Photo credit: Jessica Cornelius

Volunteers are like internet modems — they make sure things tick along, enable people to go about their business, and provide the overall support necessary to go about your hobbies. And if they disappear, everything tends to fall apart

Also, both provide puppy videos on occasion, which is a neat little bonus.

I’ve seen quite a few player profiles around, with clubs showcasing their star players each season, but I haven’t seen many volunteer profiles. And you know, volunteers deserve more love.

Now I want to preface that these are the pioneers of quidditch – the ones who made / are making a difference in our sport in some way, whether improving standards or running excellent tournaments and organisations. This not a comprehensive list of all volunteers and why each one is amazing – I am not omniscient enough to write that.  

This article is very much based on my own experience – and my views are my own. So please treat this as a personal viewpoint rather than an overall insight, and mention anyone else who should be mentioned! 

Ashley Cooper, David Goddin, and Jay Holmes (The Salt Miners)

Photo credit: WC Final 2016

Ever read a high fantasy novel? There are usually plucky, disillusioned kid protagonists who go on a wily adventure – and an old, wizarding man from a tall tower who guides their way. Now, imagine there are three old, wizarding men, and instead of a tower, there’s a massive pile of salt. With a moat of tears.

Individually, each of them have done some pretty neat things (to put it lightly). Dave changed how we referee the game by treating it as a real sport; Ash was the first proper coach through TeamUK; and Jay shifted how coaching was approached, and making expansion his own. And also making us care about those sexy, sexy numbers.

But in this case, I’ve grouped all three together because of what the Salt Mines is doing, as all three are using their years of experience to help grow the sport in their own respective ways. More importantly, they are helping others as well, guiding them to develop further in their respective areas, whether it is reffing or coaching. They help. Regardless of their personal opinions, all three has proven that they know their shit, and want to use their knowledge to help others.

Mel Piper and Jesus

Both together. Photo credit: Undefined

This was before my time, but a while ago QuidditchUK was going through some trouble. After some bold projects falling through, and some administrational blunders, QUK had a reputation which was less than stellar. I was then told that both Jesus and Mel, alongside the Executive Committee, helped to steer QUK into a good direction and become one of the best governing bodies of the sport in the world, without exaggeration.

I can only speak from my perspective working with them – and it’s been a pleasure working with them both. I grouped them together because they were effectively one entity – incredibly responsive to the comms chat, giving great advice, and ultimately being very supportive of their volunteers. As a team, they both led QUK really well, and as an internal volunteer in my own little comms bubble, they’ve been nothing short of fantastic for support. Jesus will be missed, and Bateman is taking the reigns – and I look forward to working with them both to continue the epic improvement they have left behind.

Priya Shah (and anyone else who worked in a tournament committee)

Priya to the far left. Photo credit: Ajantha Abey

Imagine you’re on a boat, in the middle of the Channel. The captain is the Tournament Director, guiding people to the best places to make sure the ship goes forward. But the ship is run by volunteers who can bail at any time, leaving holes unplugged, and everything is on fire. Then when you finally arrive in Dover, you have people who don’t help douse the flames, but instead let you know how it could be run better. They walk away feeling like they contributed, as the boat sinks.

I’m using Priya as an example of a good TD because BQC 2017 was very well run, and Priya should absolutely be celebrated for the hard work she gave for the event, and as a non-playing volunteer, she ensured the tournament ran smoothly and successfully. In my eyes there are two types of people: the ones who lead and tell others what to do; and the ones who are practical and get stuff done. Priya is one of those rare people who was both, and there should be more people like her in the world. Less egotistical visionaries please.

I will also widen this to anyone who helps organise tournaments – you are goddamn heroes. And considering the strength of a committee is reliant on their volunteers, a thank you to anyone who works hard with the TDs as well. (Especially Pauline, Eva, and the rest of the crew at EG – who was the TD again? Can’t remember, honestly. )

Jack Lennard

Photo credit: Ajantha Abey

Question: How the hell do you get nominated for the Hero and Villain awards at the same time during the Salties? Answer: You have opinions which you’re not afraid to say (shocking, I know), and a drive to do something you’re passionate about.

This article by the Quidditch Post does greater justice to Jack than anything I can write here, so I’ll just dip into my own perspective. Anyone who works at the QPL would think that the company is his 24/7 job — probably because it looks like he never sleeps. And the amount of work he has put into the QPL is nothing short of extraordinary, having a hand in almost all the processes in the organisation.

And bear in mind that the QPL was a big risk – which paid off in spades, and is now a major organisation alongside QUK. That’s pretty much the definition of pioneer if I ever saw one.

As a volunteer from both QPL and QUK, I do not want to draw too many comparisons to two very different organisations (and I really didn’t want to go political with this article – maybe one day). But I want to note that Jack does a lot to ensure volunteers feel valued, whether this is by personally messaging them, or highlighting their achievements weekly in #general etc. More than anyone else, Jack obviously gives a shit – I just hope that balancing his new job with the QPL won’t kill him.

Hannah Dignum, Jessica Cornelius, Ajantha Abey, and absolutely anyone who takes photos

Photo credit: Shockingly, not Ajantha Abey 

Want to break your Facebook feed? Here are three easy steps:

  1. Take your camera to a quidditch event
  2. Ensure to take a photo of every single person there
  3. Upload the photos
  4. Wait

And watch as your notifications goes crazy as the entire quidditch community crawls through your album.

And you know what? It’s honestly really important. What better way of showing the best of our sport than having some professional photos of us all? What a nice way of showing us at our best (and sometimes worst). And of course, it always brings some laughs.

We’re gonna flick back on our lives and quidditch, and we should thank the photographers who made it that much easier to see this phase of our lives. That’s pretty cool.

And speaking of professionalism…

Triple Hoops Films

Photo credit: Triple Hoops Films

Did I mention I love the team? I think I have, about a thousand times over. But I’m going to say it again. And again. And again.

I still have their documentary on my phone, Fly: Journey to Frankfurt. I whip it out when I am with people (steady, people) to show high-quality footage of gameplay, from an actual documentary, as a way to illustrate how professional the sport is. And it works, each time.

We’ve seen some quidditch videos online before, and while there are some good ones out there, my favourite will be that documentary from 2016 – and I expect the same level of quality during QPL. They bring a level of professionalism to videoing the sport which I am more than happy to support, because we need more people like them. And I hope they keep developing into the future. Looking forward to seeing what’s next!

Lizzie Walton

Photo credit: Undefined

How about the professionalism of the imagery in the QPL? The kit, the logos, the stats, the announcements, the posters – that all look slick and professional, looking like a proper sporting organisation.

For me personally, from a comms perspective, this is really important. By making the QPL look as slick as possible, it helps quidditch to look professional as well. A massive component of the QPL’s success has been driven by its art direction, the speed in which the designs are made, and how just goddamn cool it looks.

I think this is starting a trend which is really helping the QPL grow, and there is one person we should thank for it.

Anyone who volunteers, or who has ever volunteered, at any point in the history of quidditch

You’re pretty rad.

Tom Ffiske