The country's newest community team will pull from both the NYC and DC areas for what the captains hope will be the next big community powerhouse.
Ever since a ragtag group of players showed up at the River City Invitational in Richmond, VA only a week after World Cup VI, their black t-shirts reading “NYDC” in pink block letters, speculation has been flying about a community team that will bring together the best that the two East Coast cities have to offer. While a team has stepped forward on Facebook, with a team page for the “NYDC Capitalists,” little is still known about the team and its makeup other than their name, a pretty sweet logo, and that two particular players – Amanda Dallas and Alex Linde – have been officially attaching their names to publicity and fundraising (such as the “Just Balls” brotanks). Recently, four veteran quidditch players have stepped forward to the IQA as the captains of the team, and I was able to talk to them about the team and about themselves. Without further ado, here is a brief overview of the NYDC Capitalists and their captains: Amanda Dallas, Alex Linde, Robby May, and Michael “Yada” Parada.
The NYDC Capitalists will be a community team, based, as the name suggests, in two cities. Captains Amanda Dallas and Robby May are in charge of a branch in the Washington, DC area, while captains Alex Linde and Michael Parada will be leading a branch in New York City. Of course, a team based in two cities leads to a number of questions. Dallas, the team’s public relations representative, answered some of those questions.
The team itself started as a collaboration between Dallas and May, who had met up while Dallas was beater for and captain of New York University Nundu and May was assistant coaching as well as keeping for the New York Badassalisks. They were excited about the chance to team up once Dallas graduated from NYU in the Spring, but when May got a job that moved him to DC those plans changed and the idea was forgotten. As May got things moving to start up a team in DC, he approached Dallas about joining up again. As she wasn’t sure if she was going to stay in New York or move to Virginia after graduating, the two decided to use their connections in both cities to create a joint-city team. In her own words, the other two captains were included when Dallas “ended up making the decision to move to Virginia, so we [she and May] found ourselves in need of need of someone to lead the New York branch.” Linde and, after some convincing to stay in the game, Parada were chosen to be those leaders.
The community team, while drawing some locals into its ranks, will be heavily composed of the numerous recent graduates who move to either New York City or Washington, DC after graduation. Both cities are known as hotspots for young professionals, so many of the players are either recent hires or are moving closer to the companies that are willing to hire them. The team nickname, Capitalists, is then viewed mostly as a satire; says Dallas, “our players are all young, hardworking adults trying to make it in the world.” The name is also a huge nod to the history and importance of each city : New York is viewed as the economic capital of the world; the District of Columbia is, of course, the federal capital of the USA.
While each branch will practice separately in 4-hour weekend practices, the team will also be holding joint-location practices once a month. The location of this large practice will alternate between New York and the DC Metro area each month. The captains also are holding weekly meetings to coordinate a plan so that each practice can be consistent between the locations. Of course, a major concern for such an ambitious effort is team chemistry; how will community players bond as teammates on a team that is split between two cities? Dallas is confident that the team will have excellent chemistry:
Every member of this team has played with a handful of other members at one time or another. Our major method of recruiting has actually consisted of personally approaching individuals we met over the course of last season. Many of us are already familiar with each other’s styles, so it’s not a totally jarring experience being on pitch together. The captains thus far have proven to be very willing to compromise with one another, and I see the team following suit.
The players’ former familiarity with each other, along with monthly joint practices and taking the whole unit to many tournaments throughout the season, could make for a formidable dynamic once the season’s later tournaments come around.
Lastly, a question that has been asked rather frequently : which region will the team call home? As New York City is part of the Northeast region and Washington, DC part of the Mid-Atlantic, a lot of interested players and fans have wondered which city NYDC will claim as its headquarters and thus pledge allegiance to its corresponding region. Many have assumed that the team will join the Mid-Atlantic, as they view it as a weaker region and easier to qualify for World Cup VII from or even to conquer as champions; others have warned that they will likely be able to recruit more recent graduates by establishing NY as headquarters, and that the Northeast’s denser membership team numbers will lead to more WCVII bids for that region. Ultimately, the team will be joining the Mid-Atlantic. Says Dallas, “The District of Columbia is where the team began. We wanted to stick to our roots.”
Perhaps best known league-wide as the captain of the team whose pictures grace the cover photo of the International Quidditch Association’s Facebook group page, it took a lot of leadership and a little renown to orchestrate such a successful ad campaign. Add onto that her documentary of NYU’s journey to World Cup VI and the successful brotank campaign she spearheaded (65 tanks were sold to support a team which doesn’t yet have a confirmed roster), it’s little surprise that Dallas will be in charge of the team’s Public Relations. Along with that, she has taken the lead on fundraising and secretarial duties, though with fundraising she plans to involve the whole team – not only in the end product, but planning and executing as well. Beyond her leadership background with NYU and what she’s already done for NYDC, Dallas is known as a ferocious beater who is not afraid to take a hit or dish one out on her own, when it comes to securing a bludger when the team needs it. As the only captain on the roster with extensive beater experience, much of the team’s beater play will likely run through her strategic mind – certainly not a bad thing, unless you’re an opposing beater with an aversion to contact.
May’s leadership in the quidditch community has flown a bit under the radar, but it certainly has been impactful. After having a hand in the rise of a promising Virginia Tech team a couple years ago, his departure is possibly a contributing factor to their recent competitive struggles. One of the mythical “-nice guys”, though, he will never take all the credit for the team’s success: “Myself along with Chris Gumm, Adam Hickey, and CJ Yunger contributed to the true captain and glue of the team, Kitty Schaffernoth, to drive Virginia Tech to the next level during the Fall of 2011. What really made us successful leaders was a combination of athletic experiences (soccer, basketball, volleyball, track, and wrestling), a love for strategic games, and what some may have said was on the verge of obsession.” After leaving Tech, he helped development some of the community talent in New York as an assistant coach for the New York Badassalisks. It seems likely that, with the scope of this team, he will take some of his developed players along with him to NYDC. Never minding having to do the necessary work behind the scenes, May will be in charge of the Capitalists’ finances. While all of May’s experience on the field comes as a keeper, he plans to switch positions and contribute on the field for NYDC as a beater. He dropped a nugget on the team’s composition when asked about the position switch, saying “I’ve always been drawn towards the unique balance of strategy and athleticism in the beater position. Now that the team has what I think is the deepest keeper line I’ve /seen yet in quidditch, I have the luxury to leave the keeper position and explore being a beater.” Despite only debuting at the position at the River City Invitational, his tremendous and notable improvement at the position over the summer was showcased by an excellent performance for the champion Phoenix Army at Champagne Cup, indicating that his “exploring” the position just fits right in with his modesty.
Linde captained the Macaulay Honors College team to a World Cup VI appearance, earning their spot through a tough performance at last year’s Northeast Regional Championships. An integral part of a team that had to fight for everything it got, his leadership and presence on and off the field will certainly be missed. While he believes he has left the team in good hands, his absence will make it hard for Macaulay to repeat the success they had last season. A strong leader and smart strategist, on the field Linde is also a more-than-capable chaser. He knows how to use his height and length for an advantage around the hoops, and his quickness and superb vision put him into a great position more often than not. He also has a knack for successful quaffle-blocks, causing beaters to lose a bludger in their hands while being able to remain on his broom with quaffle in hand. Combining all of these talents, which require not just fundamental skills but also a great head for the game and of opposing players, Linde will look to bring drills forward that will improve the skills and awareness of his NYDC teammates.
One of the best known names in quidditch, “Yada” Parada was a chaser for Team USA last summer with a reputation as a tall finisher. Throughout the course of last season, though, he captained the Penn State University quidditch team to an appearance in the round of 32 at World Cup VI by playing as an aggressive, distributing keeper. His incredible field awareness and on-point passing, combined with his elite speed and agility, makes him a huge dual threat on offense to either find and connect with his open teammates or drive on his own, depending on whether the defense solidifies to contain him or spreads to contain his passing options. On a team that is likely to recruit many scoring options, Parada’s opportunities to showcase his skill as a distributor should be bountiful. Defensively, his hands are underrated around the hoop and he’s noticeably worked on his tackling, dishing out some punishing hits at fantasy tournaments this summer. Of course, throughout the summer he’s shown that his elite talent does not only lie in his abilities as a player, but as a leader as well. Going three-for-three as a captain or General Manager in fantasy tournaments this summer (Mid-Atlantic fantasy in Lebanon and Northeast fantasy in Randall’s Island as a GM, Champagne Cup in the Hamptons as a captain), Parada has shown an ability to lead any players he takes on, as well as a keen knowledge of personnel and how to best utilize the abilities of those around him. After his performance this summer, it will be exciting to see how he can put together a contender from a roster full of hand-picked players.
Editor’s Note: Steve Minnich, the IQA’s Mid-Atlantic Correspondent, has been playing with the NYDC Capitalists.