Three days left until my team hosts our first tournament, the Beachside Brawl.
We have gone from a small group being helped at our first practice by UCLA players, to dominating our first tournament thanks almost entirely to athletic ability, to surviving a 16 hour car trip to play in below-zero temperatures, to playing together better than I ever could have imagined at Western Cup, and eventually qualifying for the World Cup. This tournament is a direct result of all of the work we’ve put in all year. If we hadn’t qualified, this tournament wouldn’t be happening, because it’s what we did as an alternative to World Cup.
I am immensely proud of my team for stepping up. Evan always said “You guys have NO idea how much work it is to run a tournament.” To some extent we still don’t, because he took on so much of the work himself. Thanks Evan! Our other teammates have been working to help, too. Even teammates we’ve gained as recently as last week are helping by hosting, organizing, and volunteering.
I am so excited to see every one of the teams that is coming to Beachside. I am excited to show them how damn beautiful Santa Barbara is. I’m excited to give them a fun and fantastic tournament. I’m excited to beat them at quidditch ;)
Our team is not even a year old. Just imagine what we can do in the next year.
Go Blacktips! It’s always Shark Week!
I think the introduction would cause a lot of HOOPla.
This term was actually used by WCOT Gameplay at World Cup when we were trying to make sure all pitches had snitches before the start time of their next games. So yes, it’s a term.
I’m super happy to hear this!
Henry Raschke, Santa Barbara Blacktips (Chaser/ Seeker)
The Blacktips took the Western Region by storm this year, going from a team formed in the fall to a team that placed seventh at Regionals. Despite their relative inexperience (with the exception of team founder and captain Evan Bell), the Blacktips are able to hang with all but the elite teams in the region thanks mainly to a ton of athleticism on the roster. One of those athletic players who has helped the Blacktips to get off to such a quick start is Henry Raschke.
While there are stronger players and faster players on his own team, Henry possesses a good combination of the two. He is faster than he is strong, but his strength is nothing to sneer at. He excels on breakaways, where that combination of good speed and strength allows him to convert a large majority of his attempts into scores. While larger, more physical players can take him down, he is fast enough that it is usually difficult for them to get a good enough hold on him to do so. On defense, while he won’t take too many people to the ground, he usually meets them pretty early on in their attack and impedes their progress, forcing them to pass early, which usually plays right into the hands of the Blacktips’ beaters. Henry can hold his ground against all but the most physical of opposing chasers and keepers on defense, and his speed makes it difficult to go around him.
Henry’s most outstanding trait, however, is his agility. I have seen few players who have such good body control and can change direction so quickly. At Western Regionals, we played the Blacktips in bracket play, and they had numerous breakaways where I found myself facing a Blacktips chaser barreling down the pitch alone. While I was able to take down his faster and stronger teammates repeatedly, I struggled in stopping Henry, because he would execute a series of rapid cuts and upper body movements that made it very difficult to get a solid hold on him, which allowed him to get close enough to the hoops to unleash his unfailingly accurate close range shot. “Shifty” and “slippery” are two terms that describe Henry almost perfectly on the pitch.
At seeker, Henry’s combination of good speed and strength with incredible agility make him very dangerous. He has a good reach, and as his feet are constantly moving and shifting, many snitches have difficulty fending him off for extended periods of time. While his inexperience does sometimes show at seeker, the Blacktips use him as a situational seeker, which tends to minimize his weaknesses that more experienced snitches would exploit. As he gains experience, those weaknesses will begin to disappear.
The fact that Henry already possesses formidable physical tools makes it scary to think what he could be capable of as he becomes more experienced, and if he were to add some more strength to his repertoire, which I could see happening. This guy has a very bright future ahead of him on the pitch.