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Quidditch teams raise money for World Cup

by Emily Murphy / Beacon Staff • February 28, 2013

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Junior Benjamin Nadeau is the captain of the Emerson College Quidditch team.
courtesy of Benjamin Nadeau by Emily Oliver
Junior Benjamin Nadeau is the captain of the Emerson College Quidditch team.
courtesy of Benjamin Nadeau by Emily Oliver

The Quidditch World Cup is doing things a bit differently this year by adding a Division II slot, moving the location and date, and holding Regional championships. Because of these changes, two Emerson teams need to raise enough money to get them to the competition. 

After qualifying in the Northeastern Regionals, Emerson College Quidditch and Boston Riot, in Division I and Division II respectively, are headed to Florida on April 13 to compete. These categories are decided like any other sport, with the best players comprising Division I, and the second best Division II. 

Robert O’Neil,  a junior writing, literature, and publishing major and the vice president of Boston Riot, said there is a difference between Emerson’s World Cup teams and their house league teams. According to O’Neil, the college’s six house league teams play against one another. The Emerson College Quidditch and Boston Riot players are pulled from that league and play against other schools. Both teams will be going to the World Cup.

According to Benjamin Nadeau, the captain of the Emerson College Quidditch team, the changes made to this year’s World Cup created several obstacles, including travel and practice time.

For the last couple of years, the international competition has been held in November, while now it’s set in April. 

“A lot of the really good teams are from UCLA, USC, or Miami,” he said. “They get the whole winter to practice in the sun, but we have had to find creative ways to practice this semester because of the snow and rain.” 

The tournament also used to be in New York; this time, it is scheduled to be held in Kissimmee, Fla., Nadeau said.

“The past two years we’ve just been able to rent a van and stay in someone’s home in the city,” he said. “But this year we have to pay for airfare, hotels, transportation, and food.”

According to Nadeau, the team normally spent $600 to $800 for a van for all 20 players. However, to make it to Florida, he estimated the cost to be about $400 per person. 

Nadeau said that fundraising for the World Cup raised issues for the players.

“It made us put practice at the back of our minds,” he said, “because we knew practicing was pointless if we didn’t raise the money to go.”

In an effort to meet their budget for the competition and get back to training, Nadeau said the team launched a campaign through Indiegogo, a crowdfunding website. Originally, Emerson College Quidditch set its goal at $4,000, enough to pay for the plane tickets to the World Cup. 

“We actually met the goal in three days,” Nadeau said. “So we set a second goal of $7,000, which we just reached [Wednesday] morning.”

Victor Viega, a freshman visual and media arts major and member of the Emerson College Quidditch team, said he launched a social media campaign, which was part of the reason they reached their goal so quickly.

“We just wanted to promote our Indiegogo as much as possible, and not just on Facebook,” Viega said. 

Viega said his efforts included mass tweeting a link to the fundraiser at celebrities like the New England Patriots, George Watsky, and actors on the television series Game of Thrones, asking them to retweet the information to their followers.

Other than the Indiegogo page, the team has held an Oscars ballot fundraiser, in which participants tried to guess the outcome for the awards show, Nadeau said. Emerson College Quidditch also plans to sell shot glasses emblazoned with its logo. 

Since meeting the fundraising goal, Nadeau said the players might help out their fellow team Boston Riot, which has different fundraising plans. 

“We’re throwing a carnival soon, and we’ve been having mini-events,” O’Neil said. “Last semester, we had a mini-tournament where anyone who showed up was put on a team, and that helped a lot.”

Boston Riot also launched an Indiegogo campaign Tuesday night, which had over $2,000 of the $3,500 goal raised as of Wednesday. 

Neither Quidditch team is funded by the Student Government Association. O’Neil said the players tried for a while to gain SGA recognition, but gave up hope.

“As an organization, there was too much liability since we are a full contact sport,” O’Neil said. “The athletics department doesn’t have a big enough budget to cover us either.”

Nadeau said there are around 60 other teams participating in the tournament this year. 

According to the Quidditch World Cup’s website, these players are coming from as far away as Australia and Paris. 

“Fifteen or 16 teams have a legitimate shot of winning,” Nadeau said. “When there are so many talented teams, it makes you excited and nervous at the same time.”