The Rise of Florida’s Finest: A #Hypetrain You Can Get Behind
(Note: a southern Snitchy-informant contributed to the reporting in this article)
- UF: Great coaching. UF made great pre- and in-game adjustments against FFQC, demonstrating the best teamwork of any team at the tournament, as well as the best ball movement. Their infamous star Dre is still around, but UF’s coach has done a great job building a complete team recruiting and developing players in the offseason. Their starting keeper Zachary Thorne drove and handled the ball great making great reads on both offense and defense. They ran a mixed beater line, most of the tournament, but switched to two male beaters in the finals, forcing FFQC to do the same.
- UM: Sean Beloff played every minute of all three games, as he and Steven Ralph are the only returning top tier quaffle players on Miami’s roster. David Moyer has done a solid job training Anthony Feldman to be his seeker sub. Noticeably missing from their roster was beater Jennifer Baumgartner. Also notable was Miami’s decision to head home after losing to UF, withdrawing from the bracket - many believe that they would have stayed had they not lost, but Miami claimed that they had a long drive and didn’t wish to play games in the dark.
- USF: While this team is still developing their beaters, they benefitted from a full roster and frequent line changes. Their seeker Zach Mouriz managed clutch catches during pool play, helping this team stay on the South’s radar.
- EFSC: Despite getting blown out by most teams last season, EFSC managed to stay in range with top teams like USF and FSU, only losing by snitch catches. If they can get their seeker game going, they can be a bracket buster in the south.
QUIDDITCH LIFE AFTER COLLEGE: The Thundercats
- Name: Thundercats Quidditch
- State: California, USA.
- Years/Months Since Founding: Founded in March 2013 as “Sierra College” but changed to “Thundercats” in July 2013.
- Exact Location and Time of Practices: Sundays at 11a.m., at Sierra College - 5000 Rocklin Road, Rocklin, CA 95677. The field we play at is in between the football and baseball fields, right next to the solar panel parking lot.
- Captains: Logan Trudell, Brandon Riley
- Contact Information: https://www.facebook.com/SierraCollegeQuidditch OR firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tounaments Participated In: Stanford Cinco De Mayo Cup 2013 (3rd Place), Back 2 Firemercs (Logan Trudell: Red Team/Champions, Nebraska Huggins: Green Team). We plan on attending several tournaments this season, including Regionals.
- Local Competition: UC Davis. About 2 hours away: Stanford, Skrewts, Cal, San Jose, Golden Snitches.
Comparison Of This Season’s “Regional All-Star” Community Teams
"Analyst" predictions for this season are already coming out, and many people are predicting the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, West and Southwest’s new star-studded community teams to win their Regionals, with some going as far as to say that those teams are contenders to win World Cup VII. This is perhaps the easy prediction to make when you see a bunch of big names popping up on a team and have virtually no clue what collegiate teams will look like this year, but putting your money on a community team this early means you’re ignoring the drastic impact chemistry and one or two amazing new recruits can have on a team. So while I won’t say I see the Massacre, NYDC, Massacre, Lost Boys and Lone Star QC all facing off in the Cup semifinals (come on, teams like Baylor, A&M and USC barely lost anyone of import), I just wanted to compare each team, piece by piece, to see which community team would reign supreme if they were to go head-to-head this season.
QC Boston: The Massacre
Probably the most controversial community team out there due to its willingness to poach players from Emerson while they are still attending the school, the Massacre did a solid job of acquiring nearly every big-name Boston-local available. Ben Nadeau, Jayke Archibald and Zach D’Amico are all known for their strategic passing and agility, and under D’Amico’s leadership, this team’s offense could at times look as crisp as vintage Villanova, complete with impressive long passes, alley-oops, and calculated movement. However, none of those three are known for being that great at getting past physical defenses, with D’Amico being infamously concussion-prone. Luckily, they do have a few of the region’s strongest defenders, such as Kedzie Teller and Victor Viega, and in the Northeast, that’ll help them do well against a majority of teams. The Massacre also lucked out when UCLA beater Kara Levis moved across the country, and combined with Bobby O’Neil, they might have one of the Northeast’s top beating duos - we’ll just have to see how well they work together.
With UMD, Nova and Penn State losing several key players this season, NYDC is probably a very safe bet to top the Mid-Atlantic this season: Villanova is losing two of their original players, Greco and D’Amico. Penn State is losing Parada. UMD will likely benefit from the loss of Hicks, as he was the cause of countless bizarre turnovers in each of their World Cup games, but losing players like Patrick Rardin and Josh Marks will mean that unless they can get a few large quaffle handlers, the old regional giant will suffer in the physicality department. NYDC is most well-known in preseason write-ups for its strong keeper line, as it features NYU’s long-shooting John Gaffigan and Penn State’s Michael Parada, who returned hype to his name after a dominant performance in three fantasy tournaments. They also have an excellent seeker rotation, thanks to Freddy Varone and Billy Greco. Taylor Crawford, Tim Keaney, and Alex Linde are all exceptionally underrated Northeast chasers, with Crawford being an excellent tackler who is skilled at driving a quaffle to the hoops and Keaney and Linde being superb passers who know where to space themselves on a pitch. Most doubts concerning this team are revolving around their beaters and the fact that they’ll have trouble all practicing together.
UCLA lost several players from its starting line this season (including both of its top female chasers, forcing the team to stop using it’s well-known two male beater line) and USC was dominated by the Lost Boys in the Sweet Sixteen of World Cup VI (granted, David Demarest, one of their top chasers, was not in attendance), so many eyes are on the Lost Boys to top the West this season. Tony Rodriguez’s elite hoop defense is the best counter for UCLA keeper Zach Luce’s long shots, Steve DiCarlo bested NAU’s infamous Porter Marsh at WxSW last season, Vanessa Goh is the region’s strongest female chaser, and Jeff Lin is one of the best point defenders. They’ll also have Peter Lee - yes, you read that correctly, FireMerc’s MVP and one of the sport’s top beaters - and Chris Seto dominating the bludger game. Several of their players are working on improving their utility, so the team will have more depth than some may expect.
Lone Star QC
LSQC has been slowly leaking their roster this week, and almost every day has had one reveal that’s dropped jaws across the country. So far, it’s looking like a true Team USA, with World Cup VI champions Kody Marshall, Simon Arends, Stephen Bell and Sarah Holub leading the offense and World Cup V semifinalist beating duo Reed Duncan and Mollie Lensing leading the defense. Their starting line is probably the best in the country, but then you look at their second line… and it’s just as deadly. Kansas’ Connor Drake and Ronell Sharp, along with champion Chris Morris and A&M’s Nichole Galle rocking the quaffle game, with champion Hope Machala beating? That line could qualify for the Cup in probably every region. They’ve got plenty of utility players who can seek, so there are no huge noticeable flaws in this roster. However, since they’re spread out throughout Texas and won’t get to practice as much as teams like Baylor (the Regional champs who barely lost any players), it’s hard to say if they’ll have the chemistry needed to put on the dominant performance many are predicting early in the season. Don’t put too much money on them winning SW Regionals just yet.
Keeper Comparison (top from each team):
- Victor Viega (Massacre)
- Michael Parada (NYDC)
- Tony Rodriguez (Lost Boys)
- Stephen Bell (Lone Star)
Just look at that list of keepers. Each of the anticipated “regional powerhouse” community teams features a keeper who is among the top in their position, and two are on most lists for being the top keeper in the sport overall. When it comes to physicality, Rodriguez and Viega top the list. Hoop defense goes to Rodriguez and Bell, as does ball distribution on offense. Experience and strategy goes to Parada. But overall, Lost Boys and Lone Star are the strongest community teams when it comes to starting keepers.
Chaser Comparison (anticipated starting line):
- Kedzie Teller, Jayke Archibald and Vic Kelman (Massacre)
- Taylor Crawford/Tony Greco/Steve Minnich, Tim Keaney/Alex Linde, Missy Hanley/Casey Sabal (NYDC)
- Jeff Lin, Jake Tieman, Vanessa Goh (Lost Boys)
- Kody Marshall, Simon Arends, Sarah Holub (Lone Star)
I assume the first three teams will aim to use a lineup that consists of one solid point player, one skilled off-ball player and one female chaser, and Lone Star will use their UT line because… last year it proved to be the best in the sport. When it comes to point defense, Lone Star wins with Lost Boys and Massacre close behind it. Off-ball male chasers again goes to Lone Star with Massacre in second. Female chasers goes to Lone Star and Lost Boys equally. Offensive synergy goes to Lone Star and Lost Boys. NYDC’s starting line should probably prove capable of doing well in the NE and M-A, but with so few of their players proving over the years that they can excel against elite defenses, they’ll have a hard time if they go against any of these teams. Overall, since they’re basically the exact starting quaffle lines featured in the World Cup VI finals, Lone Star has the top chaser line, with Lost Boys in second.
Beater Comparison (top duo from each team):
- Kara Levis and Bobby O’Neil (Massacre)
- Amanda Dallas and Bryan Hall (NYDC)
- Peter Lee and Chris Seto (Lost Boys)
- Mollie Lensing and Reed Duncan (Lone Star)
Chemistry here goes to Lone Star and NYDC, as both feature beating duos who have played together during their collegiate careers. Even if NYDC uses Robby May, Dallas is familiar enough with his playing style to do well with him too. Strategy and physicality go to Lost Boys and Lone Star. Massacre has the hardest route, as Levis and O’Neil/Barnada have very different strategic upbringings. Lone Star’s beaters may prove to be slightly overrated, since both Lensing and Duncan have been out of the game competitively for a while, but Lee and Seto (or Amanda Nagy, when the Lost Boys opt for the above mentioned one female chaser line) won’t get to practice together too often in the first half of the season, so the beating category is, again, a tie between Lost Boys and Lone Star.
- Utility players (Massacre)
- Billy Greco and Freddy Varone (NYDC)
- Steve DiCarlo (Lost Boys)
- Utility players (Lone Star)
Billy Greco didn’t have a strong season last year and illness prevented him from returning to the spotlight during fantasy season, but it’s impossible to count him out this year - especially because he’ll be paired with another skilled seeker, as he was with Villanova, allowing him to go at the snitch hard and sub out when needed. Several Lone Star players have experience seeking, but don’t have much experience making pulls against the sport’s seeking elite. Last season, DiCarlo beat seekers like Porter Marsh and Keir Rudolph, and got his teams (both in fantasy/merc tournaments and with the Lost Boys) countless game-winning grabs. So Lost Boys win the seeking category, with NYDC in close second.
NYDC is the clear loser of this category. They have too many players, and practicing in two different locations means several players won’t share the pitch and truly know how their teammates play until tournament time. Next comes Lost Boys, just because last season’s Lost Boys utilized an extremely different playing style than their new UCLA players are used to. Also, Rodriguez is used to getting/having to do a lot, so it may be hard for him to get used to having more help both offensively and defensively. And whenever players from their bottom seven get into the game, the Lost Boys very noticeably fall apart. They’re near-tied with the Massacre in this category - while I think that the majority of their players have a very similar playing style and that their offense is going to be extremely fun to watch, they’ve simply had less experience playing together and learning each others playing style than the West and Southwest’s community teams so it may take them some time to bring the team up to its potential. The winner of the category is Lone Star (noticing a trend?), despite the fact that they likely won’t get as much time all practicing together as the Lost Boys or Massacre. They’re mostly comprised of UT players, so they have preexisting chemistry there. And most of their non-UT players should have no problem adapting to UT’s winning formula - Sharp knowns how to hit, Drake knows how to distribute, Galle knows how to catch-and-release near the hoops.
Lone Star’s second line is by far the strongest second line of the four community teams. NYDC’s second line features keeper John Gaffigan, who will continue to do well but was essentially shut down against the Lost Boys (whose World Cup VI starters are now mostly their second line), as well as several chasers who used to start for their teams. However, they’ll function more like a WC6 Hofstra and will likely struggle against more physical defenses. Massacre’s second line will look like a downgraded Emerson line. When it comes to each team’s bottom seven, NYDC, which has a whopping 29 players on its roster, has the best players - Lost Boys’ bottom seven are frequently criticized while Lone Star’s and Massacre’s are mostly new players. Depth-wise, NYDC should have the fewest qualms about putting any player in their (21 player) roster into a game, so they technically win this category… but the majority of the Lost Boys’ and Lone Star’s top ten players rarely need subs, so they’ll only need to play their bottom seven in the longest of games.
So in conclusion… while each team is likely in contention for Regional Champions, if you break down each team by positional skill, depth, and chemistry, you can see that there are two distinct tiers. Lone Star and Lost Boys being potentially the best in two of the strongest regions means a lot more than Massacre and NYDC being potentially the best in two of the weakest regions. I’d rank the community teams as follows: Lone Star, Lost Boys, NYDC, Massacre.
SNITCHY’S FULL BODY SUMMER WORKOUT
Don’t like going to the gym during the summer? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. My hometown gym is filled with countless jocks-turned-McDonald’s employees that I used to go to high school with, and watching them leave their sweat all over my YMCA’s machines and hearing them talk about how they daydrink because they failed out of college after they got so high that they locked themselves in a closet and missed finals (true story) makes me too sick to exercise. But that doesn’t keep me from working out, and it shouldn’t keep you from getting in shape for quidditch this summer either. Here’s my outdoor workout - all you need is a set of hand weights and a watch/clock/someone who can help you keep track of time.
1 minute of jump squats (squat and then jump up as high as you can), 1 minute of window washers (start in plank position and then move your legs outward and inward as if you’re doing jumping jacks), 1 minute of bicycles
1 minute of rest
1 minute of high knees (running in place), 1 minute of mountain climbers (start on all fours and then pull your knees in one at a time quickly as if you’re running), 1 minute of burpees
1 minute of rest
1 minute of V-ups (squeezing your abs, lift your legs and your arms into a V, trying to touch your feet with your fingers), 1 minute of plank press ups (start planking on your forearms and then one at a time, extend your arms and then go back down to your forearms one arm at a time), 1 minute of push-ups (feel free to do them on your knees)
1 minute of rest
1 minute of thrusters (hold hand weights at the same level as your head, squat down, and then thrust up, lifting the weights high above your head), 1 minute of seated twists (sit down on the ground holding a hand weight and twist your body, moving the weight from side to side - if you can, lift your feet when doing so), 1 minute of high knees
1 minute of rest
1 minute of wood chops (hold one hand weight directly in front of your face, and in a controlled motion, swing it down to one side of your body, bring it back up in front of your face, and then repeat on the other side), 1 minute of triangle push-ups (keep your hands close together, making a triangle with your thumbs and pointer fingers), 1 minute of jump lunges (start with one leg forward and one back, and switch them while jumping up)
1 minute of rest, then repeat from the beginning. And then do this:
My TIME-OUTS Proposal For The World’s Fair
So I had written up a nice competition entry for QuidCon’s Worlds Fair the other day, and hours later, discussions over the very thing I’d spent an hour writing filled Facebook. Since that likely means it won’t be winning any sort of “original idea” awards, here’s what I sent in.
Give a detailed description of your idea:
My idea is a new rule allowing one time-out per team, per game, for one minute.
Time-outs can only be called:
Once the snitch has returned to the pitch
After an opposing team scores and the defensive keeper regains possession of the quaffle in the keeper zone.
The keeper announces this time-out by taking a knee, at which point the head ref then blows the whistle to stop play.
All players leave their balls and brooms exactly where they were when play was stopped, and then both teams have one minute to converge, get water, talk strategy, etc.
When ten seconds are remaining, the head ref blows a warning whistle for players to return to their brooms. No substitutions can be made at this time – all players who were on the field when the time-out was called must return to the same broom they were holding, playing the same position, holding the same ball. The ref then has the players mount their brooms and resumes play once time has expired.
Time-outs are entirely optional – teams don’t have to use their one time-out a game if they don’t want/need to.
How would this idea improve the league and the player experience?
Adding time-outs to quidditch would be enormously beneficial for players and the league as a whole for several reasons.
Once the snitch returns to the pitch, quidditch becomes infinitely more chaotic, and often, more dangerous. Players start abandoning their concern for their well-being and the well-being of their opponents, doing anything and everything possible to win the game. This can mean playing longer than they should be playing (and thus increasing their chances of getting heat exhaustion or becoming dehydrated), playing more physical than they should be playing (increasing chances of injury to both themselves and their opponents), or continuing to play on injuries that they had acquired during the game (increasing the chance of serious and/or permanent damage). Giving players one minute to get water, examine their injuries, calm their minds, and giving captains a chance to determine whether their players are in the right physical or mental state to be on the pitch can make the difference between safety and serious injury/damage to their health. Captains could also use the minute to talk to refs and voice any concerns they have about how the game is going/the direction the game appears to be going in.
Example: In the Lost Boys vs BGSU game in the Elite Eight of World Cup VI, Lost Boys keeper Tony Rodriguez was playing on a broken hand and severely cramped legs, and I (Lost Boys seeker Steve DiCarlo) was playing with an incredibly swollen elbow. Both players aggravated their injuries (a doctor told me this week that I did some serious permanent damage) by continuing to play without breaks, and neither were given a moment to really evaluate their injuries and discuss with their captains about whether or not they should be playing. I learned after the game that several BGSU players were also playing on injuries that they may not have played on had they gotten the chance to stop and evaluate their priorities/health. Also, the snitch in that game was unknowingly strangling me by pulling my shirt collars tightly against my throat, a safety issue that could have been fixed had the captains been made aware of it and had time to inform the refs.
2. A Chance To Strategize
Yes, the nonstop back-and-forth nature of quidditch can be fun to watch and play, but as demonstrated by the countless legitimate sports which include them, time-outs have enormous strategic value and can help teams play to the best of their abilities and showcase the sport being played the way it was meant to be played.
Due to the current lack of quidditch footage of a vast majority of Cup/Regional-attending teams (something I know has been an inevitable result of having too few willing videography volunteers), teams can go into one of the biggest tournaments this sport has to offer knowing little to nothing about their opponents – an issue that doesn’t exist in most other serious competitive sports. Lack of information about your opponents can often lead to teams blindly trying out strategies that they wouldn’t have used had they known more about their opponents’ playing style. But by the time teams would be able to use their one time-out (likely ~15 minutes into the game, as they can’t be used until the snitch is on pitch (which was decided upon so seekers couldn’t unknowingly end the game off-pitch during a time-out)), they’ll have gotten a good feel for their opponents and would finally get the chance to truly strategize. But teams who are unfamiliar with their opponents wouldn’t be the only ones to benefit from time-outs: when the snitch gets back on pitch, often, a team has to completely abandon their current strategy and change the focus of their gameplay… and it can be incredibly difficult for captains to help instruct their teams on what changes to make once the snitch is on pitch. A time-out would allow those teams one minute to figure out who should be focused on what, who should be subbing in for whom, etc. Having to wait until your opponent scores on you to call a time-out would also add an incredibly interesting element of strategy to the sport, as some may choose to willingly allow a goal for the chance to convene with their team.
Example: In the Lost Boys vs BGSU game, the Lost Boys were up by 20 at one point, and I was taking a quick breather on the sidelines, wearing a yellow headband. Had the team gotten a minute to get their heads straight, my captains likely would have put me (being one of our team’s top chasers) in at chaser to get a goal or two that would help us pull out of snitch range. Or we could have talked about using our bludger to get a few more goals, rather than having beaters focus on the snitch game. But the time-out wouldn’t just have benefitted us - BGSU might have decided to stop putting their two bludgered beaters on the Lost Boys’ seekers and instead use them to pull us out of range. Not having any time to really think about what we were doing led to that game (despite it being heralded as one of the best of the tournament) being one of the worst played games of quidditch in Elite Eight history. Neither team was playing even remotely strategically or like we’d practiced all season, and that caused the game to go on for nearly an hour – something that affected both the tournament’s schedule and the health of the players in the game.
3. More Entertaining Games
The fact of the matter in our sport right now is… there are more talented seekers than there are talented snitches. This will hopefully change with snitch academies becoming more common throughout the country, but right now… too many snitches are getting caught too quickly. Having play stop for one minute can give snitches (who have NO SUBSTITUTES during a game, a fact that many people overlook) a chance to hydrate, stretch, and breathe. The longer they last, the better.
Also, again using the Lost Boys v. BGSU example (which hopefully you understand is being used by the fact that it received so many online views and one of the biggest and most vocal in-person audiences in the tournament), time-outs would have led to better quidditch being played, which would be even more enjoyable for the crowd to watch. While some like watching teams completely fall apart once the snitch comes on pitch, it’d be much more beneficial to the sport as a whole and true fans of it for teams to actually continue to play at a high level of intelligent and strategic competition during that crucial stage of the game.
SON OF A PITCH! I’M UP AGAINST_____
As my focus this season was on actually playing the sport rather than analyzing it, I admittedly spent a lot more time watching teams and learning how to beat them than observing individual players. But there were still a few standout players who forced me to get pretty damn familiar with them, one of which was definitely beater Willis Andrew Miles IV of the Silicon Valley Skrewts.
The Skrewts are exceptionally underrated in the quidditch community. Yes, a large number of people were outraged that they were in the Top 12 when pools were decided, and yes, their permormance at the Cup was underwhelming. But if you’ve seen Miles play, you know he’s truly elite… and underestimating a team with an elite beater is a grave mistake.
Miles is extremely skilled at all the things beaters need to be skilled at - he’s got great aim, is willing to be physical to get bludger control back for his team, communicates brilliantly with his beating partner, and has excellent pitch awareness. But he does one particular move with amazing consistency, and this puts him above so many others in his position. With a bludger in hand, he’ll approach another armed beater and bait them into throwing their ball at him. He’ll then simulaneously throw his bludger, hitting them, and at the same time, catch the bludger that was thrown at him. This either allows him to acquire bludger control or gives his offense a valuable bludgerless moment to score, and the Skrewts are great at capitalizing on either scenario.
His team’s go-to play is to have keeper Kevin Oelze take the quaffle up the pitch, flanked by Miles and beating partner Kyrie Timbrook. If they have bludger control, Miles will put pressure on the remaining beater, keeping them away from Oelze so he has time to shoot or make a pass to one of his constantly moving teammates near the hoops. If they don’t have control, Miles will execute his aforementioned move, again giving Oelze time to make a pass or shot. The fact that, despite his large size, Oelze rarely has to worry about getting beat when slowplaying the ball right up to his opponent’s hoops is definite proof of how great Miles and Timbrook are.
WEAKNESS: Lack of support and focus. The first weakness isn’t too large on his own team, as Timbrook has excellent stamina and can play nearly an entire game, but if Miles isn’t partnered with someone who can hold onto their bludger, his effectiveness goes down greatly (an issue that may be brought up during fantasy tournament if a GM pairs him with a novice beater). The latter weakness becomes noticeable in big games, where Miles’ awareness of his own exceptional abilities makes him try to outplay particular individuals, giving others some easy goals.
Snitchy’s Drill of the Day: Hot Potato
NOTE: Bumping this back up to the top of my blog because its a great summer drill that you can do if you just get one other quidditch player to practice with you, along with one other friend to call “Throw”, “Hit” and “Stop”. And maybe that third person will see how fun tackling can be and want in on the sport. This drill can be done on brooms or off, but make sure all tackling is still done with only one arm.
The amount of people involved in this drill at one time depends on how many balls you practice with (at the very least, you should have three bludgers and a quaffle). Have everyone partner up, give each pairing a ball, and then line up in two horizontal lines, with the partners facing each other about five yards apart. The drill starts off essentially like an egg toss game. Every time your captain says “THROW”, players should pass the ball to their partner, and then both take a step back. Keep doing this, with the captain saying “THROW” an unknown number of times. And then, eventually, the captain instead says “HIT” - whoever has the ball then immediately has to charge through their partner, attempting to get past them without trying to entirely avoid contact. Imagine a thin lane and power through it. The player without the ball, upon hearing “hit”, has to immediately charge at the player with the ball. They don’t HAVE to take them down, but they need to attempt to keep their partner from getting past them - this can simply mean stiff arming or wrapping them to halt their progress until the captain says “STOP”.
This drill is interesting because players have no idea whether they’ll be attacking or running with the ball. It puts them into a pressure situation and fine-tunes their response time, which is a big deal in quidditch - I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen someone execute a perfect pass only to have the receiver hesitate and ruin the opportunity the pass could have given them. When you’re on the pitch, no matter what position you play, you need to be ready to switch from offense to defense within a second and to react immediately when you get possession of a ball.
To add an additional challenge, after each session of the drill, you can make partners that made incomplete passes do ten pushups for each time the ball hit the ground.
Thoughts On The Future Of Quidditch
World Cup is over, the sappy lovefest that always follows the tournament has died down, and now discussions about the future of the sport are starting up again. I’ve got a lot of thoughts on the topic, so I figured I should share some here.
On the jersey numbers/nicknames debate:
This whole discussion frustrates me, because some people go out of their way to look unprofessional. Having “Showmeyour” be your name and “80085” might be funny for like, one second, but come on. You’re the reason people laugh at us.
But it’s not even just the stupid jokes that I hate - it’s the fact that people don’t respond to their names or numbers because they aren’t their real names and it takes too long for refs to say some of the ridiculous numbers some quidditch players seem to fancy. Just pick a number that’s easy to announce - if you can’t say “(your number)! Beat!” in less than three seconds, please… just find something else. And unless you actually get called your nickname in games or real life, change it to something you’ll actually respond to.
Also, I get frustrated by this whole conversation because I don’t think the people who choose ridiculous names and numbers are aware of the pride that goes along with having your own last name on the back of a jersey, on top of a number that has some sort of special meaning to you. I guess that’s something that only people with previous sports experience can understand, but I hope someday everyone gets to experience the joy that is having spectators know and cheer your real name from the crowd.
On the All-American team discussion:
My friend Tony pointed out to me the other day that every professional sport has a system that keeps track of every player’s stats, and that until quidditch has that sort of system, analysis is going to keep being “let’s just write about who we know personally”. A comment riot broke out on the Eighth Man after an article about NE Regionals attributed the success of certain teams to players who were far from being the best on their teams, merely because of name recognition. This is never really going to change until there’s a way to keep track of stats. We’re never going to be able to actually make a fact/stats-based “All-American” team until we have some sort of way to measure each players’ skill. We’re never going to be able to say “this seeker/keeper/chaser/beater is the best” until there’s statistical proof to justify those claims.
This wouldn’t be TOO hard to fix. I’d say nearly 90% of games have quidditch players from teams not currently in the game acting as spectators. Get four of these players to keep track of stats. For each quaffle player, keep track of: minutes played, shots made, passes completed goals scored, assists made, successful tackles, and interceptions. For beaters, keep track of: minutes played, beats made, tackles, quaffle turnovers caused, and time spent with bludger control. For seekers, keep track of minutes played, time going after snitch on pitch, and catches. It should only take about four people to record all of this - one person watches quaffle play for one team, one person watches the other team, one person watches the whole beater game, one person watches the seeker game.
Yes, I’m aware that’s ambitious. But even if it started out with keeping track of merely goals and assists for each quaffle player on the league, and catches for each seeker, that’d be a huge start.
These stats could be then used to create player profiles on the team pages of the IQA site, making us look more like other legitimate sports.
Players could show their stats page to friends and family and use it as a motivator to play their best. Yeah, stats pages also mean other teams can scout your players… but what other sport keeps their roster a secret. Which brings me to my next topic.
On getting more competitive quidditch footage out there:
"What video should I watch if I wanna learn what quidditch is all about?" That question has been asked a million times, by quidditch players, by their families, by people who are interested in joining the sport, etc. And even though I played in the game and know how awesomely intense it was, the fact that people are even thinking about saying "Lost Boys vs BGSU" makes me nervous. It was an incredibly spirited and inspirational game, but it’s far from a decent example of the physicality and strategy that is required to excel in quidditch.
There have been plenty of intense and awesome games this season, but some of them weren’t filmed and will thus be forgotten. I think the IQA should make it policy that every official game must be filmed and posted online. It’s not THAT hard to get someone to just hold a camera and record a game. I know the IQA tried to put out some great game footage this season, and they did publish a few awesome videos, but I think starting out with quantity over quality would be good. If a game is awesome, post it right away. If it gets thousands of views and requests to make it fancy, with playback and a virtual scoreboard and all that, do it afterward. But don’t wait four months to post one good game. Get ever game online, let players watch and scout and show others what quidditch really looks like, then if there’s interest, edit the best ones and repost. It sucked only getting to see one or two videos of the top teams going into the Cup, and that virtually no footage was available for some of the lower tier teams. And we all know that nearly every team has footage of a game or two of theirs from this season that they just didn’t ever post online, because being the first to do so would put them at a strategic disadvantage. Make posting mandatory, add player profiles and statistics to team pages, and scouting, ala every other sport, will finally become possible. And analysis will improve exponentially as well.
This is something that only a select few are discussing, but I really, really want it to happen. Allowing one time-out per team, per game, for one minute, would change things so much…. for the better. Teams that are falling apart halfway through a game would get the chance to get their shit back together, and in tournaments where teams played several games in one day and are running low on subs and uninjured players, a minute’s rest could prevent injury and exhaustion. Don’t get me wrong, I love the nonstop back-and-forth of quidditch, but there are so many strategic advantages to being able to talk to your teammates and figure out what you should change… especially because lack of footage and information about your opponents is so common in cross-regional play, and sometimes, you have no idea what to expect when going into a game.
My best example of how much time-outs could change things would be the aforementioned Lost Boys vs BGSU game. At one point, we were up by 20. I was sitting on the sidelines, wearing a yellow headband. Had we been given a minute to get our heads straight, I would have swapped headbands, gone in at chaser, worked with Tony and one of our beaters to get another goal… and it could have been a very different game. If given the same chance to gather their thoughts, BGSU might have decided to stop putting their two bludgered beaters on our seekers and instead use them to pull us out of range. People weren’t there for the first fifteen minutes of that game… those minutes featured some solid, strategic quidditch. But as time went on, things just got more and more clusterfucked, and what we were doing stopped looking like quidditch. It wasn’t an “elite” game of quidditch by any means.
When a keeper has control of the quaffle, they can just signal time-out to the ref, everyone drops their brooms, the team can huddle up, and for sixty seconds, they can figure out how to get back to playing quidditch, rather than continuing to play “ermahgerd what’s happening let’s all just go crazy and try to catch up”. Because even if that’s fun to watch, it’s far more Calvinball than quidditch.