Argumentative Paper draft 1

Allie Nelson

ENGL 1102

Julie Wright

28 February 2013

The International Quidditch Association (IQA)’s decision to eliminate the single sex institution exemption clause to the gender rule in Handbook 6 should be upheld and the community should be making every effort to preserve quidditch’s coed nature and increase gendered diversity in the sport.

It goes without saying that quidditch is one of the most unique sports in existence today. Originally invented in 1997 by author J. K. Rowling for the Harry Potter series, Quidditch was once simply the mythical fantasy sport played with flying brooms and magical balls.  It was first adapted for “muggle” (non-magical) play in 2005 and has since grown into the rough and tumble full contact sport played by university, high school, and community teams in over 28 states over 13 differend countries that speaks for itself.

Although the quidditch community at large has since done some evolving away from it’s mythical Harry Potter roots and towards the realm of athleticism and sportsmanship, (such as the depopularization and near complete cessation of cape usage) almost all of the significant aspects of the fictional original game remain in practice today. All players mount brooms while in play, the  balls used on the pitch are still known as quaffles and bludgers, and the game is ended when the tricky, often maniacal “snitch” is caught by a seeker.

Despite the vast importance that is finding the perfect balance of athleticism and whimsy, one could argue that one of the most important homages to J.K. Rowling’s quidditch is it’s emphasis on gender equality and diversity. J.K. Rowling’s sport was completely gender blind. The sport was participated in by both witches and wizards, both of equal value and neither more emphasized than the other. In this way Muggle Quidditch is not and should be no different.

Oneof quidditch’s most important defining factors that make it unique is it’s status as one of very few sports in the world that is coed at even it’s highest level. There are no womens and mens leagues in quidditch, there’s only one coed leage, the IQA. The IQA’s official ruling on gender diversity states that

“Each team must have at least two players in play that are of a different gender identity than at least two other players; that is, excluding the seeker, a team may not have 5 or 6 players of the same gender in play. The gender that a player identifies with is considered to be that player’s gender. We as a community are accepting and understanding of those who don’t identify with the binary gender system, acknowledge that this does not imply that our players all identify as “male” or “female,” and would like to welcome people of all identities and genders into our league. Because the seeker may spend the majority of the game off the pitch, seekers do not count toward the number of required gender-specific players. In the event that a team cannot field a full team in terms of gender minimum due to injury or players being sent off, the team may continue to play with fewer players, with the missing player still counting in terms of gender minimum.”

This ruling not only allows females (who-let’s face it, often find themselves at a physical disadvantage to males, especially in the world of sports) ample oppurtunity to prove themselves on the pitch, but offers a diverse athletic environment not commonly found in mainstream sports by forcing integrated play-and a lot of good has come of it. Rather than dismissed or ignored in the game in favor of their brawnier male counterparts, females are integrated into every aspect of the game. They learn what their own strengths are and how to utilize them for the benefit of the team. They’re allowed the oppurtunities to be trained as equals, hold themselves to the same standards, and grow as athletes alongside the males rather than beneath them. Rather than acting as “checks” on their mail counterparts to weigh down the team, they act as teammates. Many of the best beaters, chasers, keepers, and seekers in the IQA have been and are female. The gender rule allowed them to play with as few logistic and social limitations as possible.“Quidditch has a chance to redefine the standard. We can break the mold and facilitate change. (…)  it is providing for an interesting dynamic to the game that forces every player to grow as an athlete in ways they never imagined before.” (The Eighth Man)

If the IQA were to allow exemptions to the gender rule in the case of single sex institutions, the very coed nature of quidditch that is so precious to and charactaristic of quidditch would start to crumble. Quidditch is currently the world’s fastest growing sport. Although the only single sex teams presently in existence are all female ,there is no reason to believe that all male teams would never exist in the future, quite possibly even the near future. There is no feasible way that the IQA could justify making an exception to the gender rule for all female institutions without extending the same oppurtunity to all male teams. Many of these all female teams have appealed that their teams should be given exception on the basis that all female teams are less of a threat and could not pose a legitimate threat to other teams or the quidditch community. However, to deem female teams unproblematic or “less of a threat” oversimplifies the differences between a coed team and a single sex team as well as completely disregards the significance of gender diversity to the very foundation of quidditch’s history, values, and execution. While it’s unfortunate that the unique circumstances surrounding Smith quidditch and the other  all female teams in existence, it’s imperative that the needs of the quidditch community as a whole cannot yield to the needs of a small group of individuals.

Playing Quidditch and being IQA official are not synonymous, and being an unnoficial quidditch team is hardly the end of the world. Quidditch’s rapid expansion in recent years has resulted in a very large influx of new teams starting up virtualy everywhere. Many of these new teams choose to develop and grow as a team before forking over the $150 per year it takes to be IQA official and  making the commitment to attend major and regional tournaments for a chace to win a bid for the IQA World Cup. Many teams never choose to become a part of the IQA, focusing their attention as teams mainly to the local front rather than international for reasons social, economic, and unique to each team.

The state of North Carolina is  an excellent example of how quidditch has localized in recent years. Out of it’s 24 active quidditch teams, only 2 are IQA official-University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a well established team that  functions as the heart of North Carolina Quidditch, and QC Carolinas, a newly formed mixed team based in Winston Salem and composed of players from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia formed exclusively for the purpose of competing for a World Cup bid. Not only is QC Carolinas the only quidditch team representing North Carolina at the IQA World Cup VI this April, but is the first quidditch team in IQA history to represent the state at the international level. The other teams in the state are hardly missing out. The Carolina Quidditch Conference is an active organization that organizes matches, calculates rankings, holds an annual conference championship tournament (the Greensboro Gauntlet), and even puts on an annual Yule Ball for it’s members every winter. There is virtually no reason why quidditch teams from single sex institutions cannot play quidditch at the local or state level or participate in unofficial matches with teams that are IQA certified.

At it’s very core, quidditch is and should be a sport played by men and women side by side. Quidditch is one sport played by one community, and any attempts to expand by allowing single sex teams would only be detrimental to the very infrastructure of the community as a whole.

Reading Response 3

I think my writing style is very hit or miss. In some ways, I identify similarly with the author of the shitty rough drafts reading because I find myself stuck at a loss for words when I have to just start writing without a clear goal. It’s like getting in a car without a map or a destination. You just start driving, and you keep driving until either someone tells you to stop or you run yourself off a cliff. But on occasion I find that I am able to come up with a good thesis on the spot, and that’s when my writing is usually at it’s best. I think I’m pretty good at writing a solid thesis. Sometimes it just comes to me. Sometimes I have to think really long and hard about it and it’s super frustrating. But as soon as I know where I’m going, I find that I can get there rather quickly and rather naturally. It’s like one of my favorite feelings in the world when I’ve been stressing over a thesis forever and haven’t been able to come up with one that satisfies me or my goals and all of a sudden I finally have one. I write and speak in pretty much the same way. Sometimes I’m super articulate and passionate and sometimes I just babble on for stretches of time without any sign of purpose, slowing down, or stopping. But I think the babbling can be a really productive, creative process when I allow it to be.

Reading notes

Inquiry Blog 4

For my inquiry on the Quidditch Community’s Community of Practice, I have elected to write about the debate regarding the usage and legality of capes in the International Quidditch Association’s official handbook and utilization in gameplay for the entire world of quidditch. When I read through the handbook for the first time at the very beginning of my experiences with quidditch, I thought it was really cool that you could wear capes, but once I actually found myself becoming more familiar with the game and the community, I found that there is much of a heated debate regarding their practicality and safety, and I found myself on the anti-cape side of the argument. I know that usage of capes was much more widespread back in the earlier days of quidditch. (2005-2009ish) Since some of the oldest teams originated in the northeastern united states, I feel that there may be some correlation with this debate and the different IQA regions. I’m not sure about it, but it’s something that I would like to find out. I intend to focus mainly on how the cape argument has varied over time and how it varies by region. So far, I have acquainted myself mostly with the mid atlantic region (obviously because the mid atlantic region is the region that I play in) but I do have contacts in the midwest region, northeast region, european region, and south american region. I’d like to study what the players think and what the IQA officials think. Are they similar? Are they different? Does the IQA staff argue amongst themseles regarding capes, or are they at a general consensus? What is that consensus? I feel that this issue is very important because the utilization and legality of capes affects both the safety of our players as well as the image of ourselves that we promote as a community to the outside world. Is it a good idea to tie a cape around your neck in a sport that is heavy on physical agression and tackling? Can people really take us seriously if we dress like wizards? What does it mean to be “taken seriously”? How much does being “taken seriously” matter? I feel that there’s a lot to be explored on this front and I really look forward do doing some exploring.

Inquiry Blog 3

I think the main source of discussion among this COP is the official facebook groups

The IQA (All the regions) group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/239868546116354/

network used by about 1,000 people

There are also region specific groups, this is the mid atlantic’s (mine):

https://www.facebook.com/groups/228169693932620/

People use these pages to discuss tactics, recommend things like gloves, and discuss what’s going on in the quidditch world at large

People use this “quidditch scores” facebook group to keep tabs on other teams in other regions. People regularly report the scores of IQA official games.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/350463958376995/

I’ve noticed some tension between australian players and american players and this is something I might look back on

Free Write #?

I think the first thing that I need to do as a writer is to try to shake off some of the writing styles that I have taken on by being so active in the blogging community for so long

Basically

I find myself writing this a lott???

I find that my most natural state as a writer involves a lot of short bursts

My usage of punctiation is very distinctiveto thekinds of people that I write with and for

Involves a lot of sentence fragments

Question marks where  they aren’t needed???

??

THIS ISN’TEVEN CAPS LOCK I’M HOLDING DOWN SHIFT

To someon who’s accustomed to such a method of writing, it’s easy to understand and very natural to read-but to anyone from outside some of the discourse communities I’m a part of, it’s kind of a mess.

I’d like to start being more descriptive and writing like a normal person

Inquiry Blog 2

I have decided to immerse myself in and learn about the quidditch community. While I feel that I got a taste of the quid atlantic through the tournaments I experienced last year, but I think the connections that I have made and the much larger amount of tournaments that I will be attending this upcoming semester have given me a great opportunity to explore the community through a very diverse array of experiences.

QCC vs VCU vs VT @ VT 2/09/13 – I recently competed with my IQA (International Quidditch Association) official community team (QC Carolinas) in a mini tournament against 2 other IQA Teams

Rocky Top Rumble 2/16/13- I will (tentatively-plans may change) be competing with QC Carolinas at a Tournament in Cookeville, TN

A Cup Worth Fighting For 2/23/13- I will be competing with QC Carolinas as well as playing as a Snitch runner for several games. The Snitch runner is a very unique player who represents neither team. The game ends when the snitch is caught, so the snitch plays a very important but separate role in the game.

Shell Shocking Spectacular 3/3/13- I will be competing with a mercenary team (an unofficial, usually temporary team composed of players who either have no teams or whose teams are not represented at a tournament. This experience is very different from that of competing with one’s own team because it’s more fun centered as there is no pressure to qualify for a bid or affect rankings

Carolina Quidditch Conference Championships 3/23/13- I will be competing with UNCC’s Charlotte Quidditch for a shot at the conference championship. This will be Charlotte Quidditch’s first big tournament, for which I am very anxious and excited for. I will also be playing as a snitch and playing an all star game with QC Carolinas.

Mid Atlantic Snitch Academy 3/24/13- I will be attending a snitch academy to bolster my snitch skills and try to earn official snitch certification

World Cup VI 4/13-14/13- I will be competing with QC Carolinas at the IQA’s world championship tournament against teams from over 5 countries.

I feel that these experiences will immerse me in the sport in a very wide array of ways. I’m very very excited for them.

Some quidditch writing sources:

The IQA main website (full of IQA official news and rankings)

The IQA handbook (the detailed rules and regulations of the sport)

The Official World Cup Website (filled with information and news regarding the IQA world cup)

Quidditch Quarterly (The IQA’s official magazine)

The Eighth Man (quidditch’s most predominant unofficial news source)

From The Keeper Zone and The Dashing Seeker (2 of my favorite independent quidditch bloggers whose posts center around a player’s view of the game) I’ve considered starting one up myself. I might do that as part of this project. I’m not sure.

I think my own entrance into the quidditch community is an insurrection in and of itself. Most people, when they enter the world of quidditch, they do so by joining a team in their own schools or communities and become a part of quidditch through that team. While I have been aware of and intrigued by the existence of quidditch since late 2009, I did not have the opportunity to join a team or play the game in any way until Meg Stevens and I found eachother online and she informed me that she was starting up a quidditch team at UNCC and that I was welcome to join.

Charlotte Quidditch started with very humble beginnings.. Back in September in our very, very early days, our captain, Meg encouraged a few of our team’s players to join a mercenary team organized by a former ASU player named Nathan Love for Virginia Tech’s Sirius Blacksburg Brawl as a means of better acquainting ourselves to the game that we had only been playing for a few weeks. While the other Charlotte players marked the SBB down as a positive one time experience, I found myself completely enthralled by the world of quidditch, and I wanted more. Charlotte Quidditch was still young, and still growing. We practiced once a week and weren’t ready to join the Carolina Quidditch Conference or the IQA, which meant no tournaments or competitions.

Being the rapidly obsessive person that I always have been, I asked Nathan about other tournaments in the region-how I could play more quidditch, see more quidditch, anything. He informed me that he was bringing a mercenary team to University of Maryland for their tournament the next month but that the roster was full but I was welcome to come anyway. I was probably crazy to accept, but I did. I took an 8 hour bus ride to go watch quidditch. (my best friend from high school, Indigo also attended umd, so I figured I would kill two birds with one stone by visiting that weekend).

I’d intended to watch the tournament and root for UMD with Indigo (I’d met many of their players at the SBB and had developed quite the fondness for their team) but plans changed and Indigo informed me she had too much homework to join me. I arrived at the tournament, alone, an hour late and in skinny jeans, and went to go say hi to Nathan’s mercenary team.

“Can you play?” they asked me before even bothering with a greeting

Befuddled, I informed them that I did play.

“We’re short and we need beaters.”

I’m a beater.

Before I even knew what was going on, I was playing on the Bad Wolf mercenary team at the turtle cup. I had a purpose to be there. I threw some bludgers. I took a few tackles. I met some of the most amazing people. I got a closer look at snitching and realized I wanted to be one. I think the turtle cup marks the day I officially fell in love with quidditch. Nathan and I got back on that bus to North Carolina, tired and sore-having played a great game. Nathan mentioned that he was putting together a team for Mid Atlantic regionals for a chance at the World Cup. I told him I wanted in. I told him I’d do whatever it took. If there was quidditch to be played, I wanted to play it.

QC Carolinas was the little team that was never supposed to be. We were a thrown together rag tag group composed of quidditch alumni and players from small, non IQA official teams. We had our jerseys screen printed the week of. Most of us met for the first time the night before day one of the tournament. As far as everyone else was concerned, we weren’t even supposed to win a game. Yet somehow, despite having no plays, despite being completely unfamiliar with eachother’s playing styles, and despite our lack of communication, we pulled through. Not only did we win games, we placed 8th in the tournament and won ourselves a World Cup bid.

QCC and I currently play together on a regular basis in preparation for the world cup. I’ve continued merc-ing, (my team from the turtle cup is reuniting for the shell shocking spectacular in spring) continued playing with Charlotte Quidditch throughout it’s growth these past few months, and started seeking out opportunities to snitch tournaments. Nathan, my gateway to quidditch, is now my beloved captain almost everywhere I go and an extremely close friend of mine. I’ve gained friends through Quidditch from as far north as Ottowa and as far south as Argentina. While I’ve only been playing quidditch for just over half a year, I play for two separate teams (one could argue that I even play for four-Charlotte Quidditch, QC Carolinas, Bad Wolf, and Team Snitch) As a freshman, I’m competing in division I of the highest level competition in quidditch at the World Cup this year. It’s been an incredible adventure that I never would have started had I stuck only with Charlotte Quidditch. My debut into quidditch has very much been one of trailblazing and rulebreaking-and now that I’ve got momentum, I’m not about to slow down or stop.