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 Ryan Peavler, coach and captain of Texas State University - San Marcos.
Ryan: Over the summer break, I watched the film of every game we played at World Cup and those leading up to World Cup to find our faults and why we we fell short in the final match. After deciding on our first roster of 21 for the new season, we went to work drilling the new strategies and fixes for the team. Placing second in the world is an amazing achievement; however, it is something none of us want to do again. It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. This year, we are all determined to take first, and we won't settle for any less.
QP: What will it take to win World Cup?
Ryan: Stay healthy. The four times we made it to finals/semifinals against Lone Star Quidditch Club, we had lost major components of our team. Two of the games we knew we were too hurt to compete, and the other two games we were just out of snitch range. Having a full roster would have put us in a much better position. Secondly, not breaking under pressure. By the time World Cup rolls around we will not only be a different team, but a more well-drilled team. What we learned will be second nature, and as long as the pressure doesn't get to our younger players, we will be more than prepared to take down the elite teams in the final rounds of World Cup.
QP: How are you preparing for World Cup?
Ryan: We are preparing for World Cup the same way we have been all year: practicing, studying, and trying not to be predictable.
QP: How would you describe the team’s style of play?
Ryan: I would just say determined. We don't have "superstars" as defined by the rest of the quidditch community like all the other elite teams. So without that, I would just say our style is determination to be better and prove to ourselves that we are better than the top-tier teams.
QP: You do have a lot of top players though. Can you talk about a few of the key individuals?
Ryan: Every player on the team is there for a reason; even the lower strings have specific jobs that they are responsible for. Sure, missing a starting chaser hurts more than a lower player, but as far as key individuals go, I have 21 of them.
QP: A number of the team's beaters (yourself included) have been praised throughout the season. Do you think there's something about the team that has allowed for that success, or is it simply a case of having really talented players?
Ryan: Both. The skill level of our beaters is easily at the highest level, and the way we run our beaters is unlike other teams. That combination has rewarded us throughout the season and has been the strongest part of our game.
QP: Can you elaborate more on the team's use of beaters?
Ryan: I'd love to, since it's my favorite topic. However, I shouldn’t.
QP: Are there particular teams that you hope to face?
Ryan: Not particularly. I'll be happy as long as the other teams are not from the Southwest; we play those teams enough.
QP: Outside of a title, what do you hope your team takes away from the experience?
Ryan: We are there to win the World Cup. It's what we have been working toward all year. To be honest, I’ve never thought of another reason to be there.
QP: What do you think someone seeing your team for the first time at World Cup will be most surprised by?
Ryan: How unathletic our team looks. When you look across the field at a new opponent, you tend to size them up. Seeing us for the first time isn't impressive, especially when we stand next to other elite teams.
QP: Yet you are obviously wildly successful. Looks can be deceiving?
Ryan: Don't judge a book by its cover kind of stuff.
QP: Is there anything else you think our readers should know about your team? Do you want to talk about any players? You had a Team USA selection after all...
Ryan: Yes, that is true. I just don't like talking about specific players. The quidditch community values popularity way more than a player’s actual talent. At least, that's what I gather.
QP: Do you mind talking about the reputation you and the team have seemed to earn?
Ryan: Off the field, we are very fun and a nice group of people. We all have a lot of friends inside and out of our organization who get along well with everyone, and we are a pretty tight-knit family. However, on the field it's like a switch gets flicked on. We get aggressive, and our sideline has a bad habit of yelling every time the other team does something illegal. That being said, we play very much by the rules and pride ourselves on it. However if you try to play us dirty, we will come after you. So if that is the only game you see from us then you might think we are jerks. I don't blame you; if i was in your position, I would too.
QP: Is that something you want to change?
Ryan: Yes and no. Obviously, we shouldn't be yelling if a bad call is made or something like that. I want all my players to play more aggressively when we are getting knocked down or cheated or whatever. It means we have passion. I'd be more worried if we just didn't care.
QP: Thanks, Ryan; we appreciate your time.