Middlebury Left Out of London Quidditch Expo Games

Believe it or not, it’s already June. Most of us have probably already started internships or summer jobs and will spend our free time lazing around in the sun, re-reading “The Hunger Games,” catching up on episodes of Modern Family and anxiously counting down the days until the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Before the games officially begin, the International Quidditch Association (IQA) will be hosting the first Olympic Expo Games in Oxford during the city’s torch lighting ceremony. According to the IQA website, the location was “intentionally [set] outside of London to avoid the complexities and security concerns in the city, and organized before the Olympics begin to make it more viable for press to come and cover the event.”

Team USA’s jerseys for the 2012 Expo Games.

Team USA was selected by IQA Regional Directors, IQA founder Alex Benepe ’09 and team coordinator Luke Zak of the University of Minnesota, selected for his “experience and organizational skills in the sport.” Twenty-one first string players were selected, in addition to one snitch and one referee. In advance of the selection process, the IQA stipulated that Team USA would be made up of at least one player from six regions with a 5:2 gender ratio, or female players comprising 15% of the team.

A minimum of 11 players were selected based on their athletic abilities and experience with Quidditch. The remaining players were chosen due to their “fundraising, organizational, leadership and networking experience,” as well as their skill and experience with Quidditch. A second string team of understudies or “standby fliers” was selected based on the same qualifications in the event that a first string player becomes injured or is unable to attend the Expo.

The IQA received over 150 nominations for the Olympic Expo US team and in the end, not a single Middlebury Quidditch player was selected to represent the United States in Oxford.

An official statement from Middlebury Quidditch expressed disappointment in the lack of Middlebury representatives and threw support behind Team USA. Middlebury nominated players Adrienne Losch ’12 and Luke Greenway ’14.5 for the Expo Games. Losch is a beater and veteran member of two World Cup-winning teams. Greenway, too, is a beater, and competed on the most recent World Cup team. Scheduling conflicts and financial difficulties prevented more Middlebury Quidditch players from receiving nominations.

“It’s slightly de-legitimizing to the Olympic Team that nobody from the World Cup winning team is on the squad, although I don’t think the IQA or Quidditch community is worried about that,” Greenway said frustratedly.

Middlebury does not have any representatives within the organizational side of the IQA (aside from Benepe, of course), which Greenway believes has influenced the state of play in a manner that has created an anti-Middlebury bias of sorts.

“Middlebury is not a hyper-competitive sports school like many of the large universities that we’re seeing become prominent in Quidditch,” Greenway said. “We play the game because want to relax and have fun after a long week … That’s not to say that other schools aren’t playing for the same reason, but it’s my opinion that there are schools out there that are taking it too seriously,” alluding to the increasingly violent state of play.

Greenway added that many of the uber-competitive Quidditch teams have representatives within the IQA’s planning and organizational staff, thus creating a strained relationship with the IQA. “It’s difficult for Middlebury Quidditch players to want to be involved in an organization that doesn’t seem to share the same values or goals as our team.”

Team France’s jersey for the 2012 Expo Games.

The perceived anti-Middlebury bias within the Quidditch community stems from opposing views on excessive violence and physical contact in the game and the College’s status as five-time World Cup champions and Quidditch founders. In other words, Middlebury Quidditch walks on to the playing field with a target on their backs due to their status as reigning champions and their pseudo-subversive lighthearted play. Regional coordinators within the IQA were contacted for comment but none responded.

What advantages Middlebury had during the earlier years of Quidditch no longer exist. “In my opinion we’ve become an underdog as a small liberal arts school competing against these huge universities. The advantage that we had from having invented the sport has worn off,” mused Greenway.

An official date for the Olympic Expo Games has not been confirmed yet. Teams from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and France are expected to compete. In hosting the Expo Games, the IQA “seeks to showcase Quidditch as a new and dynamic sport to the world,” according to a statement on the organization’s website.

What do you think? Is Middlebury’s lacking presence at the upcoming Expo Games a natural result of the expansion and prevalence of Quidditch teams, or is the IQA being unfair?

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10 thoughts on “Middlebury Left Out of London Quidditch Expo Games

  1. To be fair, Middlebury lacking representatives in the IQA is nothing short of their own fault. I have not seen any midd applicants say anything for plenty of volunteer positions. And up until just this past winter, there was a middlebury player on the LMC/gameplay department. He chose to leave (spot still unfilled).

    As for the actual point, the olympic selections, I really can’t speak to that, because I wasn’t involved in the slightest. But there are just a lot lot lot of teams and people. Maybe Middlebury works better as a unit than individuals? But that’s just a guess

  2. So, Middlebury nominated two players to be part of the team. and you expect at least one of these two to make the team because of the qualifications that you just stated? obvi middlebury is the raining champs, but if you put those two middlebury players next to anyone on that 1st team, there is no comparison. and, it is not only physical/athletic skill, but also players who have given extraordinary help to the game. neither of these two fit that bill. to my knowledge, they aren’t on any IQA planning committees i’m sure if there were more nominations (like, more middlebury players being available), then there would have been a player on the olympic team. but you should expect to get on the team if you only have 2 nominations. be reasonable here.

  3. There’s nothing wrong with playing quidditch as a relaxing weekend activity. But when your team only travels to one tournament a year, how can your Team USA nominees stack up against players who play in several tournaments each semester? Those players have more stats and more evidence of a mastery of the game.

    As Dan said, all our openings are filled by applicants, and there haven’t been any Middlebury applicants. The board of directors used to have *four* Middlebury alums, but two have quit due to inactivity.

  4. There’s definitely two sides to this story.

    I’ve seen Adrienne Losch play, and she’s a beast.I don’t know if I’d put her on first team (ive only seen her play twice so my opinion is worthless here) because the girl beater field is pretty stacked (including my school’s wonderful Allison Gillette :D), but I definitely think she deserves at least a second team spot. I know one of our alumni who’s been innactive for more than a year made the second team, so that doesn’t seem fair. I mean, Losch even made the trek with the Middlebury skeleton team to their ill-fated Champions Series run (if my memory serves me correctly).

    BUT

    I don’t think that Middlebury should be given a spot on the team just because they are Middlebury. If you go back a couple of years to a simpler time, programs like theirs, ours and a few others were the center of the Quidditch universe by default. There were only a handful of competitive programs, and even fewer that helped on the administrative side, so we didnt have to earn respect.. We’d just show up and everyone would say how awesome we were before we even started playing.

    I think this world cup was a rude awakening for many of the old-school quidditch programs in the regard that we realized that we’re actually going to have to work much, much harder to earn influence, respect and success in the league.

    To be fair, Middlebury isn’t alone in having a feeling entitled. People in my school’s program (which is Emerson btw), myself included, slip into it from time to time. The negative social media backlash we received after we won the Champions Series made abundantly clear. Looking forward though, I think its important for ALL of us to remember that success is earned, not given.

    Tl:DR – Adrienne probs should have made one of the teams imo, but Middlebury shouldn’t feel entitled to a spot, but its easy to feel entitled to a spot when you were essentially running the league a year or two ago.

  5. Greenway… what a whiny little boy (not my first choice of words)
    *wahh* they don’t even have someone from the World Cup champion team, how de-legitimizing *sob*sob*sob* all those big universities ganging up on poor little Middlebury

    next time you talk to a reporter, try to have a backbone

  6. Midd Quidditch Gets Straight Up Snubbed

  7. This comments prove what Greenway said. Quidditch is being taken too seriously. It’s Quidditch. The fact that there is a “national team” is absurd in itself. Middlebury should be happy nobody is on the team.

  8. Having had a few legitimate conversations with the Middlebury team, I believe that they are right. They are being targeted more and more every year, even though their team is shrinking. I feel as though that even with the size of their club shrinking, it is important to note that they are still able to play well on a national stage and do have some stand-outs on the squad that make them great. While they didn’t play well in the Championship Series, because many of them were writing theses or had other schoolwork (they have very intense programs), they still should have some respect from other schools. I believe that it is a little sad to see the bitterness that others have towards Middlebury as a whole and as individuals.
    The direction quidditch is going in is also not my favorite, as I like to just jump around and be goofy on the field. But if it goes in that direction of more physicality, I guess I will break my collarbone again just to have a little fun. I’d rather not have that happen though.

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