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Amanda Dallas advocates for more inclusivity in quidditch

Amanda Dallas advocates for more inclusivity in quidditch

In honor of National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Feb. 5, Savage is highlighting some of our favorite female athletes in some of our favorite sports throughout the week. Next up: Quidditch player Amanda Dallas.

Amanda Dallas, simply called Dallas by those who know her, has been playing quidditch for nearly a decade. She's the co-commissioner for Major League Quidditch, a board member with US Quidditch, and coordinator for the US National Quidditch Team (USNT). When she's not in quidditch mode, the North Jersey resident works in NYC as a technical project manager for IT and security at Better.com. Take it away, Dallas!

Savage: How did you get into playing quidditch? What drew you to the sport? 

Amanda Dallas: I’m not your average quidditch player. There’s no strong connection to Harry Potter here — I didn’t even read all the books. A friend of mine in college co-founded the NYU team and recruited me to play. I was very much against it in the early stages and thought it was way too weird — and to think, I didn’t even start playing during the capes era! The people on the NYU team, however, won me over, so I stuck around longer than intended. Ultimately, I ended up enjoying how fast-paced, physical and unique quidditch is. I was drawn into volunteering by Alex Benepe, one of the sport’s founders, noticed the potential for growth and now here I am!

Savage: What's unique about being a woman in the world of quidditch? How do you think being female in this sport compares to other sports? 

AD: It’s an entirely different experience sharing the field with all genders and not just your own. Sure, you can do so in rec, intramural and pickup leagues. But those are nowhere near as competitive and certainly not as physical. Inclusivity is literally built into this sport’s DNA and, you can be not only one of the best females at a position, but one of the best of any gender. Unfortunately, it’s rare to get that opportunity in sports. 

Savage: Are there any challenges to being a woman in quidditch? 

AD: There are numerous challenges, as I’m sure you can imagine. The most prevalent being the frequency of which you’re underestimated solely for being a woman playing a full-contact sport with men. It becomes even more challenging when you’re a female coach in a sport where, like most others, the primary gender of coaches is male. In some of the early years I was overlooked. Now that more people are familiar with me and what I’ve done, I’m underestimated a lot less, but there were times when I would raise an issue to referee and they’d look to my male teammate for confirmation or dismiss me entirely. There are still hiccups here and there; even after nine years I don’t always get credit for what I do. Just last year an opponent came up to me at USQ Cup to praise our male head coach (on The Warriors) for how well he trained the beaters — for which the primary training responsibilities fall to me.

At all levels, but particularly the collegiate level, there are still women and other genders outside the binary that aren’t being treated the same as their male counterparts. I ran a fantasy tournament last summer where only women and those outside of the gender binary were permitted to attend. As part of the tournament, we hosted workshops to go over basic skills: cutting, tackling, throwing, etc. The number of players that showed up to the throwing workshop, specifically, was horrifying. Some of the players had been on notable, high-level teams for well over a year and yet no one took the time to just explain basic throwing dynamics to them.  

There is no quick fix to this, but there are small changes individuals can make. Male coaches need to spend just as much time with females and those outside of the gender binary. They’ll spend hours fostering a male chaser’s skill set but then disregard that their female chaser — who goes to the right spot, can score if she gets the ball but struggles to catch a pass — could be an absolute game-changer if they just practice catching for a few more minutes each practice. I’ve been so fortunate to work with some of the most talented women in this sport on both The Warriors and the USNT, and I can tell you, they didn’t all walk onto the field as the stars that they are today. They worked for it and someone worked with them. 

Savage: Thoughts on bringing more women into quidditch?  

AD: MLQ is currently working on some new youth and gender initiatives to implement in the future. As for what currently exists, last season we introduced the Coleman Clause. Named after Lisle Coleman — a queer non-binary individual who has really pushed quidditch, as a whole, to make strides toward equality for all genders — the Coleman Clause is a coach hiring policy requiring each MLQ franchise to fulfill at least one of the following requirements in their coach hiring process. A team must:

  1. Have at least one applicant for Head Coach or Assistant Coach that is a gender-minority player; OR
  1. Hire at least one gender-minority individual as a Head Coach or Assistant Coach; OR
  2. Have a pre-existing Head Coach or Assistant Coach that is a gender-minority player

for the upcoming season.

In our first season with this policy we added four female coaches and retained one from the season prior. Fortunately, we did not have to penalize any teams, thus, all met the requirement. 

In addition to the Coleman Clause, we also introduced a new requirement for all MLQ managers and coaches. All MLQ managers, assistant managers, head coaches and assistant coaches are required to complete Athlete Ally’s Champions of Inclusion, a free comprehensive online curriculum for coaches on LGBTQ+ respect and inclusion within athletics.

Lastly, MLQ currently has a volunteer opening for an MLQ Diversity and Inclusion Manager. We created this role in the hopes of finding someone passionate about and knowledgeable in the development and execution of strategic initiatives and programs related to diversity and inclusion. It’s our hope that having someone specifically dedicated to this role will increase the participation of LGBTQ+ athletes and athletes that are both female and identify outside of the gender binary. 

Savage: Who are some of your favorite female quidditch players? 

AD: Hallie Pace of the USNT and Texas Hill Country Heat is easily one of the most inspiring — not just women — but athletes in quidditch. She’s small in stature but is an absolute beast on the field. It’s uncommon nowadays to see two women in a beater set together on pitch, but if Pace is on a team, it’s just an expectation that a double female set is somewhere in that arsenal.

Second to Pace in my book is my Warriors teammate and USNT chaser Lindsay Marella. Marella is a natural-born athlete and just transforms any quaffle line she plays on. She can tackle anyone, cut and has a cannon of an arm. Marella truly is one of the elite athletes in this sport, regardless of gender. But even with the accolades she has achieved, she continues to work harder every day to improve, stays humble and advocates for other genders outside of the binary.

Savage: What are your hopes for the future of the sport? 

AD: I truly hope the sport continues to grow its gender and diversity inclusion and become more accessible to all. There are still many issues we have yet to solve and many minds we have to change, but nothing is impossible. Quidditch has grown at an incredible pace and as long as volunteers and athletes continue to push the limits of innovation and take risks, there’s a bright future ahead of us.

 

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It's Championship time for MLQ. Let's look back on the season.

It's Championship time for MLQ. Let's look back on the season.

Major League Quidditch is hosting its Championships this weekend in Madison, Wisconsin, and the Savage crew will be in attendance cheering on our favorite teams. To celebrate another successful season, we're getting all misty-eyed and reminiscing on some of our favorite moments from the past few months. 

By the way, save 30 percent off our entire collection of Major League Quidditch jerseys by using the code BROOMSUP at checkout! 

Major League Quidditch

MLQ Jerseys

MLQ Womens jerseys

US quidditch team

MLQ uniforms

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7 Questions with Austin Outlaws player Augie Monroe

7 Questions with Austin Outlaws player Augie Monroe

Savage is on a mission to highlight players from our sponsored teams across multiple sports. Catch this and other "7 Questions from Savage" as we take you into the minds of athletes around the world! In preparation for the MLQ Championships, we continue the series with MLQ player Augustine Monroe. 

VII: Augie, please tell us a little about yourself. 

AM: I've been living in Austin, Texas for awhile now, but I'm from Brownsville, Texas. I play for the Austin Outlaws in the MLQ and the Texas Cavalry in the USQ. I was on the first Team USA for Quidditch. I also work for a nonprofit as a social worker and case-manager. Hope for the Warriors is a nonprofit based out of Virginia that provides services to wounded service members, their families, and families of those killed in action. 

VII: How did you find your way into the world of Quidditch? 

AM: Growing up I was never a standout athlete. I was in the shadow of my older brother who was a star quarterback. But I worked hard at developing athletically. I played some football, ran some track, and played a little JV basketball in high school. When I got to college, I kept training for general athleticism, not knowing how I would apply it. Quidditch presented itself—a friend of mine was telling me about it. Though I didn't know what the hell he was talking about, I gave it a shot. I was by far one of the worst, but the people were great and I wanted to stick with it. I loved the physical contact and the all-inclusive nature of the sport. It aligned well with who I am as a person. 

VII: And it's paid off. Can you tell us about those accomplishments? 

AM: I played and co-captained or the University of Texas and we won the USQ championships in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Now I play for the Texas Cavalry and we won the championship in 2017. 

VII: Do you count one of those as your favorite memory on the field? 

AM: When we first won the USQ championship in 2013, we dominated. We had lost the year before to Texas A&M... We had the same corps of players and we waited and trained. We'd also been recently recognized by the University, so when we won we got to light the UT-Austin tower. Anytime a sports team wins a national title, the tower lights up orange. We did it three times, but the first, yeah that was the best. 

VII: Do you do anything special after a big win or prior to games?  

AM: Before games, I like to stay to myself mostly and get my head right. I might listen to some music; I appreciate "Ante Up." After wins, I do a little binge eating. I keep a list of foods that I put off and I spend some time knocking things off that list.

VII: If you could liken your style of play to any animal, what would it be? 

AM: A deer? I guess some people might want to be like a bear or something, but I typically avoid contact offensively. I'd say I'm difficult to get a hold of... like a deer. 

(Edit: Augie wanted to text SAVAGE with a follow-up answer. A fox

VII: Anything final you want those listening to know? 

AM: Don't underestimate women. I grew up in a place with a lot of machismo, so one of my favorite things about this sport is getting to see women knocking dudes on their ass. 

Find Augie in League City competing with the Austin Outlaws for the MLQ Championships August 12-13. He'll be the one that's playing like a deer.  

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7 Questions with MLQ Night Rider Harry Greenhouse

7 Questions with MLQ Night Rider Harry Greenhouse

Savage is on a mission to highlight players from our sponsored teams across multiple sports. Catch this and other "7 Questions from Savage" as we take you into the minds of athletes around the world! In preparation for the MLQ Championships, we're kicking off the series with MLQ notable Harry Greenhouse (3rd from left below).

VII: Harry, tell us about yourself.

HG: I'm 24 years old and from Boston, Massachusetts. I'm the player and head coach for the Boston Night Riders. I play seeker and chaser. 

VII: You have an accomplished career as a Quidditch player. Can you tell us about your greatest accomplishments?

HG: I've been playing for six years, heading into my seventh. I've played for Team USA twice [in the IQA World Cup]. Won the US Quidditch Championship as a member of QC (Quidditch Club) Boston, and won two MLQ championships. 

VII: How did you get into Quidditch?

HG: It was mostly because I was a bored freshman. I found out from my RA that is was happening. I mean, I liked Harry Potter—I didn't love it—but, like I said, I was bored. So I went and gave it a chance. I had played football and I got tackled by a guy who was like 6'2", 220lbs. I had to stick with it. 

VII: Football, huh? Any other sports in your background? 

HG: I love all sports. I played a lot of sports growing up. My main sport was wrestling, but I also played basketball, soccer, and football... I often describe [Quidditch] in terms of other sports—it's like a combination of dodgeball, basketball, and rugby. A lot of the offense is like basketball, but the tackling is like rugby tackling. I still play a lot of sports with friends in my free time—I just finished a local rec soccer season and still play basketball, ultimate, and baseball. 

VII: What else do you do? 

HG: I'm a teacher during the day, but yeah, I like sports. 

VII: Do you have any nicknames? 

HG: Heh, yeah, so some people call me Larry Townhouse as a play on my own name. I guess I started getting a little popular in the world of Quidditch and as an alternate name, and joke on the notoriety, a player on my team started calling me Larry Townhouse. It just kind of stuck. 

VII: If you could draft your Quidditch Dream Team, who would you pick? 

HG: Definitely Lebron as my keeper. I'd probably pick all basketball guys for chasers. Probably Russell Westbrook and....Kevin Durant and Diana Taurasi. For my beaters, I'd pick baseball/softball players for the throwing. I'd go for Carlos Correa and Jennie Finch. For my seeker, Jordan Burroughs. I think wrestlers make the best seekers. 

You can catch Harry Greenhouse at the MLQ Championships this weekend, August 12-13 in League City, Texas. The Boston Night Riders are seeking their third title of this tournament as 11 other teams look to upset. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where's Savage? Broomsticks and Battleball

Where's Savage? Broomsticks and Battleball

 

Savage has a busy month coming up in August with some major tournaments happening all over the world. Want to follow us on our adventures? Here's where you can find us this month!

August 3-6, 2017 — Ultimate Dodgeball Championship hosted by SkyZone

Thirty-two teams will meet in Chicago, Illinois to battle it out for a $50,000 prize pool. These teams have all advanced from regional competitions to arrive at this hotly anticipated event. ESPN2 will be airing some matches this time around after years of appearances on ESPN3. Savage is proud to provide apparel for five of the teams' uniforms and sponsorships for all quarterfinal match gear. 

August 12-13, 2017 — Major League Quidditch Championship

After another successful season, the MLQ returns to League City, Texas. Twelve teams will spend the weekend fighting for the coveted Benepe Cup* and title of best team in Major League Quidditch. Teams nationwide have gotten great press this year, and Savage is proud to be the official apparel partner of the MLQ! 

 *The Benepe Cup is named after MLQ founder Alex Benepe, who coincidentally is the lead organizer for the Ultimate Dodgeball Championship. Put that in your trivia pipe and...hold it. Smoking is bad for you. 

August 26, 2017 — Quidditch Premier League Championship

With an inaugural season comes an inaugural championship! We're sure Jack Lennard, founder and president of the QPL, is excited to crown the QPL's first champion as we all wait with bated breath to see who will arise victorious. Though Savage's partnership with the QPL is not even a year old, we anticipate great things from this league and its players. 

 

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2016 Major League Quidditch Championships Recap

2016 Major League Quidditch Championships Recap

 

This past weekend SAVAGE headed to beautiful League City, Texas to set up shop as the official apparel partner of the 2016 Major League Quidditch Championship. 14 MLQ teams battled it out in a two-day bracket-style championship at Hometown Heroes Park.

On the first day, League City gave us a beautiful day for Quidditch. Food trucks, vendors, longtime fans, and first-time viewing locals lined up at the field site to witness the amazing game play that took place. Unfortunately, day two didn't have the same weather. However, the pouring rain didn't stop these players—at least no longer than the brief lightning delay. After a long and hard-fought weekend, the Boston Night Riders prevailed victorious for the second year in a row, taking home the Benepe Cup.

Not long after the finals, all the teams hosed off all the mud they had caked on throughout the day and headed back to their respective homes in preparation for the next season. 

All photos by Seabass Photography.

Interested in MLQ gear? Check out our MLQ collection!

 

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