Operation Snow Angel: uOttawa Quidditch goes to the Quidditch World Cup

12 Dec

This post is adapted from one originally written and posted here by Clare Hutchinson. Go there to read the full write-up.

We’re back from New York! On November 11th, we bussed down with our friends Carleton University Quidditch to Randall’s Island in New York City to compete in the fifth annual Quidditch World Cup. Along with stops for American junk food (did you know there are S’more Goldfish? That’s a thing that exists in the world) and games of Who Am I?, we were treated to Coach Chris’ rendition of “Love Story.” (Yes, that “Love Story.”)

We met Texas Christian University (TCU) and Virginia Tech over breakfast and immediately started a camaraderie (in our defense, they are very sexy teams) and broke out the obnoxious patriotism. We registered and swept into the Athletes’ Village, where all the Canadian teams clumped together near the top at “The North Pole.” After  figuring out how to put up the tent (“Team-Building Exercise,” anyone?), we found our spot for the opening ceremonies in front of Penn State, who we befriended over cheers – yay for alphabet bonding! A great start to a great weekend full of making friends and meeting other Quidditch teams from around the world.

Part of the Opening Parade

Our first game was against Florida, the eventual runners-up of the tournament. We lost, although our (thoroughly excellent) Seeker had some BEAUTIFUL deflection tactics against Florida’s Seeker and managed to delay the Snitch Snatch (against a bullfighting Snitch with a pink fleece) while we endeavoured to catch up. We came back for our game against the Delaware Valley Dragons (who had FABULOUS hair) and were winning handily until the Snitch Snatch, which still put us ahead 70-60. Our last game of the day was against ASU, a fast, tough game that sent one of our players to the hospital for a patch-up after he heroically took a broom to the eye that required some cleaning and stitching from the wonderful folks at Bellevue Hospital (who were freaked out by his red face paint until they realized it wasn’t all blood). He now has a friendship scar to match a teammate’s wound from the Canadian Cup.

That’s right: some teams get friendship bracelets. uOttawa Quidditch gets friendship scars.

We were back to the field at an early hour the next day, so we grabbed Carleton and TCU and started a scrimmage – Team Maple Frogs (which is what you get when you mix Canada with TCU’s ‘Horned Frogs’) vs Team Better Than You – that began as a legitimate game of Quidditch, but then got 3 extra bludgers and another quaffle thrown in. Our Team Mama may or may not have been swinging a broom like a baseball bat and yelling at Adam to “go long” when the Commissioner came up behind her.

The game then morphed into a giant game of Ninja and then a giant game of Octopus as we pulled bystanders from UMich and a bright orange team into the game. We were all wailing with laughter the entire time; it was completely ridiculous and such an experience of sheer joy.

Who are those monkeys? ...Oh wait.

Our last game of pool play was against SUNY Geneseo. This gal thinks we could perhaps have won had we been a bit more aggressive, but it was a terrific and incredibly fun game nonetheless. We finished in high spirits, Keeper Colin riling us by screaming “We leave the way we came! OttawaU is hot to go!”

We became known for our snare drum and enthusiasm: before every game, we would line up in formation in the Athletes’ Village and march chanting out to each of our games accompanied by the drum (…on one memorable occasion disrupting what looked like an important interview. Whoops). One of our goals was to become known as “Those Dancing Canadians,” and we’re proud to say it was accomplished.

Once our games were over, we did the same for Carleton and the other Canadian teams. We also had a chant and war dance that we performed before every game:

 After we were eliminated from pool play, we played a friendly scrimmage with McGill to help them warm up for playoffs and then joined in a giant Canada vs US dodgeball game (which, appropriately, ended in a stalemate).

Two of our players had been adopted by the Swarthmore College team, which didn’t have enough people to play. That sums up a lot of what was amazing at the World Cup: competition was fierce, and everyone played fast and hard, but at the end of the day we were all there together to be ridiculous, make friends, and squeeze the most fun out of every second. People are there because they love Quidditch and are completely willing to be thrown into a giant field and find their place in it, dancing the whole time.

Meaghan, one of Swarthmore's uOttawa players

After McGill lost to Florida, we had another big scrimmage with them and Carleton on the dark dusty pitch until Florida showed up to play another team and then scarfed down more pizza, rounded up the other Canadian teams, formed one last giant formation, and marched across the almost-empty pitches to Icahn Stadium for the final. We launched into ‘O Canada’ as we came up behind the ticket line, creating quite the spectacle for those waiting outside. When you can’t go for the championship, you might as well go for dramatic flair 😉

Unfortunately we had to leave to catch our bus before the final game was over, but we all craned our necks to see in as the bus drove over the stadium (“Did it go in??” “No, no goal!”), and the team made our President read the scores live from twitter.

All in all, it was a glorious weekend. It’s incredible to think that most of these people who are so close now didn’t know each other 3 months ago. The team grew and learned more about Quidditch and themselves, and did uOttawa very proud indeed. Given that we’re such a young team, we’re all very excited for our growth and all the opportunities we’re going to have.

Seeker Kera

The World Cup was a fantastic combination of enthusiastic geekery and intense athletic competition. The camaraderie and good spirit among all players was heartfelt, palpable, and incredibly warm. So much work went into making this the success that it was – there were hiccups and problems, but overall it was just an astronomical success, a beautiful piece of magic. We were honoured to be a part of it.

COMMENTATOR: Randall’s Island was, as we all know, constructed by magicians late last night…

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