Utah Quidditch | Buzz Blog

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Utah Quidditch

A look into the fantasy-turned-real competitive game

Posted By on December 31, 2014, 9:30 AM

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For the many, many, many Harry Potter fans out there, this time of the year starts to get kind of exciting as Quidditch teams around the nation start competing to earn a spot in the national cup. Yes, for all you muggles who don't know, there are real-world Quidditch teams throughout the states that compete in leagues and regional levels for championships. Sure, they may not be flying around on brooms or utilizing a Golden Snitch, but the game is seriously competitive with teams running, sweating and feverishly fighting to become the best there is at the fictionally-adapted game. Today we chat with Sequoia Thomas, founder of the Utah Crimson Fliers and organizer for other parties, to talk about the local Quidditch league before they compete in the fifth annual Snow Cup, starting this Friday. (All pictures courtesy of Utah Quidditch.)

Sequoia Thomas
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Utah Quidditch on Facebook

Gavin: Hey Sequoia! First thing, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Sequoia:
I've been part of Utah Quidditch since 2010 when I started the Utah Crimson Fliers Quidditch team and was the manager until this season. I've been refereeing since February of 2012, and I currently am the Director of an organization called the International Referee Development Program. I started actually playing Quidditch a few months ago and am a Chaser for the Crimson Elite. This is my second time tournament directing the Snow Cup.

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Gavin: How did you first become a fan of the Harry Potter series and how was it for you going through the books and films?

Sequoia:
I started reading Harry Potter around the age of 11, so I really grew up with it. However, even though my love of the series drew me towards Quidditch, it's not why I stay.

Gavin: When did you start hearing about real world games of Quidditch (or Muggle Quidditch) start happening?

Sequoia:
I befriended the captain of the UMass Amherst team in the summer of 2010, after which I got in contact with the Utah Quidditch Organization.

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Gavin: How did the idea come to you to start up your own club and league in Utah?

Sequoia:
I was actually asked to start a U of U team by the old Utah Quidditch Organization president. That organization no longer exists, and the team is not exclusive to the U of U, but that's how it all started out.

Gavin: What kind of challenge was it setting up the club and finding members to play the game at first?

Sequoia:
I was lucky enough to have this great group of friends all sign up to play the first day we ever had sign ups. It was a challenge to grow the team beyond that initial group, and finding members is a constant struggle for the team.

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Gavin: How did the inaugural year go for you and what lessons did you learn from playing the games?

Sequoia:
As previous team manager, I did not play until this year, so I don't really have that insight. From my perspective the first year for the team was good. The team was small and there wasn't much competition in the area, but it really was just the start.

Gavin: For those who may not be aware, what are the rules to Quidditch?

Sequoia:
There are a lot of rules, you could write a whole article on just the rules! If you're watching, there are three things you absolutely have to know. All players must remain on their broom throughout the game. The quaffle (a partially deflated volleyball) going through one of the three hoops earns the scoring team 10 points. If a player gets hit with a bludger (partially deflated dodgeballs) they must drop the ball they are holding, if they are holding one, dismount their broom, and tag back in at their team's hoops.

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Gavin: What was it like watching the club grow every year and seeing other teams and leagues blossom in other cities around the state?

Sequoia:
The Fliers were created in 2010, at that time there was one other team in the whole state. They dissolved after that season. The next season there was a short-lived BYU team, but they dissolved after that season too. Since then there has been no other team in the state of Utah, until this season. It's been great to see the development of a team at Utah State this season.

Gavin: You have a major game coming up this weekend in The Snow Cup. Tell us a little bit about this tournament and what everyone will be playing for.

Sequoia:
The Snow Cup is a fantasy tournament. It's like fantasy football. 150 players from all over the country signed up, 10 General Managers were picked. The GM's drafted 15 players each in a snake draft. The teams actually get to play the games against each other, unlike fantasy football which is based on stats. This is a popular tournament format for the off-season, but there are a couple like Snow Cup that happen during the winter.

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Gavin: For those looking to take part in the tournament, or join one of the Quidditch teams down the line, how may they sign up?

Sequoia:
The Crimson Elite play on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Practices are open, and the team can be reached anytime via our email address utcrimsonfliers@gmail.com or our Facebook page.

Gavin: Considering how far you've come, where do you intend to take the club from here and how big do you want to make it grow?

Sequoia:
Our captains have a lot planned for us as a team. We're hoping to make a big splash at world cup.

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Gavin: What do you have in store for the club in 2015?

Sequoia:
Regionals in February and hopefully world cup in April!

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