Sunday, April 5, 2015

80 in 80: British Columbia

As part of our efforts to preview all 80 teams competing in USQ World Cup 8, the Quidditch Post is chatting with representatives from each team. Today we spoke with
Lex Rowe, coach and captain of University of British Columbia Quidditch (UBC).

Photo Credit: University of British Columbia Quidditch Team
Quidditch Post: As the last team to qualify from the final regional championship held, UBC was the final team to qualify for World Cup. What does that mean for you and the team?
Lex: World Cup has been a dream for our team since its inception in 2010. For the past two years, we have been attempting to get to World Cup, but with money and other unforeseen circumstances, something always came up that prevented us from attending. To the team, this is a huge payoff for all of the incredible, passionate, and hard work put in over the years in the form of blood, sweat, and tears (literally) from our players, our executives, and our club as a whole. In the past five years, we've come from hula hoops taped to the ground and one practice a week, to an 80-member strong body ranked top in the Northwest going into the regional championship with two fully functioning competitive teams (British Columbia Quidditch Club [BCQC] and UBC Quidditch).

Though during the Northwest Regional Championship we were unable to compete against Western Washington University (WWU) for second place (the team ranked second in the region, and arguably our closest rivals), we did have the opportunity to play against the massively improved and skilled Boise State Abraxans, the third of the "Big Three" in the Northwest, of whom we had to play twice to make it into the finals. It was unfortunate that our schedule held two games against Boise, while WWU's held none against any of the "Big Three." We fought our hearts out regardless of who we played during the very long tournament. Unfortunately, although Boise pulled away with a win and we were unable to play BCQC for third place (the team was very injured and nearly didn't have enough for the gender rule, forcing it to forfeit the match), we had played BCQC earlier in the day and won by a significant amount, though our BCQC players fought with their hearts on their sleeves and showed incredible skill on the pitch. As a club that supports unity with both teams, we were happy once we met BCQC in the tournament for third place. At that point, UBC had earned a third spot for World Cup, something that we've been working our asses off to achieve for over five years and finally did in a way we are proud and content with, despite the odds being stacked against us. UBC has always been the story of underdogs, and taking the last available bid to World Cup only makes us prouder to have made it this far. It's been an uphill battle the past five years with no rest for the wicked, but it has been incredibly inspirational, fulfilling, and magical. To me, this is a dream that will be coming true. I could not be more honoured to be the president of the club that is taking the final bid for World Cup for the opportunity to play amazing teams we have dreamed of playing and to bring the strength of the Northwest to the rest of the country!

QP: The team had such long distances to travel before the creation of the Northwest region. I remember a few years ago you went down to Los Angeles. How has the new region impacted the team?
Lex: Honestly, the new region has been a godsend! Travelling to Los Angeles was an amazing experience, and a total blast. But speaking from personal experience, I barely slept, and the road trip was a struggle (though also a huge bonding session). Getting the Northwest region meant being able to compete at a high level that was a lot closer to home than we'd ever been before. It is basically the reason we were able to even dream of World Cup this year.

As a team that is isolated from the hub and highly competitive quidditch in Eastern Canada, as well as the great quidditch in the West and Southern areas of the United States, a Northwest Region gave us great competition at a lot closer distance than ever before. One of the reasons we decided to run an official B-team was to make sure our region had enough teams to stay a region; shoutout to Kym Couch for believing in the region so much and making it a reality!

QP: Who would you say are some of the team's key players?
Lex: Everyone on the team is key. But Erica Milley is an amazing beater captain. She has trained our beaters to be an incredibly strong and unafraid to be physical unit. Our chaser captain, Lendl Magispoc, has brought a lot of his past football knowledge to chaser plays, which has been amazing. Cameron Cutler is one of our stud players and has the incredible ability to play every single position exceptionally well. Elizabeth Benoy can stop anyone on defence. Janik Andreas and Brandon Rivas are really incredible, competitive beaters who are great with intimidation on point beats and brute force. Simon Honigmann is wicked on defence and as a keeper. I really could go on and on.

QP: How would you describe the team's style of play?
Lex: Definitely physical. With Lendl's past football/rugby experience, it has brought a very physical aspect to our team. We aren't afraid to hit or be hit. This year, we've been working a lot more on strategy: running quidditch-specific plays to maintain/regain bludger superiority, open up players, etc. We put our hearts out on the pitch and aren't afraid to toss a few people around or be tossed to get that quaffle in the hoop or catch the snitch. We have some great point defenders too; defence is very important to our team. "Defence wins games," as many of our members like to say.

QP: Do you think the Swiss Style will have any impact on the team?
Lex: I think it will be really interesting to play teams that we have never seen before, especially top teams in USQ. Our seeding is quite high in the USQ rankings due to the amount of games/wins we've played, so it should be interesting. We are likely to meet really great teams, and we are excited. It will be a great challenge and great way to see how really high-level quidditch is played.

QP: Are there particular teams you'd like to play?
Lex: Personally, it would be amazing to play the Lost Boys (we met them in Los Angeles last year and kept the game within snitch range) and Boise again. I am curious to also play someone like Lone Star Quidditch Club or University of Texas at Austin; that would just be a really interesting experience.

QP: What are your goals for World Cup?
Lex: To play our hearts out. To meet some amazing teams we've never seen before. To experience some really intense quidditch. To watch some amazing games in real time. Basically just to attend is my goal, and play as hard as we can.

QP: Thanks, Lex, we appreciate your time!
Lex: No problem. Thanks for taking the time to make this!

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