In honor of World Quidditch Day (the anniversary of the first day that real-life IQA quidditch was ever played, which technically ended 25 minutes ago), I’d like to write about Xander Manshel, the inventor of muggle quidditch and international man of mystery.
Xander was my classmate and fellow freshman at Middlebury College, when he decided to try and make up rules for a real-life version of quidditch. On that first overcast day, on October 8, 2005, on the lawn behind our dorm, I joined Xander and over twenty other classmates wearing towels as capes (or high school graduation robes), clutching brooms between our legs and throwing volleyballs against trashcans, and chasing a very fast runner named Rainey Johnson, who had a tennis ball taped to his upper-back. If you got hit with a dodgeball, you had to spin around five times. There was no ref. I played wearing Doc Martin boots.
The rest of the story has been told in various iterations here and there, but it is long and now is not the time and place for it, and besides, most of you know the story well - because you’ve been helping to write it.
Today, seven years and hundreds of thousands of improved lives later, Xander serves on the IQA’s Board of Directors, although he is largely removed from the league. He is working and teaching in Hong Kong, and hopes to be the headmaster of a school or President of a college some day. In other words, a real-life Albus Dumbledore.
I’m so proud of Xander that he’s overseas chasing his dream, but he hasn’t been back to the World Cup since 2009.
This year, I want to make sure he comes, but he hasn’t been super responsive to the idea. After considering this challenge for a hot second, I came up with an idea:
What if I get dozens - or maybe even hundreds - of quidditch players around the world to write a letter to Xander…
- Explaining what quidditch means to them.
- How it changed their lives completely, for the better.
- And why he needs to come to World Cup VI and see for himself what his creation has grown into.
If you like this idea, reblog it.
And if you want to send a letter, ship it to the IQA PO Box, and I’ll package them up and ship them to him in Hong Kong en masse (I had to resist the urge to give out his personal address on the internet without his permission).
PO Box 1663
New York, NY 10025
Drawings, doodles, photos, anything you want to include to tell a personal story - all of these things are welcome. Let’s make sure we all get a chance to thank this guy in person. Because without him, none of this would exist!