Archive | August, 2012

“Ooh, ickle firsties! What fun!”

27 Aug

Hello new and prospective uOttawa students! Welcome to the University of Ottawa Quidditch team (yes, Quidditch team. It’s a thing). We’ve brought in some of our former first-years from 2011-2012 (who have since been hardened by our rigorous awesomeness) to give you some advice about surviving and enjoying your first year (and hopefully the ones after it) at uOttawa. Quidkids: They’re Just Like You!™

Remember, if you feel compelled to follow in their footsteps (“firs’ years follow me!”), you can feel thankful that this is Hogwarts North and not Actual Hogwarts because at uOttawa first years are allowed their own broomsticks. If you want a great way to meet people and make friends in a new place; if you want a fast-paced athletic sport to challenge you; if you want a fun way to stay active; or if you just really want to try something new, then Quidditch is for you.

Our former ickle firsties are the wonderful Erin “Hashtags” McCrady (Beater, Conflict Studies & Human Rights), Jamie “Ice Box” Lafrance (Keeper, Sociology), Katie “Genie” Sharpe (Beater, Civil Engineering), Ian “Potter” Carey (Chaser, History and Anthropology), and Matthew “Doesn’t Like The Nicknames We Pick Out For Him” Bunn (Chaser, Biochemistry). As I hope you’ll see, Quidditch attracts a very diverse group of people, from the most hardcore Potterheads to the Rugby players.

Hope to see you on the pitch! Details about our first practice can be found here.

How did you first hear about the Quidditch team?

ERIN: I had heard legends of university quidditch teams and always thought it would be a cool thing to try. To be honest I had completely forgotten about it until one day during 101 week clubs tabling when Clare ran past me in full snitch regalia tossing handbills at passers by. This led to an epic hunt for the quidditch table and several awkward lurk-bys of said table trying to figure out what this ‘quidditch’ was.
MATT: On my first day at the university I had been walking by all the clubs being advertised. Most tables I hardly glanced at, but let’s say a quidditch table warrants a double take. I made my parents wait while I got a quick briefing on the sport of quidditch, and I’m sure everyone can vouch for me saying it seemed a little “different.” But I was curious, so I put my name down. Little did I know what I was getting into…

JAMIE: I hear about it from a random at a campus bar; that random – Alex “Badassa” – has turned into one of my best friends. Before that I heard rumblings of it – basically I thought it was a campus folk tale.

Some of the 50+ people at our very first open practice: a campus folk tale come to life!

What made you want to join the Quidditch team?

ERIN: I was raised on Rowling. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was the first chapter book I read all by myself (I still remember reading ‘cupboard under the stairs’ and thinking it was a peg board you hung teacups on). I’ve also always been moderately athletic but rarely found a sport I clicked with. Even then, I came pretty close to not going out for the team: I didn’t know anyone going into that first practice, which is something I always find nerve-wracking.

MATT: I wanted to stay active during university and quidditch seemed like it would keep me fit. I also wanted to be a part of a sport or club at the university because I wanted to meet a good group of friends that I would hang out with.

JAMIE: I’m really not even sure to be honest – I never had the time to play, but I thought “hey, I’ll give it a shot” and now it’s one of the most fun things I have ever participated in.

What made you want to stay on the Quidditch team? Did anything surprise you about Quidditch?

ERIN: A lot of things surprised me! I had expected the rules to be really complicated and the actual athletic aspects to be simple. I was WRONG. Once I got on the pitch, the rules clicked instantly… but my ability to throw, catch, and tackle one-handed most certainly did not. I think a lot of what kept me coming back for the first couple weeks was that I was so awful at it. I felt so uncoordinated and clumsy at times, but I could see it was something I would love.

MATT: I think I kept playing quidditch because it’s such a unique game. There’s so much action that goes on, and it all blends together to make an amazing game. The two things that surprised me about quidditch are the snitch (that seems to be one of the things people wonder about in the real life sport) and quidditch being a full contact sport; I’ve definitely had my fair share of hard tackles.

JAMIE: The reason I stay is now I feel like I play a good role for the team, I’m pretty addicted to it. I mean, I went overseas to play! It’s just so much fun you can’t stop playing once you start.

KATIE: It was a good way to have a break from work for me and I enjoyed that I was getting some physical fitness in as well. One thing that surprised me was how rough the sport was, being full contact and all.

IAN: I decided to stay on the team because of the friends and the fact that quidditch is a ton of fun to play, though I was somewhat surprised with how physical quidditch can be.

Brace yourself

What has been your most memorable Quidditch moment thus far?

ERIN: Making the competitive team was certainly memorable- I must have checked my email about fifty times on the night the roster was posted. The Quidditch World Cup was amazing, and it was such a great bonding experience for the team – if I wasn’t quiddicted before WCV, that’s what did it. But I would have to say that my most memorable quidditch moments are the random things we do together as a team. Whether it’s winning a blanket fort-building competition, going swing dancing in matching 50’s outfits, organizing campus-wide snitch chases, having a massive sleepover in a residence room meant for one person, or singing along with the most random combination of instruments brought to a party, it’s the ridiculous spirit of the team that makes it memorable for me.

MATT: The most memorable moments in quidditch for me seem to come from when I’ve been snitching in a game. The excitement of my first time being a snitch in an official game during the Ives Pond Invitational or the game I evaded the uOttawa/Carleton seekers for 45 minutes during one of our practices. But what sticks out most I suppose is going to New York for the Quidditch World Cup. It was great to play against teams from around North America and overall a great weekend to spend with a great group of people.

JAMIE: Most memorable moment was seeing that it wasn’t just a bunch of nerdy Harry-Potter-reading weirdos; when I played in Oxford England against Team USA I played against one of the most athletic teams in any sports I have ever seen, and I’ve been playing sports for a large portion of my life.

IAN: My most memorable quidditch moment would have to be the world cup. Being able to meet so many other quidditch players and the experience of competing at that level was amazing.

The team at the Quidditch World Cup in New York City

How has Quidditch helped you at university?

ERIN: Quidditch introduced me to some of my best friends! I came to Ottawa knowing nobody at the school and one other person in the city. It was a little scary and overwhelming the first couple of weeks. 101 Week introduced me to hundreds of people in my faculty, but I didn’t really have a chance to form any close friendships. We make lots of jokes about this and it sounds really cheesy, but the team has become my Ottawa family: There’s always an older player to help you with assignments, a team mom to bring sunscreen to practice when you forgot it (and you know the team will mock you for being a ginger if you get burnt), and a potluck to go to when you can’t go home for the holidays. We take care of each other – we’re a team in every sense of the word.

MATT: You mean other then showing up to class with a broom that seems to attract some attention? Seriously speaking though, quidditch for me has been a great way to stay active and I have met a great group of friends I hope to have for the rest of my life.

JAMIE: It helped me make some friends outside of rez, in all different parts of university careers giving me ideas of what I want to do, as well as learn many other things out campus has to offer because everyone on the team seems to be involved in other cool things I would never have known about!

KATIE: Quidditch helped me get out of my room and meet new people. It was something to look forward to every weekend, and I made a lot of friends through this sport. The quidditch team has become my second family.

IAN: Quidditch has helped me at university by helping me make new friends and by keeping me physically active so I didn’t have to worry about eating all the crappy cafeteria food.

What are some tips you would give to any first-year uOttawa student?

ERIN: 1. Learn to cook. The cafeteria will make you sad. 1. b) Make friends with people who have their own kitchen. You will inevitably want to make cookies and it will crush your soul to realize you don’t have an oven. 2. Find a routine that works for you and stick to it. Maybe it’s just me, but when I was up to my ears in tests and assignments with no idea where to start, it was weirdly comforting to know Tuesday was laundry day. 3. Work hard. Go to class. Just do it. 4. Don’t work too hard. Studying is important, but so is playing Where is Waldo with friends in the library as a well-earned break. 5. Don’t forget you’re in the nation’s capital! Make time to be a tourist every now and then, skate on the canal and remember that the pointy green roof you can see from your residence window is actually the Peace Tower.

MATT: I’d say the one thing that put me in a tough situation at times was procrastination. Do all your work ahead of time and don’t be doing it last minute. Do all of your assignments and study hard for midterms and finals because they are worth a lot of your final mark.

KATIE: Join in the events at 101 week. You don’t have to go to all the crazy drinking events if you don’t want to, but go to the rest of it. The guides are all upper years in your programs and are very knowledgeable about university. Another thing would be to find a club, team, or group outside of class to join. It will open up more people to you than just those inside of your program.

If Quidditch isn’t for them, what else would you suggest first-years try out or join at uOttawa?

ERIN: Just get involved on campus. Preferably on the quidditch team, but I will accept any involvement. Getting involved more = finding more people who love the same things you love = getting up to more shenanigans. I’m no math or science major, but that seems like a damn fine formula. There is literally a club for EVERY interest. You will find something you love. If you don’t you’re probably picky and your attention to detail will serve you well as the president/founder of a new club!

MATT: Get involved in some kind of sport at uOttawa, and check out the intramurals the school has to offer.

JAMIE: If you don’t like quidditch I’m going to recommend rugby, they’re a good group of people and it’s a wicked awesome sport. But honestly I just hope people participate in sports at school, it’s a great way to meet people and stay in shape: intramurals, club, varsity – it’s just way too awesome to not do.

KATIE: Find the niche that fits for you. Not everyone is an athlete, or book smart, or a fitness nut. Don’t feel pressed into going along with your friends; be brave and yourself and you be will rewarded in your university career.

What’s your favourite part about living in Ottawa?

ERIN It’s freaking PRETTY! Seriously, go for a run or a bike ride along the canal and tell me it isn’t pretty. I dare you. It’s also just a really interesting city. I’m a trivia geek, so I love random historical tidbits and Ottawa is full of them.
MATT: There’s so much the city has to offer, plenty of entertainment for the 3-5 years of studying in Ottawa. The bus system is a lot better then my home town so it’s easy to get around.
JAMIE: It’s probably the people, ’cause anywhere would be boring without great people.
IAN: My favourite part about living in Ottawa is  that there are lots of museums and and other interesting places to visit (and there are lots of really cool quidditch players).

Ooooh, purty.

What’s your favourite thing and place to eat in Ottawa or on campus?

MATT: The place that sticks out at the university is Jazzy’s in the University Centre. Great food served buffet style! I think for me personally my team can agree I enjoyed the pizza in the UCU cafeteria a little too much first year; however, it isn’t the best choice before anything quidditch related.

KATIE: On campus I would have to say Jazzy’s Restaurant in the University Centre (UCU). It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet that serves really delicious breakfasts (the yogurt is the best ever!). Also, while some Chasers – ahem ^ – may say otherwise, a diet of pizza is not a good thing. Especially before intense exercise.

JAMIE: My favourite place to eat? Don’t tell Coach Chris but I love my Smokes poutine!

IAN: My favourite things to eat in Ottawa are beaver tails in the market, but for food on campus I would suggest cooking for yourself.

Any last words?

ERIN: I am so excited for you! My first year was great and I know yours will be, too. If you need more reassurance, shoot an email/tweet/postcard/owl to uOttawa Quidditch. Quidkids are friendly (at times obnoxiously so) and we would love to make your first year totally awesome! Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!

MATT: Even if quidditch does seem weird, it’s something you have to at least try once. Come to our first practice, learn about the sport, and play around. If you don’t like it, then you don’t have to continue. You can at least say you’ve played quidditch.

JAMIE: Last words? I hope you join us, it’s awesome to play. If you can’t play, come support us! I also hope you love university, it is truly so much fun and one of the greatest places on earth where you’ll meet the most awesome of people if you just try new things.

KATIE: Eat regular meals and don’t slack on school work. For most people this is their first time really living on their own. There is no one to make sure you are doing your assignments and eating meals. Go out, have some fun, and meet new people!

IAN: And the last thing I have to say is that Quidditch is an amazing way to meet new people and adapt to life on your own. You will make friends for life.



Why we love uOttawa Quidditch

3 Aug

Claremom submitted this wonderful blog post to a quidditch blog for a ‘life as a member of…’ feature.

If you don’t already want to be one of us, why not?! 🙂