Sunday, March 13, 2011

On just playing...

Before Katie and I started the Badassilisks I played dodgeball on the lower east side for Downtown Dodgeball.  I quickly became friendly with Adrienne and Rob the couple who started the league and even played on Rob's team Pepe's Cheese Bitches for 2 seasons.  During my third season Rob and I went to play for another team Dodge a bro, Hug a Ho.  Then the unthinkable happened Rob decided to put Downtown Dodgeball on hiatus for a while.  I kept in touch with Rob first asking his advice on starting a league and I even tried unsuccessfully to get him to play beater.*  I mentioned all of that to tell you this.  For a while I would message Rob to see when Downtown Dodgeball would return.  He eventually told me he wasn't sure.  He started playing for Party Dodgeball on Thursday night and he enjoyed being just a player for now.  Of course I'm disappointed but I understand.

Since the beginning of the Badassilisks I've always been the coach and I've always watched the game through that filter.  While I enjoy playing I feel that I always have to keep my eye on everything.  Last weekend while we let the pitch recover Chris, Irvin and I went to play for Stony Brook in a 3 team tournament against Hofstra and NYU.  I can't tell you how amazing just being a player feels even though we lost all 4 games.  I didn't have to haul equipment, write a practice agenda or pay attention to the time.  I was just the keeper.  It truly gave me a fresh perspective so when we practice next I can contribute more as a coach and player.

 *I had this crazy dream of this unstoppable beater duo of Greg Strong and Rob. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A dilemma of content...

Lately I have been having trouble deciding what to put in this blog.  Hence no blog to speak of...

The problem lies in what I think is interesting enough to read.  The blog is supposed to be about how Quidditch is affecting my life and you would think that would be a broad enough brush to paint with but it's harder than I expected.  As quick as everything came together everything is still in it's infancy and I feel like a tired sleep deprived mother trying to adjust to this new addition in her life.  Has it been worth it?  It definitely has been but this whirlwind we created has knocked me on my ass. 

Right now there is little in the way of actual Quidditch going on right now.  Most teams are on winter breaks from their respective schools.  The Badassilisks (though they didn't want to) even have to recognize the holidays as a difficult time to get together so we have been on another break (that will end this week I promise).   I should have used the holidays as a time to take care of some of the administrative stuff that I needed to handle for the team but I didn't.  For some reason, I crashed and didn't want to handle anything Quidditch related.  My only explanation is that mentally and emotionally I tried to keep up the dizzying portkey pace that this team was put together under and it got the best of me.   Even now after the crash I want to rush right back into things.  Part excitement to get back out onto the pitch, and part anxiety of the things we need to get done.  I realize that this we're no longer under a time crunch but it's hard to relax. 

Ok Jared...Breathe.


Monday, December 13, 2010

A Blogger Remembers - And Now For Something Completely Quidditch

If you read our Wiki you got a  brief description of how the team came to be.  This post originally was posted on my blog at  This describes how I met The Group That Shall Not Be Named and eventually how I met Katie and played non IQA Quidditch for the first time. 

A few weeks ago when I was doing one of my marathon Ren Faire workouts I happened up an interesting group of people. They are the New York Harry Potter Meetup Group taking their annual trip to Faire. True to my regular form I like to use my knowledge to make people laugh. So I took a rose out of my basket and went "Rosegardiam Leviosa." Which got a laugh and then I corrected myself and said "Sorry Rosegardiam Levio-SAH." Which got an even bigger laugh. To make a long story short after a day of mutual laughter they invited me to their first annual version of the Triwizard Tournament.
The tournament went down like this. The first round was Quidditch, the second round a Wizarding trivia duel and the third was secret and unveiled at the event. I too shall keep it secret for now.
The beginning of the tournament we were sorted into our schools. Like the book they were Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons. Yours truly was sorted into Beauxbatons.

Round 1 - Quidditch
Now Quidditch is played minus brooms*. The pitch has the same three ring goals as in the book and movies and all 7 positions are the same. 1 seeker, 2 beaters, 3 chasers and 1 keeper. Most of the rules are the same in the movies and books. So I will point out the differences**. The Quaffle is a volleyball and it dribbled and passed like a basketball. The Beaters have bludgers which are gigantic kickballs that they can kick at the chasers and seekers. If you are hit by a bludgers you must freeze for 10 seconds. If you are carrying the quaffle you must drop it where you stand. The Golden Snitch is usually attached to the belt of a person who runs tries to outrun the chasing seekers. Play suspends after the seeker removes the Snitch much like flag football. If the Snitch is captured the team gets 150 points and they automatically win the game. We lost our first game to Hogwarts and beat Durmstrang. I had a blast playing this game. Hogwarts took this round.

Round 2 - Wizarding trivia duels. Basically this was a round robin matchup where the duelists were given a topic and they had to name as many things they could from that topic. If you didn't answer within 5 seconds you were out and it went to 2 duelists. They would then duel it out til one person was remaining. That person would get a point. Beauxbatons took Trivia challenge with 7 of 12 rounds won.

Round 3 - Harry Potter Theater. Each team was given improv devices we had 30 minutes to come up with a 5-15 minute play that was Harry Potter themed. Our devices were Snape's Amazing Discovery, dream, and the bat bogey hex. Now before I go into what our play is about there is an offshoot of fanfiction called Slash. Slash is usually fanfiction where two characters have a same sex romantic encounter. So the premise is simple Snape is aghast once he reads some of the slash fan fic written about him. He falls asleep and dreams that all his students are outing him and a few of them hit on him. Where he wakes up and realizes that he is truly gay. Twisted I know but you have to work with what you are given. I hate to say it but we took that round too. So Beauxbatons won the first ever Triwizard tournament, wizarding glory and all it's spoils. Which was $5 bucks and some candy. I pocketed the cash and gave the candy to Beauxbatons lovely cheerleader. I ended up leaving with one of the girls from Durmstrang***. We took a long walk and had dinner together. This was truly a complete workout for my body, mind and creativity. I can't wait to hang with these people again.

* I didn't know there was an IQA.
** Let it be known for those of you who are not Quidditch savvy there are gigantic difference between the IQA rules and non IQA rules.
*** Not Katie.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Non Magical Sports played by Magical People.

So when people find out that I play Quidditch oftentimes the first (and most ridiculous) question is "How do you fly?" My answer depends on my mood.  It can go from the very curt "We don't." to me making up the story that the IQA hires the wire guys who make modern Kung Fu epics like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.  Personally that question annoys me.  It is often the persons first judgment against Quidditch.  In retrospect, I think my only answer should be We don't.  Because Quidditch is a non magical sport played by magical people.
Now this entry isn't going to be about the history of the game.  If you want that I am going to quote my mom in saying "Look it up dear."  It's more about how I believe the forces that brought this sport and  team together are simply magical. has several definitions for the word magic.  One listed is, "any extraordinary or mystical influence, charm, power." Since the world cup we have gotten several inquiries from people in other areas wanting to start a team.  I have a hard time giving them advice because I really don't know what to say because I honestly feel that this effort has been charmed from the very start. 

The International Quidditch Association or IQA 's popularity in all of this has also been magical.  Since the sport was started 5 years ago it has grown to include hundreds of high schools, colleges and universities with formed or currently forming teams.  That being said their success while amazing is like a  textbook lesson in potions.  What I mean by that the schools represent a controlled environment where all the components are available and the conditions are set. You have a community of people with of the same age and similar set of priorities most of which want to be active and social. The only thing that determines the success or failure of the mixture are the people mixing it.  For example take NYU, one of the largest schools in the world.  They have tried fielding a team for years but the Violet Hipster Horcruxes have only unofficially* been a team since October 2nd. 

So what explains our success in forming this team?  The people who knew each other were acquaintances at best and our ages and backgrounds couldn't be any more different.  A few adult professionals, a few high school and college kids ranging in age from 16-35.  One member is a singer in a dirty doo wop band. None of them except one coach had played IQA Quidditch before.  Some of them had never even played a team sport before.  If you brought this idea to Snape he would look at it, sneer  and deduct 50 points from Gryffindor no matter what house you came from.  To be frank this mix would only work if you were playing Monster Rancher and the two CD's were mixtapes made by someone with multiple personality disorder.    Fortunately the Badassilisks emerged.  So you can see a different type of magic at play here.  I don't know what it is but it's definitely magic..

Back to my original point of Quidditch being a Non magical sport played by magical people.  Let's face it Muggle Quidditch is the bukkake love child of basketball, rugby, dodgeball with flag football and hide and seek mixed in.  It's the people who play it make the game magic.  The IQA with their golden formula that they have created, mixed and added to over the years.  NYU for finally throwing the right mix into the cauldron and then being confident enough in what they had to drink it.  Finally the Badassilisks no one knows why it worked but I'm glad it did. 

So I guess my answer to anyone who asks how to start a team.  Is keep working at it.  Keep adding ingredients, keep working on your swish and flick and finally keep believing that it will happen.  It's magic.

*NYU refuses to acknowledge the Violet Hipster Horcruxes as a school club thus not helping them with funding and support.  So everything they have accomplished in such a short period of time is spectacular.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Portkey thoughts...

Katie tells me that I should do a Quidditch blog.  I've been meaning to do a blog for a while but I haven't had much to write about. Until recently...

Before I go any further allow myself to introduce...myself.  My name is Richie Cunningham and this is my wife Oprah.  Seriously my name is Jared and I am the co-founder, co-coach, and co-captain of the New York Badassilisks.   Currently one of the few IQA Muggle Quidditch teams that isn't attached to a college or high school.   To save myself time I have linked the teams history so far. Our Wiki Page. While I will be talking about the progress of the Badassilisks this journal is more about the effect the team has on me and my life.  This experience has been one of the craziest adventures I have ever agreed to go on and it gets more and more interesting.  Before I get into all of that let me tell you a little about myself.

I'm 34 and I live in Queens.  I work for a gym.  I don't do it because I necessarily need the gymployment but because I lost 130 pounds and I like being in that environment. 

I have a wonderful and supportive girlfriend named Meret.  To quote South Park she is my muse and my flame.  She is twice as interesting as she is beautiful.  If you ever watched the Blind Melon video for No Rain I am the bumblebee girl and she is my bumblebee people.  She understands that I have unique interests.  We met because I needed a partner for a scavenger hunt race.  After that we have run and completed the Men's Health Urbanathlon, 2 half marathons and a number of other races together.  She is currently in Germany on work assignment. 

Katie who I have already referred to is the reason that there is a "co" in front of all the my titles.  We formed the team together.  We met because of Quidditch (the non IQA variety) .  She ran my first Ultramarathon with me.  I'll talk more about her when I profile each member of the team. 

To make my only Harry Potter reference in this particular post.  Starting this team has been like grabbing a Portkey.  Right now I feel like I have been yanked by my waist and currently I am spinning.  I am excited, and scared of where this will take me...