Monday, December 29, 2014

Snow Cup V Rings in the New Year

By Morgan McGrath

The time of the annual Snow Cup is upon us again. With more players signed up than ever before and a new venue for the famous Snow Ball, this year’s Cup is sure to be one for the books.

The fifth annual Utah Snow Cup starts on Dec. 31, 2014 and ends on Jan. 3, 2015 in Salt Lake City. Although this is the fifth time that Utah Quidditch is hosting the Cup, there have been many changes over the years.

On March 12, 2011, the first Utah Snow Cup brought official teams from Arizona and Utah together to compete, with the Utah Crimson Fliers taking home the gold.

The second annual Snow Cup, held on Feb. 4, 2012, boasted mostly official teams as well as few merc teams. The February weather during the tournament proved to be a factor in competition, but the Utah Crimson Fliers were victorious once again.

The third annual Cup, which was hosted on Jan. 5, 2013, put the emphasis on “snow” during the Snow Cup with a maximum temperature of 20 degrees. This tournament was made up mostly of merc teams and few official teams. Though the Blue Team (merc) won the Cup this time around, the chilling cold of this tournament pushed the tournament directors to move the tournament indoors for the years to come.

“At Snow Cup III, it was seven degrees [outside] when I got to the fields, so you can imagine [that] it was cold,” current tournament director, Sequoia Thomas said.

The fourth annual Cup, held on Jan. 4, 2014, was moved indoors to the Utah Sports Lounge. Another ground breaking change for the fourth Cup was that it was made a purely fantasy tournament, which opened the Cup to every region in the United States. With 150 players who signed up for the tournament as well as 46 waitlisted players, it was a success.

“Last year, Beto's Brown Team won,” Thomas said. They weren't expected to win, but they came out strong with lots of unknown players.”

This year’s tournament had 150 players sign up to play in a remarkable 36 minutes, but went through over 70 waitlist players, according to Thomas. A difference this year is also that the teams were picked through a snake draft, in which each non-playing GM per team picks a player from the pool until all 15 slots of each team are full.

“I'd put my money on White or Brown, but fantasy tournaments are always a toss up,” Thomas said. “Bad team chemistry can ruin a team that seems the have the strongest players from the outside.”

This tournament will span four days, beginning on New Year’s Eve with the New Year’s Eve Bash and a day of recovery on New Year’s Day. Tournament play will begin at 10 a.m. on Jan. 2 at the Utah Sports Lounge and will continue on the next day at 10 a.m. at the Spence Eccles Field House.

“The biggest Snow Cup tradition is the Snow Ball, the brain child of George Williams and Dakota Briggs,” Thomas said. “The Snow Ball really came into its own last year. We've had issues before [like] being in a church gym and not being able to play certain music [and] being on campus and having to disallow alcohol. We finally found the right venue, and this year we're moving to the new location which is bigger and better.”

The fifth annual Snow Ball will take place on Jan. 3 at 9:30 p.m.

Though it all boils down to the true competitive spirit of the quidditch community, spending time with players from across the country is what really matters in the end, according to Thomas.

“Snow Cup is about playing the sport with people that you want to spend time with,” Thomas said. The competitive atmosphere is there, but it is not the main focus. The big things are the hang outs and the parties and the things that allow you to spend time with people who live far away but who you admire.”

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