different tourneys, and they are definitely very underrated. Not everyone pays them the attention they deserve because they don’t have the variety of football or rugby-esque aggressive players that teams like A&M, Texas and LSU have. They run
more like a fine tuned soccer team, trading physicality for strategy. And at the helm of their team is the player I refer to as Zach “The Facilitator” D’Amico. Facilitators aren’t the hardest hitters or fastest scorers, but they are invaluable in teams that don’t have a plethora of those sorts of players. They are the wise playmakers on the field, the captains (regardless of whether or not they are the ones that bear the ‘C’ on their jerseys) that keep their teams focused and on task. Zach falls into the category of facilitator because he’s the most vocal on the pitch, and he delegates responsibilities amongst his teammates. While his postSnow Cup nickname “Goal” might give the impression that he’s only focused on scoring on his own, that definitely isn’t the case— there’s a lot more to him than his scoring ability. When he has the quaffle, he makes sure his players are spreading out and giving him decent passing options, and he utilizes those options, even when it means someone else gets the goal that could have been his. And when his teammates have the ball, he does the same—search for the spot that he’d be most useful in and get there as fast as possible… and he does have some pretty impressive speed behind him when he’s at his best. Not every player has what it takes to get past three chasers, two beaters, and a keeper, and when Zach’s on your team, you know that you don’t have to. He’s exactly where you need him to be, in the perfect position to score or to set a pick that’ll give you an opening. Villanova’s passing game is among the best I’ve seen and that’s due in no small part to Zach’s captaining and strategizing.
WEAKNESS: Hard hitters, as is the weakness for most players on his team. But that’s why they work so hard at careful positioning and passing—they excel at quickly getting the ball to an open player. But teams
LEFT: DRE CLEMENTS; MIDDLE: TYLER AMBLE; RIGHT: ZACH D’AMICO. (PHOTOS: DAVID LIN)
who keep a close eye on open Nova players and hit them the second they get the ball to avoid getting tricked by their quick giveand-gos will have the advantage.
MISSY SPONAGLE AND VANESSA GOH CHASERS, UCLA Some teams act under the belief that girls should primarily be beaters. Personally, I disagree with this assumption, and a quick look at many of the top teams in the sport would prove they do as well, but the fact remains that a vast majority of girls are beaters. This makes sense when you look at players like Brad Armentor (LSU), James Hicks (Maryland) and Eric “BearTrain” Andres (NAU)… because I can’t imagine many ladies being willing to try to take them down. But if you only let girls beat, you are ignoring a few important facts: 1. Girls who are willing to put everything they have into a tackle can take guys down too. 2. Girls can be as fast as guys with the right amount of training, and speed is just as important as strength. 3. Girls are every bit as passionate about quidditch as guys are and for that reason alone, shouldn’t be underestimated. Okay, so by now everyone’s heard about it. Missy Sponagle of UCLA took down
August Lührs again. Here’s why I’m not too surprised—you need to watch the way she tackles. There are several ways to take someone down. You can wrap someone head on, keeping your body at level height with your opponent, and spin them around onto the ground. You can run through them, hoping your speed and body mass can overpower your opponent. Or, the best way to tackle and the way Missy takes out her opponents…you can stay low to the ground, wrap your opponent’s lower body (below the waist), and boost up. This works especially well if your opponent is running, because their center of gravity is slightly off-balance. That’s exactly what Missy did to August, causing the guy who has nearly a hundred pounds on her to flip onto his back. As long as she tackles the way she did throughout the Western Cup (and I’ve heard she does), she’s always going to be a huge physical threat and players can definitely look forward to seeing her deliver some awesome hits. But she’s not the only UCLA chaser who deserves recognition—Vanessa Goh of UCLA also played brilliantly at the Western Cup. With every game I noticed how much UCLA was improving on offense (and I likely annoyed my followers with my frequent updates about it), and Vanessa was definitely a contributing factor. As the Western games got more intense, it wasn’t actually physicality that defined the victor of each match, it was accuracy. Wide shots and sloppy passes frequently led to fast
breakaways by the other side once those throws were intercepted. So it became more and more important to really make sharp passes to the right teammates, and that’s exactly what Vanessa did. She and Missy were fast and continuously handled the ball well, passing it the open players whenever they were put into a situation that they couldn’t get past an opposing player themselves. They were on the receiving end of several powerful run-throughs when they had the ball, but very rarely lost possession for their team because of a hit. UCLA’s final three games were practically perfect in regards to passing and retaining possession, and that's what earned them their well-deserved place in the finals.
WEAKNESS: Themselves. There were a
few times when I noticed that they could have taken the quaffle in to score, but instead passed the ball to one of their teammates. Now, the majority of the time this resulted in a goal anyway, but still. If you have a chance to score, take it.
AUGUSTINE MONROE KEEPER, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS I’ve stated several times my opinion of powerhouse keepers—players often nicknamed “the tank,” “bulldozer” or something like that to reflect their ability to use their size Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012 45
LEFT: MISSY SPONAGLE (PHOTO: JERRY WANG); MIDDLE: VANESSA GOH (PHOTO: MR. GOH); RIGHT: AUGUSTINE MONROE (PHOTO: QUIDDITCHPHOTOS.COM)
to beast their way through their opponents. They are wildly valuable in quidditch and can improve the quality of nearly every team. Augustine isn’t a powerhouse keeper. I doubt anyone’s ever called him “the tank.” My personal nickname for him is “Slipstream.” There’s one huge flaw in the “behind the back tackles are illegal” rule…players can spin and twist their bodies to bait others into breaking the rule. It all depends on the referee and whether or not they saw the bait move. Augustine uses this to his advantage and weaves through the field like some sort of river, unpredictably spinning and twisting to avoid front-on tackles. He’s slippery as a snake, and he’s so fast that even if you know his strategy, you find yourself helpless to stop him. He plays offensively, which as I’ve said before, can make a huge difference —using the keeper as a fourth chaser can really help you rack up points, and Augustine can play up without sacrificing defense… Texas has solid beaters and he knows when he needs to come back on D. Overall, he’s not your typical keeper, but he’s great at what he does. I’m also a fan of the hipster goggles.
WEAKNESS: Hard hitters. Keep an eye out for the ref, but if you get some solid hits on him, he’ll be hesitant to play up.
BEATER, UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER BEATER, LSU Harry beats for the Thestrals, and is a crucial part of their defense. Despite the fact that he occasionally pegs his bludgers at opponents full-force, Harry rarely loses bludger control. He’s extremely accurate, is quick to chase after the ball he just threw, and he doesn’t hesitate in charging after opposing beaters if they get to the bludger first. When the other team does have bludger control, Harry times his pursuit to retrieve a ball perfectly so his chasers will have an easy path past the beater of his choice. He’s the sort of support beater that all chasers hope to have—he can play up when you need the help, and if you slip up marking your opponent on defense, he’s there to take them out. While there are a number of great players on UR, Harry is one of my favorites and will help his team gain the recognition they deserve.
WEAKNESS: Fast chasers. He’s got a great long shot, but he does have a big enough wind-up that his throws can be predicted and avoided by those quick enough to jump around or block them.
As much as I want to call him Gambit because his name reminds me of Remy LeBeau and he throws bludgers the way my favorite X-Man throws cards, Kody’s actual nickname of “Sniper” is pretty damn perfect for him. Kody scares the crap out of me…he’s the sort of beater that has chasers slipping up before he even throws a ball. The mere threat of him being there is enough to evoke fear. He’s perfect at shortrange throws, but his true talent lies in the fact that he is very nearly as accurate from a good fifteen yards away. He throws his bludgers with such intensity that if you try to block, you’re losing your quaffle and the bludger is probably still going to hit you on its way down. LSU has strong defensive chasers who are great at wrapping other players and have the ability to slow opponents down. Even if it’s just for a few seconds, its helps Kody sharpshoot his targets from however far away he may be. If insane accuracy wasn’t enough, he’s also very fast and can often retrieve the ball that he just threw so he’ll be ready to strike again in mere seconds.
WEAKNESS: Beaters who follow their chasers up the pitch. Kody’s throws are so
Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012
LEFT: HARRY CLARKE (PHOTO: RIT QUIDDITCH); MIDDLE: KODY LABAUVE (PHOTO: QUIDDITCHPHOTOS.COM); RIGHT: DONOVAN MCNIFF (PHOTO: QUIDDITCHPHOTOS.COM)
intense that sometimes, after hitting their target, his bludgers bounce off his opponent’s body in an unpredictable manner. This makes it harder for him to recover his ball after throwing it. So it can occasionally be worth it to sacrifice a chaser to retrieve his ball.
DONOVAN MCNIFF SEEKER, CAL BERKELEY In my write-up for the Western Cup, I cited Donovan as the future of quidditch seekers, and while that seems like a pretty big claim, I still stand by it. Seeking has changed a lot since I first started playing this sport, because snitching has changed a lot. At first, snitches were mostly track runners and wrestlers whose primary focus was to entertain the audience and avoid contact with seekers, while occasionally dishing out a few good takedowns. So naturally, people with track backgrounds and long arms to catch snitches even during a brief grappling session became the best seekers. But now, snitches are expected to be better at physical contact. And that’s where Donovan excels. He’s got a sturdier build than most people in his position, so it’s hard for snitches to take him down. In fact, he does
his best work when they try to, because during their futile attempts to tackle him, he can just reach around and pull the sock. While I’d say his size and strength are his greatest assets, he’s still got enough agility to be able to make catches purely thanks to his speed. Another development in seeking is the concept of seek blocking, where seekers on a team that is in the lead by enough points that the opposing seeker can’t even catch the snitch just keep blocking the opposing seeker in an attempt to insanely inflate their team’s point differential. Donovan’s got experience as a chaser, so he knows how to make hard legal contact and uses that knowledge well. I’ve yet to see Cal really use him to seek block in that way, but I have seen Donovan actively and brilliantly defending the snitch when his team was down and he couldn’t catch it. Assuming Cal keeps strengthening their scoring line and can get to a point where they’re +40 with the snitch on the pitch, Donovan can help them get seeded incredibly high at every tournament they attend.
WEAKNESS: Weak snitches. Donovan’s
best when he’s going up against a snitch that can really hold their own. If the snitch can’t dish out any physicality and it becomes solely a running game, his primary strengths can’t be utilized. n
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LIFESTYLES Best places to visit on a broom this summer BY ZARA FISHKIN
Spent all year cooped up in Club [insert name of school library here] and need to get away from it all? Don’t let this summer slip away! Summer vacation is a time to stock up on exciting locales to brag about upon your September return to campus. If you want to make your team spit slugs in envy, here are a few destinations you’ve got to check out.
1. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
2. Warner Brothers Studio Tour
3. IQA Summer Games
Reasons to go: If you haven’t been here yet, you are probably a filthy mudblood. Either that or you have more important, practical, and economically responsible things to do. But seriously, you’ve got to do this. Buy a chocolate frog at Honeydukes, let your wand choose you at Ollivander’s, even fly through a virtual Hogwarts with Harry! There are few things more fun than the conversation your team uniform will spark with tourists as you stroll through the shops. “Is that a quidditch shirt? Which gift shop is it from? The IQA? Muggle quidditch is a thing? Do you fly? I’ve got to Google this!” If your family isn’t as big on HP as you are, don’t forget to tell them that with the cost of their ticket, they’ll have access to the entire Universal Studios Islands of Adventure theme park. They’ll come around. Tips: You might want to break into Gringotts to pay for this trip. Tickets and local hotels are pricy enough as it is, and once you get in, I challenge you to walk out of there without buying at least three overpriced souvenirs. Universal gets crowded in the summer months, so make sure to beat at least some of the crowd by getting to the park before it opens. As cool as the Ollivander’s wands look, they’re made out of resin; you’re better off sticking to Alivan’s.
Reasons to go: In March, Warner Brothers opened Leavesden Studios to the public. If you think you got a good behind-thescenes look at the Harry Potter Exhibition (still touring this summer in Singapore), you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. You’ll be able to see props like Hagrid’s motorcycle, walk through the Great Hall, and explore the real-life magic of the special effects room. The dreamy voice of Tom Felton will lead you on an audio tour, and get this: since you’ll be in England, the entire staff will have a British accent, too (#UKperks)! Since this is the first summer it will be open, you’ll get mad nerd cred for being the first person on your team to see it (except for that one kid on your team who studied abroad in England last semester and beat you to it. Sucker). Tips: While the cost of admission is slightly lower than that of Harry Potter World, the costs can add up here too: a souvenir broom will cost you about 400 bucks. Again, Alivan’s continues to be the way to go. A word of caution: only brave this journey if you think your firm belief in magic can bear the blow. Turns out that the real-life Hogwarts castle is only about five feet high…does that mean the basilisk was only a garden variety, very angry snake?
Reasons to go: While you’re in London for the studio tour, you might want to check out the reason the rest of the world is there: international magical cooperation. But just like Viktor Krum, the ~10,500 athletes competing between July 27 and August 12 have a bit more than friendship on their mind. They’re there to win everlasting glory for their nation. But don’t think that just because quidditch is not (yet) an Olympic sport that you can’t grab a little glory as well. The IQA expo matches will pit Team USA against the UK, Australia, and France. They’ll be sure to draw quite a few spectators—or at least as many as Olympic synchronized swimming. Yes, that is real.
4. IQA Headquarters Reasons to go: Like strip malls, cubicles, and watching people respond to thousands of emails? No? Okay, good. The IQA staff would probably not be too thrilled with me if I told you to swarm them at work. Tips: INSTEAD, send them pictures of you wearing a quidditch shirt in all the awesome, crazy places you’ve been this summer. World quidditch domination! Email pictures with the subject line “World Domination” to Alicia Radford with name, team, and location. Happy conquering! n
Zara Fishkin is a senior chaser at Tufts majoring in English with a minor in Mass Communications & Media Studies. When she grows up, she wants to be Peggy from Mad Men and have a swing set. In three years on the Tufflepuffs, she has experienced a concussion, a sprained ankle, and more happy memories than the concussion could possibly knock out of her. 48
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ILLUSTRATION: SARA WEISENBACH
The Pitch: Selling quidditch on college applications and résumés BY LAURIE BECKOFF
Applying to college, graduate school, or a job can be stressful. An applicant wants to mention all extracurricular activities, leadership roles, prior experience, and unique abilities. The competition is always tough, but quidditch can help you stand out on an application or résumé.
The Common App Every high school senior’s best friend and worst enemy. The Common Application, now used by most American colleges, contains a section called “Activities.” The instructions on this part say, “Please list your principal extracurricular, volunteer, and work activities in their order of importance to you.” If quidditch is a major commitment for you, put it toward the top. Be sure to list any leadership positions you have held on your team, such as captain, founder, vice president, treasurer, etc., as well as any titles you have if you have volunteered for the IQA, such as World Cup onsite volunteer (team liaison), editorial staff member, or state representative. Since the IQA is a nonprofit, you can classify a position in the organization as community service/volunteer. There is a small space for “Details and Accomplishments.” Provide a very brief description of what you have done in your particular role for your team or the IQA, like organizing tournaments or fundraising. There is also a section asking you to elaborate on one of your activities, so feel free to explain your involvement in further depth here. If you choose to discuss a different activity here but still want to talk about quidditch a little more, there is a place to upload a document containing additional information in the Writing section of the Common App. Write just a few sentences in that document containing a basic outline of quidditch, the IQA, and/or your team. Many colleges ask for more essays on their supplements. If a specific experience with quidditch fits a question well, go for it!
Interviews Whether for college or a job, you will have interviews at some point in your life, and if your interviewer is reading your résumé or inquiring about your extracurricular activities, you will be asked about quidditch (I had eight interviews this year and dis
cussed quidditch at every single one). Keep in mind who your audience is. Start with asking if he/she is familiar with Harry Potter. A young recent graduate who loves Harry Potter is likely to know exactly what quidditch is, at least in the books/movies, and may only require some explanation of how the sport is played in real life, or may already be aware of its existence. Someone less knowledgeable about the wizarding world may need more information. Keep it short and simple. Quidditch is a sport
Your interviewer does not need to think that [quidditch] is an awesome sport. He or she may think that it is the most ridiculous thing in the world, and that’s just fine. You just need to prove that your involvement is worthy of recognition. played on flying broomsticks in the Harry Potter series. People play it in real life by running around with brooms between their legs, trying to shoot balls through hoops. Emphasize the legitimacy of your work with quidditch. Your interviewer does not need to think that it is an awesome sport. He/she may think that it is the most ridiculous thing in the world, and that’s just fine. You just need to prove that your involvement is worthy of recognition. Note the physical intensity of quidditch. If you play quidditch, you are an athlete. Founding a quidditch team takes just as much effort, if not more due to its unconventional nature, as starting any club or team in your school. Serving as captain, planning events,
and raising money demonstrate initiative and skill. Stress these points, but also highlight the fact that quidditch is unique. You have the sort of experience they want from everyone, but yours was gained in way that distinguishes you from the crowd.
Supplemental Recommendations/References Many colleges will accept additional recommendations, besides those from teachers of academic subjects, and you can list references on your résumé. If an adult figure has a lot to say about your involvement with quidditch, ask if he/she would be willing to write a letter for you. For example, the faculty adviser of your high school’s quidditch team may give valuable insight into how you have managed and contributed to your team’s development and maintenance. If you have worked under a certain person in the IQA, that person may share information about your work ethic and fruits of your labors. Don’t worry about having the most impressive name on your letter or résumé—focus on getting someone who really knows you and can tell colleges something new and interesting about you. Quidditch started at a college and colleges remain its largest base. Hundreds of schools have teams, so admissions officers, administration, and alumni probably know about the team at their university. If you’re looking to talk to some current students at a college in which you are interested, try getting in contact with the quidditch team. Quidditch players are always eager to talk to potential recruits about their school. The college application process can be daunting and frustrating. Don’t be afraid to use everything you have. Be proud of your work with quidditch. Schools and employers are looking for passionate people, so show them how much quidditch means to you and how much energy you have put into it. Hogwarts would surely be impressed. You just need to find your Muggle equivalent. Good luck! n Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012 49
The QQ interview: Quiyk BY ABBIE RICKARD
uiyk first introduced themselves to the world in November 2011 at World Cup V. The small athletic apparel company specializing in quidditch gear showcased their wares at a colorful booth at the tournament, but flaunted their stuff on the field, where every snitch runner donned the official Quiyk snitch uniform, complete with their signature Velcro snitch tail. The simple and highly functional design of these revolutionary outfits exemplifies the kind of smart and thoughtful products Quiyk manufactures, including shirts, shorts, and custom uniform design and production (as worn by the Emerson College quidditch team at WCV, and soon to be worn by national quidditch teams at the IQA Summer Games in London this July). This boisterous startup is the brainchild of two Emerson College students who sought to improve the quality of athletic apparel available to alternative sport athletes, and saw an opportunity to tackle the industry with quidditch, one of the fastest-growing sports today. What began as an idea between two friends in the summer of 2009 has turned into a legitimate operation in just a few short years, and Quiyk has shown no sign of slowing down. I chatted with Matt Lowe, Eric Wahl, and Nadav Swarttz to learn more about what this young and ambitious company has in the works. Abbie: Hi everyone! Just to get started, could you each give your name, age, and your involvement with Quiyk? Nadav: Nadav Swarttz, 21, junior at Emerson, New Business Director. Eric: Eric Wahl, SENIOR at Emerson. Nadav: Ahh…I am a senior now. Sorry, old habit. Eric: I’m the Co-founder and Production Director. Matt: Matt Lowe, 21, going to be a senior at Emerson. Co-founder and Creative Director. Ryan Catalani is a sophomore and our director of Web Development. Abbie: So this sounds like an entirely Emerson-run operation, right? Matt: It is! We’ve had some friends here and there help out, but the main crew is all Emerson. Abbie: Could you describe what it is Quiyk does? Matt: Quiyk is an athletic apparel company specializing in alternative athletics. And right now our focus is quidditch. It is our goal to help the growth of the sport by standardizing and legitimizing the apparel of quidditch. Abbie: Do you foresee Quiyk branching out to other sports in the future? Nadav: We are dedicated to expanding and legitimizing quidditch right now but in the future we do plan to expand. There are many up-and-coming sports out there that could benefit from standardization of apparel, and we will be looking to help them. Abbie: Matt, I know you played quidditch; did either of you, Eric or Nadav, have any experience with quidditch before Quiyk? Eric: Yes, I played quidditch my freshman 50
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year on the Narwhals (a team in Emerson’s intramural league), and hopefully I’ll play again next year spring semester. Nadav: I did not personally but I’ve been an athlete my whole life and the opportunity to work on an athletic apparel company sounded awesome. Matt: Yeah, it was fun playing freshman year with Eric; we were a good duo on the field. A good duo when Zahir (Motani, another Emersonian) was on the field too! Eric: And then my basketball coach told me I couldn’t play. Abbie: But you’re hoping to return next year? Eric: After the season, yes. Abbie: Eric and Matt, could you describe to me how you came up with the idea for the company and how you went about starting it? Eric: It started about halfway into our freshman year. We were watching some house league (intramural) games and realized that kids were playing in gear that was not suited for athletics at all. We sort of just ran with the idea of standardizing quidditch apparel from there. Matt, anything to add? Matt: Yeah, I mean, the snitch shorts were a big thing for us and our entry into quidditch. We thought, there has to be a better way to do this. Abbie: That was a huge deal! Matt: We thought, for any sport to grow, there has to be standardization. So we just started brainstorming the summer after our freshman year about how we could go about improving quidditch. Eric: It was the one item that truly separated us from all other companies, pure
unique offerings to the sport of quidditch. Abbie: Well the snitch outfits have certainly taken off throughout the league. Matt: Definitely. We’re stoked to see it and hope to continue to outfit teams and schools with snitch shorts. We’re running with the idea of standardization and are looking to take that to ref uniforms next. Now that the quidditch community sees what we can do with the Olympics uniforms, we’re hoping to make the ref uniforms super duper rad. Abbie: Yeah, you guys designed the IQA Summer Games jerseys, is that right? Matt: We worked with the IQA to make those. Most of the designing was on their end since they wanted to be the main ones selling them, but we worked to tweak designs and stuff. We were mostly about the manufacturing of those. Eric: For the most part we did all the logistical work to get them made. Abbie: Can you guys talk more about how your apparel is manufactured? Eric: We are in the process of moving our manufacturing to LA, but in the past we’ve had individual factories that we source fabric from, do our printing (dye sublimation), and our all of our label and patchwork Matt: But all the Olympics stuff is being sourced and manufactured entirely in LA. That’s why I’m here this summer! Abbie: Were the other factories you worked with domestic as well? Eric: Yup, everything was done in the Seattle area. Nadav: We’re 100% made in the U.S.A. Matt: And proud of it! Nadav: Absolutely. Abbie: Haha fantastic! I don’t think I
LEFT: A LOOK AT QUIYK'S PRODUCTION PROCESS. RIGHT: ERIC WAHL, NADAV SWARTTZ, AND MATT LOWE. (PHOTOS COURTESY OF QUIYK.COM)
asked this before, when would you consider was the official “founding” of Quiyk? How long would you say you’ve been in operation for? Matt: Well we’ve “technically” been in business since November when we launched at the World Cup in NYC. But Eric and I have had a business license for Quiyk since the beginning of our sophomore year, or end of the summer after freshman year. Abbie: The World Cup was when you basically revealed your snitch uniform and your Emerson College quidditch uniforms. What kind of reaction was there from the quidditch community? Have you had other teams approach you about making their uniforms too? Matt: We have, and we’re still currently in contact with teams about uniforms. The biggest hurdle is a team being able to afford uniforms. We’re doing our very best to price things at a level where teams can afford them, but customizing small runs of product isn’t cheap (especially in the US), so we’re continuing to try to find a happy medium. We’ve found some new ways that we think are going to work well and we plan to release that at the end of the summer in time to prep for the fall season. Abbie: Very exciting! Could you talk about the entrepreneurship award you received from Emerson recently? (The Emerson Experience in Entrepreneurship, or E3, program holds an Expo at the end of the year to highlight student projects.) Nadav: We were lucky enough to win the E3 Expo this year. There were a bunch of awesome startups so we were really happy
to be able to win since the competition was so tough. We ended up winning the prize that E3 gave out as well as a lot of local press, which was great. Abbie: What kinds of effects do you think winning the E3 Expo will have on the company? Nadav: Well I think first of all, it gives us great credibility to be able to say we won this kind of competition. And then the prize money will help us launch a few new efforts that we’re excited about. And the press has been awesome. The press has been great to us and they’re very excited about what we’re doing and we’re grateful for it. Abbie: That’s great—congratulations by the way! Nadav: Thank you! Matt: [The E3 program] was also a great learning experience. We learned a lot and hope to take the lessons we learned into the real world to further Quiyk. Abbie: Okay, I know I’ve taken up more time than I promised, but one final question for you all (and I’m cheating because it’s a two-parter): What kind of an effect has starting this company had on each of you, and where do you see it going in the next few years? Matt: First and foremost: It’s just fun. It’s fun to be doing this with my best friends; it’s fun to create, to think differently, to do something new. It’s fun to do this for the quidditch community, to help bring them recognition, and to rethink athletic apparel for an alternative sport such as quidditch. Owning and running a business is fun, and being able to do what you want to do and see people embrace what you’ve created and
support your product is pretty amazing. Eric: For me, along spending time with friends, it’s been an incredible learning experience. We’ve done a lot of things that cannot be replicated in the classroom. Nadav: I want to echo pretty much everything they both said, and just add that I’ve always known I’ve wanted to run a business in one form or another, and having the chance to be part of that is simply awesome. There’s nothing like it and most importantly, like Matt said, it’s just a lot of fun. Eric: The fact that we have developed this from the ground up means we have been responsible for every aspect of growth. From marketing, to accounting, to sales. Matt: Word. It’s cool to know that we’re responsible for every aspect of this company, and everything that Quiyk has done so far has been by us (and the support of the quidditch community). As far as where we see it going...we wholeheartedly plan to continue this for as long as we can. Obviously the future is going to call for expansion, but we definitely want to take this as far as we can while we are still in college and beyond. Nadav: Also, I think we need to give the IQA a huge shout out because they’ve been really helpful for us and have given us lots of opportunities. Matt: Definitely. Keep your eyes peeled for more news and new gear from Quiyk in the future. To buy their apparel or to learn more about Quiyk, go to www.quiyk.com. n
Abbie Rickard is a former chaser for Emerson College, where she graduated in December 2010. She now lives in the Bay Area where she works at a start-up (duh) and is starting to become acclimated with the Best Coast quidditch scene.
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PLAYERS’ CORNER Getting into the summer swing BY ERIC ANDRES
s soon as school ends, you’re off. Off to work a summer job, off to enjoy a well-deserved break, off to finally get a tan after losing melanin from studying inside all day. But do you ever turn off your love for quidditch? It’s hard to look anywhere but the present when you don’t have school or academic responsibilities to worry about. However, it pays to look ahead in the game and start training for next season. Whether you live in a town where your whole team resides or are all alone with a feeling of out-of-state abandonment, keeping quidditch in your life will help soften the blow. Personally, I’m next to alone in my small mountain town of Flagstaff, Arizona. Being a mecca for snow lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, Northern Arizona University draws a large out-of-state student population. This is a great way to meet people from all over, but not very conducive to my summer plans for quidditch. As the coach of the NAU Narwhals, I got used to having 30+ players ready to knock heads and toss quaffles. But now that everyone’s gone home to play quidditch with teams in their hometowns (damn you, Dan Hanson and the Lost Boys), quidditch enthusiasts are few and far between. But I’m not giving up on staying in shape and keeping my throwing arm strong, and neither should you. Before starting any physical activity, make sure you’re stretched and hydrated. I’ll always quip, “You’ve just joined the 76% of Americans who forget to stretch before doing any physical activity,” a line from my favorite movie, Heavy Weights (1995). Warming your muscles with a short run for a few hundred meters is a good idea, as it 52
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will help keep elasticity in your tendons and muscles when you decide to stretch them. On the other side of that coin, making sure your body is hydrated enough is key. I’ve told my team, “I’m going to hydrate you even if it means I have to waterboard you” a few times, hoping to impress them with the importance of keeping your body supple and productive in blood flow. Humor aside, there is a noticeable and painful difference between running the morning after you drank water the day before and not. If you’re on your own or only have a few trusty chasers or beaters to accompany you, the first underlying training technique you want to pay attention to is cardio. Running, biking, and swimming are all useful ways to keep your heart in order and maintain, or even increase, a good level of endurance. Cardio strength and endurance relates to many areas on the pitch and will keep you subbing in for your teammates when the game is on the line. Based on your physical condition, start with light jogs that take you no more than a couple of miles at a time. You can spend a week to ten days doing light jogs once a day, but adding diversity to your workout will keep you coming back for more. Try adding a short bike ride before or after your run to introduce a more complete muscle overview in your workout. Some advocate “muscle confusion,” an idea that constantly switching the muscle groups you exercise will increase potential and performance of your body, but no conclusive evidence has been found to support it. At this point in time, the main idea is to keep your exercises varied and enjoyable. Steadily increasing your running and biking distances over time will increase your
short term endurance and strengthen your heart. To cap off your cardio and endurance training, add a swimming regimen midway through your routine. Swimming not only relies mainly on the strength of blood flow, but reduces the stress and impact damage on your bones and joints. A training schedule like this will not only keep you in shape and improve your fitness, but will keep you from being left behind come quidditch season. If you’re one of the lucky ones who enjoys the company of other quidditch players during the summer, here are a few drills you can use to keep your broom and ball hands sharp. These can be for three or more players and are used even in large practices:
The “T” Passing Drill Utilizing cones, or just roughing up a few spots in the grass with your cleats, mark four spots in a T pattern in front of you. From the first spot, walk five yards to the second spot and mark it. From there, move perpendicularly from the second spot five yards in each direction and mark the third spot. You will then have four marked spots that are all five yards from each other. Forming a line behind the first, or “bottom,” cone with your teammates, the first person will sprint to the second cone and cut in the direction of their choice. Once they have reached the second cone, the second person in line with pass it to the runner before they hit the third cone on the side they choose. Things to consider: The point of this drill is tri-fold. One, this will work on the runner’s cutting ability. Abruptly chang-
THE NAU NARWHALS LINE UP FOR PRACTICE.
ing direction in a 90-degree angle is a skill that chasers should have. Second, this drill helps the passer practice the timing of their pass and the ability to “lead” their receiver. Throw where they’re going to be, not where they are. Lastly, this drill helps ingrain broom hand switching skills into the styles of your chasers. If you cut right to the third cone, your broom hand should be your right hand. If you cut left, it should be your left hand. This reduces backhanded catching and improves ambidextrous use.
The “T” Extension An extension of the “T” drill, this instance serves to lengthen the drill distance and introduce and extra turn. Still using the first two cones, make a “Y” with the third cones by walking five yards in a 45-degree angle from the second cone each direction and mark those spots. Starting from the second cone again, walk ten yards straight ahead and mark the fourth cone. Your cone formation should now look like a diamondshaped lollipop.
Still begin by sprinting to the second cone and picking a direction. At the second cone, cut right or left and look back at the passer for a pump fake. Then cut and change direction at the third cone, heading for the fourth cone, in order to catch the pass. Things to consider: Make sure to switch broom hands every time you look for a pass. Abrupt changes in directions, or “cuts,” are also important at all points in this drill. Finally, the passer should be cocked and ready to pass when the receiver hits the third cone, and the pass should be complete at the fourth cone.
“Block Shot” This is helpful for chasers and beaters with their ball handling and grip strength. If you have beaters with you, add them in at the end of either of the “T” drills. This drill practices interaction between beaters and chasers who have possession of a bludger and quaffle, respectively. Standing about three to five yards apart, the beater
will threaten the chaser with their bludger, causing the chaser to put up a quaffle defense. The beater tries to get their bludger around the quaffle, and the chaser uses it as a shield. Integrating this drill into your routine will keep your hands used to gripping and controlling a ball, if not already improving your finger dexterity. Things to consider: If you just have one quidditch buddy to practice with, repeat this drill again and again after every quaffle or bludger drop to include muscle repetition and conditioning. These drills may seem simple and mundane, but using them as incidental training and combining all three results in an effective and all-encompassing skill drill. Try adding a set of hoops to the end of the line so that a chaser must cut, fake, catch, block, and score—all in one set. So, when faced with a summer that could be desolate without quidditch, don’t fall behind your teammates by not keeping your quaffle quandary quenched. n
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 53
Tackling safe tackling BY ERIC ANDRES
hether you like it or not, tackling is an integral part of quidditch. Styles of play may vary from region to region, but tackling still takes some form in each. That form is important in that it must stay consistent throughout, no matter the level of intensity the contact brings. Safe tackling techniques not only improve your tackling and defensive success, but prevent unneeded injuries for both parties. The problem with safe tackling is that there are a myriad of variables you have to take into account when going in for the contact. The fifth IQA rulebook does a generally good job explaining what not to do. As quoted from the rulebook, a tackle is legal when: • The player being tackled is in possession of a ball. • The tackle does not occur in the head, neck, or groin area. • Only one arm is used when wrapping up another player. • The tackle is within the peripheral view of the person being tackled, and is not made from behind. These guidelines present a player with a unique style of tackling. The tackler must account for the position of the ball, the proximity of headneck-groin zones, the sightline of the player, and how best to use only one arm to stop their momentum. Because of quidditch’s unique need for a broom, certain accommodations must be made. Here’s how: In order to initiate contact, your knees should be bent and your hips low, with your back or spinal column straight. Getting low on your opponent will give you a pivot position to drive them off their feet and backwards. The point of a tackle is not only to arrest their momentum, but bring them to the ground to prevent further movement. Taking them out of their stride by tackling up will ensure this. Your back is flat; your vertebrae are locked in a straight line. To illustrate this in your minds, ponder this: What’s better to poke people with? A bendy straw with many kinks and turns in it, or one of those straight and sturdy straws that Burger King uses for their thick milkshakes? Imagine your spine as a rod that will safely transfer your momentum into your target. With the addition of having your head across, this will reduce the possibility of spine compression while still using it effectively. Anything else has the possibility to injure you. Whether coming at the offender head-on or in their peripherals, the first step to include in your tackle is keeping your head in front of their momentum. You’ll hear coaches yell “head across!” Positioning yourself in this manner will better set you up for a one-armed grab, safe head position, and using the natural lines of your body to arrest their momentum. In conjunction with 54
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your head, keep your broom in front of the attacker. Positioning your broom behind them will spread your base of stability, therefore reducing your tackling strength. When teaching my players to tackle, I like to use a square piece of cardboard that is big enough to cover their shoulder, neck, and pectoral area. I call this area “the board,” or the position of your muscles into a flat space to initiate contact. Your collarbone, trapezius muscle, and shoulder should form a flat plane that hits your opponent. Practice using a flat board to find the right position for your arm and shoulder to make the plane. With your head in front, make sure you’re looking up as well. You should be looking across their body at the point of contact. A good head placement for quidditch is just below the offender’s sternum, or their solar plexus. Arm placement depends on what you’re able to do at the time and the hand that the ball is in. If possible, wrap your arm under your head and across their body, paying attention to including their throwing arm in your wrap-up. This way the offensive chaser can maybe get a bad pass off in time before he’s taken down. If you’re coming from their own throwing side, throw your arm under your head and around their ribs, taking command of their torso in your tackle. Keeping your head and spine straight and bending only your knees and hips will ensure a good basis for a safe tackle. Remember to include your “board” with your head upright at the point of contact to follow through with the safe tackle. Another instance in quidditch that requires safe contact is the concept of charging. Charging involves full contact from a defender with “clear intent to gain possession of the ball.” The difference between tackling and charging is the abovementioned “wrap.” Charging has a defender using their momentum to go through the ball-carrying player in order to dislodge the ball or knock them into a different direction, as opposed to committing to use their arms and take the offender to the ground. Charging is more common than tackling in many areas, as tackling is either not taught or taught safely. Per the rulebook, “A shoulder must not be lowered; however, shoulder-to-shoulder contact is permissible. Players must never charge from behind.” This can be described as an aggressive pick, or a concentrated and physical effort to get in one’s way. To safely charge, you must still use the “board” technique with your shoulder area, but take great care to only bend your knees and not your back. Keeping your back upright will reduce the want to lower a shoulder into your opponent, thus keeping it legal. Lowering a shoulder into your opponent as this point is dangerous to them, as the point of contact could severely bruise muscle and possibly break bones.
ALICIA RADFORD TACKLES A CHASER AT THE CHAMPIONS SERIES. (PHOTO: EMILY ARROYAVE)
Coach’s corner: USC Trojans coach Mitch Cavender highlights safe tackling in two main points 1. Always make sure your head is up so that you can see what you’re tackling. If you go in with your head down, you not only run the risk of not seeing your opponent move from his original position, but also run the risk of “spearing.” Spearing involves using the crown of one’s head to initiate contact with an opponent. It can lead to injuries ranging from concussions, spinal cord issues, even leading to paralysis or death. Sliding your head to one side or the other helps prevent spine compression. 2. A lot of players try to do some sort of weird clothesline to the offensive player’s midsection and try to throw them down. Not only is this ineffective, but it puts severe stress on the rotator cuff, which can cause shoulder dislocations. Players should be making contact with their shoulder/collarbone/trap area and using the arm to wrap around the player’s back. Mitch alludes to a problem that I know all too well about: poor tackling causing rotator cuff injuries. During World Cup V in 2011, I caught Kansas’s keeper at an odd angle as he ran by me, resulting in a shoulder dislocation and torn labrum for me. Mitch was at my side, helping me pop my shoulder back into its socket so that I could get back into the game.
A flat and even point of contact will spread the impact energy in a safer manner. Teaching safe contact in quidditch is as important as teaching your players how to throw and catch a ball. With a sport striving hard for legitimacy, it is important to include all facets of good sports conduct, including contact. Using your body to enhance the play of the game is a great tool. But with great power comes great responsibility, and it is everyone’s responsibility to make sure that no one has to spend unwarranted time in the hospital. n
BAND YOUR TEAM TOGETHER with official IQA headbands. Chaser. Keeper. Beater. Seeker.
Quidditch Quarterly â€˘ Summer 2012 55
A SNITCH HOLDS A BLUDGER BEFORE BROOMS UP AT WORLD CUP V. (PHOTO: QUIDDITCHPHOTOS.COM)
Troll snitches Five ways annoying snitches move the balls before the game begins BY WILL HACK
THE HONEY BADGER Unrelated to LSU’s Brad “Honey Bradger” Armentor, this setup is so named because, like a honey badger, the snitch just doesn’t care. She kicks the balls randomly around the pitch without regard for fairness or the convenience of the players. Presumably, the same snitch laughs maniacally from afar as the players rush forward at brooms up then stop and spin around in confusion.
THE BLOODBATH AT THE CORNUCOPIA Hunger Games fans will get this reference to a setup sure to bring carnage at the start of a game. The snitch stacks the quaffle on top of all three bludgers in a deadly pyramid, forcing everyone to rush to the same spot. Tributes—err, players—dive in head-
first, sacrificing their bodies (and common sense) trying to acquire the weapons they will need throughout the game. If any setup is bound to result in injury, this is it.
THE GENTLEMAN Honestly, this snitch is here to make life easier for everyone. Which is why he places the balls directly in front of you at the start of the game. Even if you don’t trip over that conveniently placed bludger right out of the gate, confusion is certain to ensue. And while one team got two bludgers and the other got the quaffle/bludger combination, both teams will complain out of habit that they got the raw end of the deal.
THE HIDE AND SEEK Imogen Heap fans love this maneuver, wherein the snitch removes the quaffle and
hides it somewhere along the edge of the pitch before taking off. Sometimes behind an audience member, sometimes in a trash can, always somewhere unexpected; snitches know no morals when it comes to hiding “that other ball you can score with.” Hey, at least this gives the beaters some muchdeserved time in the spotlight.
NOTHING Snitches are so tricky these days, sometimes what you least expect is...nothing. The snitch will run right up to you, jump up and down, pour water on you, and perfectly simulate the sound of a bludger being punted into the stratosphere. But when the brooms go up, all the balls are right where they should be. So if you can ignore the distractions and maintain constant vigilance, it is still possible that the opening rush will go exactly as you practiced it. n
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. 56
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Getting fit for quidditch BY LEAH SUMMERVILLE FARRAR
For a few hundred quidditch players around the world, the hard work is only just beginning. As the 2011-2012 quidditch season draws to a close, these dedicated men and women have decided to spend the first part of their summer working to Get Fit for Quidditch. Get Fit for Quidditch (GFfQ) is the brainchild of Connor Loch, a recent Penn State graduate who has spent the past year flitting about the Northeast as a non-affiliated “traveling snitch.”A former chaser and beater for the Penn State Quidditch Club, Connor came up with GFfQ as a social event for motivated quidditch players who want to lose weight or otherwise increase their athleticism. Centered around the facebook event page, which, as of this writing, has close to 350 attendees, GFfQ is a vibrant and thriving community. The event page’s wall is covered with a constant stream of activity: new participants share their current fitness levels and future goals while longer-standing members post near-daily updates on exercises, activities, and progress toward their individual goals. Motivational videos and pictures are uploaded, and suggestions for recipes and workouts are tossed around. Further resources are spread out over Tumblr, Facebook, and Google Docs in a sprawl of support and encouragement. At the heart of all this is Connor, the founder, administrator, and creator of quidditch’s first large-scale fitness event. QQ: Tell me a little bit about Get Fit for Quidditch and how it got started. Connor: Get Fit for Quidditch is a ten-weeklong event where anyone who wants to be involved can simply sign up and join. It started from a personal desire I had to both lose weight (for quidditch) and to donate money to the IQA, which is something I’ve wanted to do at least once for a long time. So I decided to combine the two: make an event that would estab-
lish a support community for those who want to get fit and help me decide how much to donate! What has the reaction been like?
The overall reaction was very positive. I was super worried that people might think I was just looking for attention or something. But instead I was getting messages and emails left and right from people thanking me for doing something like this. Out of nowhere people started posting “before” pictures without much reservation at all! I think everyone just realized that when you have such an awesome community as we all have in quidditch, there was no need to worry about being judged. What really surprised me was the overwhelming amount of people who wanted to participate. I mean, I was hoping for maybe 50100, realistically expecting 20…but 300? That’s just insane! Now GFfQ is becoming its own sub-community. Quidfit (which is now a Facebook group that will be meant for ongoing support beyond the event) is one, and I just saw a post that included [the hashtag] #Quidfitproblems.
Changing gears a bit, but a really big part of this for you is the donation aspect—you’ve promised to donate $5 US to the IQA for every person who loses 20 lbs, up to 100 people. What inspired you to donate your own money as an incentive like that? To be perfectly honest, I’ve never really donated my time or money to anything before. It was never a requirement at my high school like most high schools, and I’ve always worked to supplement my school expenses so that I never had any
spare money to give back to any kind of organization. So I always said that when I entered my career as an actuary, I would finally try to start donating. And what better organization to donate to then the one I am a part of and has created such an awesome community? It seemed a no-brainer, really.
The quidditch community has meant a lot to you, both during and after college, and it really seems to have embraced this event. Do you see GFfQ and programs like it having a longstanding place in the quidditch community? I would hope so! I’m not entirely sure it will be longstanding, but I would like to see it become a yearly summer event. It’s definitely something that people who are missing their quidditch community as they return home from school can latch on to so they can still feel that sense of community even when far away from their teams. I intend to do some kind of survey to see what they think of this event at the end, and see if they would like this to become a yearly event.
Having GFfQ as a yearly event would be really cool! It’s great to see quidditch inspiring great initiatives like this, and I think you have done an amazing job. Is there anything else you’d like to add? All in all, I’m very grateful to call myself a member of the quidditch community. I really thought that when I graduated from college I would lose that community because I was no longer on a team. Thankfully that hasn’t happened, and I hope it never does. Because I truly “quove” all of you! n
Gwen Macchione gets fit for quidditch Gwen Macchione is the keeper and vice-captain for the Edinburgh University Holyrood Hippogriffs from Edinburgh, Scotland. A participant in Get Fit for Quidditch, Gwen is using the program to help her meet several fitness goals, including losing weight and getting better at distance running so she can start snitching… hopefully at a UK tournament soon! To reach those goals, Gwen says that she’s “been focusing on eating healthier, which can really be a challenge considering what my school cafeteria offers, and getting some exercise in daily.” To get in her exercise, Gwen doesn’t just limit the exercise to gym time; “I do sit ups or push ups after finishing reading a section of my textbook,” she says, and she’ll “go for a long walk
on Arthur’s Seat (the mountain in the middle of Edinburgh)” when the weather is nice. Get Fit for Quidditch came at the perfect time for Gwen, who had already decided to set some quidditch-related fitness goals before committing to the event. “I had already decided to get in shape for quidditch and had posted an announcement on my Tumblr that I was going to record my progress publicly. I then tweeted it and it was retweeted by the IQA.” As for the public nature of working out and bonding through Facebook? Gwen admits that she did have some reservations at first about publically putting her name out. But then she figured that anyone who learned about the event would already be a part of quidditch. “I feel
that the public nature is a positive aspect since it gives motivation and there is the pressure to not give up. However, there is the possibility of abuse and ridicule but I think it will be fine as long as the administration keeps a lid on any ‘trolling’ that may occur.” So far, though, Gwen hasn’t had any issues, something that she says she is due to the quidditch community itself. “I find all the participants are very supportive of each other. I was almost surprised by this. I did track and field for three years (throwing shotput) and found that the other girls would ridicule girls who weren’t in shape. The quidditch community is much more supportive and I’m glad to see this reflected in GFfQ.” Quidditch Quarterly • Summer 2012 57
Like Connor, Gwen is excited about the idea of GFfQ, and programs like it, becoming a regular part of the quidditch community and
perhaps a summer-long, annual event. “I think it’s a great way for less athletic quidditch players to get in shape and be supported while doing
so,” she says. “In addition, there are a lot of very knowledgeable players who are doing GFfQ and they are very helpful when one needs advice.” n
The mixed tournament BY LEAH SUMMERVILLE FARRAR
Quidditch is growing quickly. There are over 500 teams now recognized by the IQA, and more are forming every week. Though the majority of these teams are still college-aged, a marked and significantly growing minority are high school teams. One of the clearest signs of the growing popularity of quidditch with the high school population was the addition of a high school division to World Cup V, held on Randall’s Island this past November. The expansion of quidditch to high schools is wonderful for both the current state and the future of the sport. Experience playing on high school teams will increase the talent of future quidditch players, add vibrancy and further depth to the sport’s culture, and will help sustain quidditch’s popularity. However, a new conversation has sprung up as high school teams increase in numbers—one centered around the increasing frequency of high school and college teams playing against each other in mixed tournaments. Of the thirteen tournaments listed on the IQA calendar for the month of April, nine had only college and/or community teams registered, one was a high school tournament, and three had at least one high school team registered to play. Though college-only tournaments may still be predominant, mixed tournaments are a developing phenomenon. Probably the most significant reason for the growth of mixed tournaments is the relative geographic scarcity of teams at both the high school and college level. Without enough high school teams in the area, entering college tournaments may be the only way for high schools to get game time. Likewise, if a college tournament needs enough teams to fill the pool play brackets, then allowing interested local high school teams to enter makes sense. Whether or not mixed tournaments are appropriate, however, is a different conversation. Mixed tournaments help promote the community nature of quidditch, and they can foster some wonderful friendships and mentorships across age boundaries. Conversely, some feel that the dangers of having young adults and adolescents play against each other and older players in a rough, full-contact sport very much outweigh the benefits. The geographic issue is one that Jefferson Dedrick understands. Jefferson is the captain and co-founder of the WEQL Griffins High School Quidditch Club, a predominantly high school-aged community team from Allegany, NY. So far, Jefferson’s team has only played in mixed tournaments. Unfortunately, the Griffins don’t have the opportunity to play high school teams on a regular basis. According to Jefferson, there are only two established high school 58
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teams in Western New York; one team is forming and there is one team in Central New York. Given distances of an hour or more between the Griffins and the other established teams, they haven’t really played each other outside of a few mixed tournaments. Fortunately, all the high school teams do plan on playing in their first high school-only tournament in May. Danny Mendelson’s team, the Briarcliff Nearly Headless Nicolas Cages, from Briarcliff Manor, NY, has a bit more experience in the high school bracket. Briarcliff played in the high school division at World Cup V, and has hosted a predominantly high school tournament, the Briarcliff House Cup. “There are plenty of high school teams in our area,” Danny says, “but I honestly think it’s more fun to play college teams. It gives you something to look forward to when you graduate. I also think that playing college teams really benefits your team because you’re, in most cases, playing a more advanced team and you have to play really hard to keep up with them.” Having to play harder against a college team is an assertion that Jefferson shares. “If you’re a high school-level team, and you’re looking to play against college teams competitively, it’s not something you can do once a month,” Jefferson insists. “You have to be always willing to improve yourself, your game, and your peers… you have to be able to pick yourself up off the ground after someone three years older than you overpowers you, spins around you, or runs past you at a crucial part of the game. If you’re going to play at a higher level, you’re being held at a higher standard, and you have to live up to that.” Of course, that ‘higher level’ is the cause of concern for many about the potential dangers inherent in mixed tournaments. “The main argument I’ve heard against mixed tournaments,” Danny says, “is the tackling aspect. To be honest it’s mostly from the parents of players on the high school teams that are nervous about sending their kids off to play older people.” Given the age difference between college and high school players, parents’ concerns aren’t illfounded; particularly if the high school team has 8th graders on the roster, as some teams do.
Most players on high school teams range in age from 13 to 18 years, while college players are frequently in their twenties. With such a large gap in the physical size and maturity between the youngest and oldest players, it is easy to see how younger players could potentially face injury. However, Jefferson is adamant that the fullcontact nature of quidditch shouldn’t be, and isn’t, an overwhelming concern. “When we go on the pitch as high schoolers playing [against] college [teams], we expect to take and dish out just as hard of hits and as fierce of playing as the other team.” Though Jefferson does say that college players are “obviously a little stronger and a little faster than [high school players], we try our hardest. I’ve never got any complaints from teams, nor do I think that any of them have ‘taken it easy’ because we’re high schoolers.” Confidence doesn’t mean that care shouldn’t be taken, however; something that both Jefferson and Danny insist is important to successful mixed play. Jefferson is careful to speak to other teams about the age gap when necessary. During the Blue Devil Invitational, the 8th grader on Jefferson’s team wanted to start, so as captain he went over to the other team’s captain before the game and “pointed out that she was 13, and they were, you know, 10+ years older than her.” The game—and age difference —went without issue. However, while Mendelson agrees that communication is the key, he is a bit more reserved about the issue of tackling. “I think [tackling] can be a concern,” he admits, though he doesn’t think it should be an impediment. “At our tournament [Briarcliff ’s Second Annual House Cup] we’re telling the college players that they can tackle just as long as they’re safe and aware that they might be playing teams that aren’t as used to having their faces meet the dirt... Players just need to be smart about how they play and play safely. As long as that happens, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with a mixed tournament.” Communication, like Jefferson and Danny mention, could potentially answer many of the problems inherent in the age-physicality gap. Certainly, as long as younger players and their
parents or guardians know the risks and communicate with the college teams, then it is the high school student’s choice and responsibility when entering a mixed tournament. However, it should be considered whether it is fair or appropriate to the college teams to ask them to assume responsibility of playing against younger players. In the issue of safety in mixed tournaments, a great deal of attention is given to the younger, high school players. However, when teams are unmatched in such a way, the burden of safety falls on the older player. They must consciously and continually check their own strength and the style of play that they are used to to prevent injuries. Furthermore, it can potentially be a legal burden on the college student; particularly if a much younger player becomes injured in a game or scrimmage. Every state has its own laws regarding the safety of those under eighteen. In New York, Article 260 of the Penal Code defines a person as guilty of “Endangering the Welfare of a Child” if he or she “knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than seventeen years old or directs or authorizes such child to engage in an occupation involving a substantial risk of danger to his or her life or health.” This law and laws like it are typically invoked in more serious cases of abuse or misconduct, but they are also very vague. If an older player injures a young high-school player, then that older player, unfortunately, could be held legally accountable under the law, given that quidditch is full-contact and can be quite aggressive. It is an outcome that seems (and hopefully is) preposterous, but it is still a very present possibility, particularly when 21- or 22-year-olds are asked to play against 14- and 15-year-olds. Although with communication and proper training, high school and college teams can play each other with a reasonable expectation of safety, there will always be a very real danger for both sides should something go wrong.
support. As Jefferson explains, “At every tournament we’ve been to, we’ve had a friendly face come up to us and start with a, ‘Woah. You guys were way better than we expected,’ which would morph into a mini-quidditch lesson with all of our team gathered around the college player who would be explaining a standard tactic or quidditch rule of thumb. Beyond that, we also
Looking beyond all this talk of potential for injury and liability, one of the greatest positives of the mixed tournament model is the chance for community, and for education. When college and high school teams play in the same tournament, the high schoolers get to benefit from the older player’s knowledge, while the college players can help nurture the future of their sport. Both groups get to benefit from knowing and interacting with people from a different stage in life. Every time we reach out beyond the limits of our own social group, whether the boundaries are formed by location, age, or preference, we learn more about ourselves and the world. We get a different perspective. One of the best things about quidditch is the way it brings people together from different groups (athletes, fans, mischief-makers, the idle curious, and more) and forges them into one team. This community-building bond is something that both Danny and Jefferson whole-heartedly
get more walls to post silly posts or pictures on. Just a couple weeks ago one of the Griffin’s statuses was attacked by [players from] RIT, University of Rochester, Edinboro University, and SUNY Fredonia all trying to convince [our] player to come to their school and play for their team upon graduation from high school.” Danny also experienced this welcoming atmosphere with his team. “High school teams,” he says, “get better by playing more advanced teams and the college teams get to adopt pupils. In the World Cup’s team village, which was mixed, we befriended some of the best athletes and nicest people we’ve ever met. Briarcliff Quidditch is now the sister quidditch program of both Texas Quidditch and VCU Quidditch because teams of college and high school levels were put into a tournament together.” Though communities can, and do, form internally in the different age groups, as Danny succinctly puts it, “There can be an internal community of high
school teams, but it’s just not as fun.” There are other options for the formation of communities in quidditch that side-step some of the concerns about mixed tournaments. One such option is the new Mentorship Program that the IQA’s Development Department has unveiled, where established teams (high school and college) can act as ‘mentors’ to starting
DARIEN HIGH SCHOOL PLAYS TRINITY HIGH SCHOOL AT WORLD CUP V. (PHOTO: QUIDDITCHPHOTOS.COM)
“High school teams get better by playing more advanced teams, and the college teams get to adopt pupils. In the World Cup’s team village, which was mixed, we befriended some of the best athletes and nicest people we’ve ever met. Briarcliff Quidditch is now the sister quidditch program of both Texas Quidditch and VCU Quidditch because teams of college and high school levels were put into a tournament together.” teams through sharing experience and tips. Sister programs, like the informal ones Briarcliff has established, can be great options. Nothing says that high school teams playing in a separate bracket at a tournament cannot still interact with the college teams off-pitch. As more and more teams are established at both the high school and college level, we are likely to see more and more high school tournaments starting to appear over the next few years. However, mixed tournaments are likely here to stay for quite some time. Beyond questions of community and tackling, the scarcity of age-appropriate teams will continue to lead high school teams to register for college tournaments, and vice-versa. This is an opportunity for teams to learn from each other and build connections and friendships. It is also an opportunity for careful direction and thought about how to make our sport grow into something that is safe and nurturing for all. n
Leah Summerville Farrar played in World Cups III and IV as a beater for St. Lawrence University, before graduation forced her to retire in 2011. Refusing to let quidditch leave her life, she got involved with the PR team for World Cup V, and is now putting her English degree to use as the IQA’s PR director.
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