Hey Now…Wanna Toss Around a Quaffle?

Those Doombots look like they take their Quidditch very seriously.

Those Doombots look like they take their Quidditch very seriously.

The problem with being a teacher is that when you have time off…everyone that you know who isn’t a teacher is working in some kind of intellectual salt mine. I knew that I would have PLENTY of time to get a Monday post done on Monday, and made no real attempt to get it done in a timely fashion. This was important, because this Monday, I have had nothing to do.

That’s not entirely true. I’ve sent a storm of e-mails…of very useful emails. Most of them were related to closing up shop on the school year, and settling various accounts of different kinds. Nothing terribly interesting, but at the same time, very personally necessary. Easy to do that sort of thing while laying out a pair of simple panels. I had plenty of time to decide on what kind of grungy sports wear that the protagonist would have for Quidditch, and to decide that the other guy should look like a a hockey player. Every now and then type something, and hit “send.”

It did, however, outline the problem for the rest of the summer…how does one keep busy? I took to planning, because teachers are good at that. With a notebook and pen, I started to list various projects that need to get done over the summer. Serious Projects. One involves building a machine that my friends and I basically designed last summer, but have never really gone to prototype on. Something presentable, for pitch meetings for the thing. So that went in the notebook, with a timeline of steps that I need to do to make it happen. With eight hours a day at my disposal while everyone is at work and unable to play, it shouldn’t even take that long. My friends did a lot of the groundwork already, and the process is refined.

So, with that flow chart in mind, I went to the next thing, a computer programming task. That task has undergone many, many metamorphoses, and it turns out I made a test run of entirely the wrong kind of program. That happens. Just like when drawing things, sometimes you have to erase and start over. The current form of the project seems…kind of simple. Like…very, very simple. The process of writing down the tasks that would be involved actually seemed to make it even easier than I thought. So I made some hasty notes, and then sort of a timeline, and that was done. Since both of those projects are collaborative, I need to talk to my collaborators…but they look like they will have a serious amount o time in June.

I like building things, so that’s good.

Still…none of this is PLAY. It is more intellectually challenging than my job has been for some time, and that’s wonderful. But…sometimes you need to just go out and do something physical, something for fun’s sake.

I’ve been putting off buying a new pair of rollerblades for months. I love rollerblades. Like, in a way that’s almost unhealthy. Since the Union got me this massive retroactive paycheck…I think that I’ll treat myself to a new pair of skates. That sounds like a very good use of some of those funds.

Also, the process of researching some sort of sport to play locally, maybe socially came up. I love being active, being part of an athletic community. I also think that maybe it’s time to do something completely different…the process of being involved in the New, voluntarily, is pretty key to a kind of happiness I think. Rollerblades are great, but they aren’t New as far as I’m concerned.

I haven’t decided on a new sports endeavour yet, but was fascinated to see that Quidditch, the J.K. Rowlings invented game from the Harry Potter novels is still on the rise as a growing, legitimate game. US Quidditch or the United States Quidditch Association, is a non-profit organization that governs the sport of Quidditch in the United States of America. This sport was founded in 2005 at Middlebury College, in Middlebury, Vermont. In 2007, the first Quidditch World Cup was played between Middlebury college and Vassar College from Poughkeepsie, New York. By this time, Quidditch had become the most popular club on campus at Middlebury College. In March 2010, United States Quidditch or “USQ” was made into a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Right? A non-profit governing body for a national sports organization. Largely college driven, but outside the auspices and jurisdiction of NCAA. Pretty interesting.

And apparently pretty serious, as a sport, despite whimsical beginnings. In 2012, hundreds of teams begin to establish at other universities and colleges all of the United States, and now over 110 teams are currently members of the USQ. In July 2012 the International Quidditch Association hosted the Summer Games in Oxford, United Kingdom, which was won by the United States. In September, The United States Quidditch association formed a referee development team which trains individuals to become referees in the sport. In 2013, Quidditch was televised for the first time in history, as a sporting event.

As if that wasn’t all interesting enough for a previously fictitious sport…last week, they released the 9th Edition of their rules for the upcoming 2015-2016 season! Nine editions!

Apparently, I can go to their web site, and find a team near me. Since I’ve already done that, I can tell you the closest is the Wizards of Westwood, which is predicatbly, in Westwood by UCLA. They play with UCLA pretty often, but don’t have current contact information. So, even if I wanted to pay my USQ membership fee online, the chances of a “pick-up game” are pretty small. Still, the pages here and here, about starting official school teams are food for thought…

…in case I want to do something completely outside the box next year, when I get back to teaching. I should probably find that pick up game first, though.


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