World Cup VII was one of the largest formal tournaments to date. While the most attendees were competing players, many from various demographics attended the tournament.
With over 4500 attendees, World Cup VII was one of the IQA’s largest formal tournaments to date. While the bulk of these attendees consisted of competing players, the tournament was visited by a variety of demographics, including players from deferred and new teams, snitches, and more. All of these people traveled to Myrtle Beach, S.C. for their own reasons, but all were united by the desire to watch the best teams in the world go head-to-head.
KJ Ragland is a player for the San Marcos Sharknados, a team that qualified for World Cup VII. However, since they are one of two very skilled teams located in San Marcos, Texas, it was unfortunately decided that the Sharknados would sit this one out while Texas State University moved forward to defend the honor of the city both teams call home. The Sharknados’ spot was deferred, but Ragland said she quickly decided she would make the trek anyway.
“Texas State is like our varsity team,” said Ragland. “I didn't care if it was going to be me there filming State’s games or if I would just end up watching each game; I just wanted to be there for my friends. I filmed a few of Texas State’s games, took pictures during another and ended up standing alongside the team on the sidelines during their semifinal and final matches on field one.”
Ragland said she was excited to be able to attend this year’s World Cup, as the financial and travel situation for her--as it likely was for an enormous number of attendees--was tricky. Ragland drove three and a half hours from San Marcos to Houston, then flew to Charleston, S.C. and then drove another two and a half hours to the North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex, where the World Cup was held.
“Due to flight delays and changes, we didn't arrive at our hotel until nearly four in the morning, but we were up and at the fields by nine,” Ragland said. “We were running on empty for most of the weekend, but it was worth it.”
Muhammad Haroun Azizi is a player from Raleigh, N.C., and he plays for Quidditch Club of the Carolinas (QCC). Because QCC failed to qualify, Azizi--pretty easily recognized by players in the Mid-Atlantic and South regions as a fairly active snitch--attended WCVII as a primary snitch assigned to games at both pool play and bracket play levels
Photo Courtasy of Brian Davis
“If my team had qualified, I would have come as a player who also volunteered,” said Azizi. “It was my first World Cup experience, and it was definitely an eye opener.”
Azizi said his own “World Cup journey” was filled with adversity and obstacles, and that when he faced issues with old teammates, he found refuge in the snitching community.
“I rose above it,” he said. “I made every single second, every fight as a snitch worth it. Each and every fight was in honor of those who helped me, those who couldn’t be there, for the people who couldn’t fight themselves and for my fellow snitches.”
Emma Kahn is the captain of a basic-membership team in Ohio at the College of Wooster. In order to show her newest players what the highest level of competition and athleticism in the quidditch world looks like, she chose to drive 15 members of her non-qualifying team to WCVII to observe the action.
“They were not completely unknowing as to what it's like to see games at that level, being in the Midwest region with teams like Ohio State University and Bowling Green State University, who consistently do well and are extremely well-known,” said Kahn.
But she insisted that the importance of the roadtrip lay in pointing out just how many teams across the country were performing at such a high level of competition.
“For them to see that there are many teams all over the country that are even better than those within our region was an extreme wake-up call,” she said.
Kahn started out the weekend by watching a game with each of her players individually. She then had that player tell her things they saw that they liked and didn't like. It was a practice in gameplay analysis, as well as one-on-one bonding. By the end of the first day, the entire team buzzed with new play ideas.
“It scared them a little bit to see how rough quidditch can get,” Kahn said. “It's definitely a hard realization to come to, but it's something that they needed to be aware of.”
Taking her players to North Myrtle Beach inspired them to work even harder than they already do, and it inspired them to perform at a higher, more competitive level. Kahn said the trip will weigh heavily into the decision of whether or not to become a tournament team in the coming year.
Snitch Development Team UK Representative Nicole Stone founded, coaches and plays for the Reading Rocs of Reading University. Although Stone does not play with an IQA-official team, she was one of the primary snitches at WCVII. Hailing from the United Kingdom, Stone travelled farther than many other WC attendees. She said this was not only her first World Cup but also her first time in the United States and travelling abroad on her own.
Photo by Michael E. Mason/IQA Staff
“It was a huge adventure and experience for me: so many new faces and new friends,” she said. “It was also fantastic to make new friends and meet up with players I haven’t seen since I played for Team UK at the Summer Games.”
Stone took great delight in the fun tricks she played on the seekers of her games.
“I had a cup of tea in the middle of the pitch and then poured it--well, it was water, really--all over the seeker’s head,” she said.
Stone hopes that if she left one impression on the attendees of WCVII, it’s that snitch size is not that relevant to snitch skill.
“I hope I managed to show that size is not important,” she said. “My snitch name is Little Snitch, after all.”