Our TOTALLY AWESOME Weekend: Quidditch World Cup V

As you read in our last post, we were fortunate enough to win the contest through All About Group Travel for a weekend at the fifth annual Quidditch World Cup. On Friday, November 11, myself, Angela, Martha, and our team mom (mine, d’aww) woke up before the crack of dawn and drove out to New York City. Fifteen hours later we pulled up in front of the Clarion Hotel at LaGuardia Airport and met Natae, Marie Sperling’s daughter. She gave me an AAGT t-shirt, a coach pass (in the form of a wristband), and a hardy welcome, and after a crazy fight to find parking that the hotel falsely advertised as available, we arrived in our free room. Unfortunately we stumbled in and found a cockroach and a suspicious bed-bug carcass, but after a moment speaking with the management, my mom negotiated an upgrade in our room, and we ended up with a decent one in the hallway with other IQA teams. The next morning we went to our 6:30am breakfast group and munched on bagels and toaster waffles while we waited for our 7:15 coach. The other teams present looked quite formidable with their sharp yet humorous jerseys, capes, and brooms. During breakfast we met the other contest winner, Sadhbh Corkery, and her father, who had flown in from Ireland the day before. They were incredibly nice, but Sadhbh’s dad was quite the muggle and uninterested in attending the Cup, so Sadhbh officially joined our group.

After a short coach ride to the fields on Randall’s Island, Sadhbh and I were escorted to the front team entrance, given All-Access wristbands, and introduced to IQA Commissioner Alex Benepe. We reconvened with the rest of our group and went exploring the fields, discovering tents for Mugglenet, Harry Potter Alliance, Allivan’s, and soooo much more. Then, while we were waiting for the Opening Ceremony to begin, we watched a man unload the Ford Anglia used by Warner Brothers in their Harry Potter exhibits. He even allowed us to get inside for pictures!

 

Our first match observation was between the Harvard Horntails and LSU, and LSU kicked butt. Still, it was pretty amazing to see the Harvard kids in action. Note: they’re intimidating even with brooms between their legs. We’re convinced that the LSU teams dominated because they had better nicknames, though. Who can go up against a ninja and win?

Seriously, who?

We continued to watch matches until 2:30ish, when our hunger made us confused zombies. IQA ended up with 10,000 people at the event, way more than last year, and they were just as surprised about it as the rest of the world. They only prepared two food vendors, a waffle truck and a comprehensive food tent that began selling burgers and hot dogs around 11. We did not wait in line as they crossed the field and circled multiple pitches – facebook posts say that most people waited in line for close to two hours only to discover the vendors were out of food. Instead of waiting in line, we went to ask ticket-takers about where else we could find food and whether or not Martha, Angela, and my mom would be allowed reentry, since they did not get wristbands and Randall’s Island Security strictly stated reentry would not happen. The nice girls at the team entrance told us to ignore them and took us to the Tennis Center across the street whose café only had a 30 minute wait. Unfortunately everyone else had the same idea at the same time, so our 30 minutes became a confused hour in which Sadhbh’s food disapperated into a black hole. There were clean, warm bathrooms though!

We returned to the fields and bought a few souvenirs, then grabbed places in front of the concert stage for STARKID. Joe Moses and Brittany Coleman came as Snape and Bellatrix to perform a “talkshow” called Potions Corner. They sang, interviewed Alex ‘Benepeepee’ and drew a huge crowd away from the pitches. After they finished, the four of us took photos of the New York skyline at dusk, and then found ourselves next to a line waiting for Joe and Brittany to exit their tent, which we joined OF COURSE.

After what seemed like an eternity, we spoke with them and got autographs and a picture.

After this is got dark and cold QUICK. We were still starving, and we were recuperating from our fourteen hour drive the day before, so we called a cab from the Tennis Center to take us back to our hotel, as the coach wouldn’t come until 10pm and construction kept any buses from LaGuardia from stopping on the Island. The cab ended up being a limo service in order to sit us all, and I was absolutely terrified, mostly because it looked exactly like Mr. Chow’s SUV in The Hangover. We weren’t kidnapped, though, just robbed of $70 to drive a total of six miles. Ahh, New York.

The next morning we got up super early again and headed out on the bus, then the subway, to Manhattan. Sadhbh’s dad came with us as his muggleness didn’t get in the way of sightseeing. The subway let us out in Times Square, which was dumbfounding. The buildings were all so ridiculously tall that we felt like ants, and there were flashing lights everywhere competing for our attention. The most successful was a billboard attached to a camera pointed at us – being on tv definitely caught our eye. Though everything was huge, the square itself and the New Years ball were much smaller than I’d expected – I can’t imagine packing all those people we see on December 31st into that tiny space to watch that tiny little shiny ball! We acted like total tourists taking pictures of everything we saw as we walked down the street towards Central Park. Sadhbh had her first ever pretzel from a street vendor, and though it tasted like cardboard, there is nothing more impressive than eating a pretzel from a cart in the middle of Times Square.

We must have wandered around Central Park for forever. There were horse-drawn carriages and bicycle cars everywhere, and we stumbled into the children’s park first thing. As we wandered along we passed by a carousel, statues, and so many musicians and performers. Our last stop was the quintessential fountain that’s in so many movies about the Big Apple, and under the overpass was a family of choral singers adding a beautiful auditory note to the scene!

As we made our way back to the subway station, we stopped for a lunch of real New York pizza (which is sooo much better than Chicago style if you ask me… Martha feels differently, lol). Our trip back took a bit longer than expected as construction totally threw off the 7 line, but when we finally got back, we took our own car over to the fields so as to avoid the cab costs (and discovered that we could have saved over $100 if we’d stayed off the coach in the first place, had AAGT not lied to us about it being cheaper than parking on the island).

We arrived during single elimination matches and got to watch the Texas snitch working his magic on the field. He outran the seekers and had time to visit with us before they caught up.

Afterwards we watched more final games, bought our last souvenirs, and gaped at Joe Moses and Brittany Coleman standing with Alex Benepe. Sadhbh’s friends had texted her declaring their jealousy in the form of hatred for our meeting with the former two the night before, so she caught up with them and asked them to say hello to all of her friends in a video.

The saddest point of the weekend was when we had to leave, as it was before the Championship games. We lacked three passes to them as our weekend passes did not include the finals, and we had a strict timeline for traveling back to Indiana. Sadhbh was able to attend them, though, and recorded video from some of the finals matches.

So as horrible as our hotel and transportation issues were, the Cup itself heavily outweighed them in totally awesome-ness. We learned some amazing strategies (not to be posted online, muahaha) and incredible insights into what our team could do to fly in full speed instead of blumbering in like squibs. We can’t wait to hold our Call-Out Meeting, which is aimed for November 29 but may need to wait, as Autumn needs for us to have our risk assessed first (which requires a few more hoops). I say we have a Call-Out on November 29 even if we have to hold it outside on Kirkwood, and we’ll wait to have a huge one with a documentary screening until our risk is assessed later in the semester, but I’d like to have input on the subject before we decide for sure.

One thing is for sure, though: we’re pursuing Club Sports status. After speaking with teams this weekend and reading through the guidebook, CSF status is our key to success. News on this to come after our risk level is determined.

 

 

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CSF, QWC, and AAGT (AKA: “More Acronyms! Yay!”)

Snipes, stick with me, I’ve got a loooong post for you about our past few weeks. (It has an awesome ending, though… so keep reading!)

On October 27th I met with the assistant director of Club Sports. For various reasons we were not allowed to present at the November 1st meeting, which means we will not be eligible for funding until the 2013/2014 year if we apply anytime between the December meeting and next November. The other issue we face is that we are considered a “fantasy” sport in their eyes, which will make this battle a hard one to fight. Loren assured me that CSF is looking forward to our presentation, but Autumn seemed much more apprehensive about our success. We have to find the fine line between being too risky and being a “fantasy” sport (code word for “not a”). The Vice Presidents and I discussed this issue and have come up with a few options. The first is that since we’ve already fought to become a Student Organization, we take a break and actually focus on the team itself. The problem with this is that although we wouldn’t be eligible for funding, CSF offers benefits in the form of a weekly practice area, especially if we’re interested in the Woodlawn soccer fields next to Collins. With that in mind, we discussed applying for CSF at the start of next semester. This would mean a lot of preparation and hard work, which would postpone the official start of our spring semester House Championships. If we are approved, this also means a lot more work for the administrators of the team, as much stricter requirements must be met, including attendance at a monthly CSF meeting. The benefit of a weekly practice area is also in question, as if we seem like a threat to the current sports in the CSF, we will not get the 2/3rds vote of approval that we need. They mentioned that if we didn’t vie for space, we’d be more successful. So. Our current final decision on this issue is that we will not be applying for CSF standing this academic year. We will focus on creating a successful team, even if we have no funding and must practice in Bryan Park, because we feel that building a strong team is much more important than their name.

The day before my CSF meeting with Autumn, I found an exciting announcement from the IQA. All About Group Travel is the official travel agency for this year’s Cup, and they were holding a contest to give away hotel stay, coach transportation, and a weekend pass to one person attending the World Cup. Naturally, we entered! I pressured Angela and Martha into entering as well so we’d stand more of a chance. It was merit based, and they said getting comments and likes wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Our entries are here for any cavemen on the team without Facebooks:

They announced the winner, Brittany Hazelton, on Tuesday November 1, so we began making plans to get there on our own – we weren’t about to miss out on this amazing opportunity for the team!

Then on Friday, as I was scanning through my Facebook news feed, I saw that I’d been picked as a second place winner!!! At first, I was going to decline the contest package. As fantastic as it was, the winnings would only go to me. If the whole group was still to go, we’d spend the same amount of money and I’d be rooming across town with a complete stranger. It seemed like it would benefit someone else much more than us.

I began correspondence with Sadhbh Corkery, the other second place winner, and discovered she was a 17 year old girl living in Ireland, and that it was difficult for her to convince her parents that she should go, as she entered as a joke anyway. We continued talking over the course of the weekend, deciding that I would keep the contest package; if she came alone, I’d room with her, and otherwise she could have the whole room to herself and the extra weekend and coach passes. It turns out that the people at All About Group Travel have huge hearts, because in their generosity they offered Sadhbh and her father a room to themselves, and gave me the entire first room for our Midnight Snipes party.

So we’re on! This coming weekend is the Cup, so we’ve been scrambling to finalize plans and are ridiculously excited about getting a free room, breakfast, and reduced transportation fees thanks to AAGT’s coach. We look forward to meeting IQA officials and learning helpful hints that are going to make starting the team soooo much easier. And we’re really excited about being in New York City for the first time!!! This weekend will be a busy, expensive, amazing opportunity – stay tuned for pictures.

♥ Emily