Over the past two weeks I have grown to known people involved in the FQC. I have been especially close with Events Director and University of Florida Beater Hannah Pohlmann. So, after meeting them in person and watching their games, I was very pleased that Florida had made it all the way to the finals. Here is the 2011 Quidditch World Cup Runner Up story.
Florida flew into New York late Friday night hoping that the World Cup would be a successful one for themselves and the other FQC teams. (Miami, South Florida, and Ringling) Florida's first job was to be cheerleaders. They watched a dirty USF vs. McGill game, rooting for their common opponents, USF. USF won the game in OT. After a false snitch snatch by USF, angry about the call, the USF seeker charged the snitch like a bull and snatched the win.
With renewed confidence Florida took the pitch against Ottawa. Cheers of "Canada" and "U.S.A." reverberated around the stands before the game. From "Brooms Up!" there was competitive Bludger play, with Beaters wrestling on the ground for the Bludgers. Even though the game started evenly, the Florida offense found it's groove behind speedy chaser Dre Clements. The game's snitch had come prepared with a large, pink, blanket. The snitch would wave it in the air like a matador, then wrap the charging seekers up like mummies. The game went on forever until the Florida seeker finally snatched.
Florida gained more confidence seeing USF and Miami's blowout of America's Finest and Ithaca, respectively. When the referee signaled for "Brooms Down. Eyes Closed" in Florida's second game against Geneseo, one of the announcers hoped out of his booth, onto a segway, and onto the field. He took the quaffle and snailed down the field to the Florida hoops, where he scored a goal. Florida would go on to win the game. The Gators' biggest test of Saturday was playing Arizona State. Still, Florida triumphed over ASU, showing that they can compete with the big boys.
On Sunday, UF played a rather "interesting" game against Delaware Valley Dragons who were already eliminated. Since they had no chance to make it to the next round, according to what a Florida player overheard, they were going to see if they could get a red card. Well, they did. At one point, a smaller woman from Del Val jumped on top of a Florida player, bringing him to the ground. When asked if she would do it again she replied, "Yes, and with greater force". Before that, Florida keeper Crews had raced off on several breakaways and dunked it into the hoop. At one point, he faked to throw it directly at the Del Val keepers face, and then slammed it home. The announcers called him "The Bernie Madoff of Quidditch" At the end of the dirty game, Florida's talent showed in the "a lot to a little" score.
Florida headed into single elimination as the #2 seed. They beat Ohio State in round 1, while USF moved on too, but Miami lost in a heartbreaker to Minnesota. (Ringling didn't make it)In round 2. Florida played McGill in front of a gorgeous sunset and a lot of Canadians. ("O, Canada" was sung before the game)In this game, Florida worked hard to preserve a 30 point lead in case the snitch was snatched by McGill. But, Florida got the snatch and advanced by a score of 90-30.
Florida then knocked off highly ranked Pittsburgh , who had some very big players including a keeper that was at least 6' 10", by a score of 80-60. (1st come from behind snatch)Sadly, shortly after their win, Florida found that they were the only FQC team left. USF had lost to Texas A&M 90-30.
Under the lights in Icahn stadium, Florida defeated Minnesota by a score of 70-50 (2nd come from behind snatch)
In the final, which I heard was very rough, (a red card, a yellow card and an injured Middlebury player), Middlebury jumped out to a 30-0 only to eventually be overtaken 80-70 by the Gators. In a turn of events, Middlebury came from behind to win the fifth quidditch world cup on a snatch. 100-80
The Gators should be extremely proud of themselves for surprising the quidditch world, coming out of nowhere and giving Middlebury a run for their money.
Thank you to the 2nd best team in quidditch for letting me be a part of their historic run to the finals.