Jeremy Schleicher: The Wizard of US Quidditch

Jeremy Schleicher has been a Harry Potter fan for pretty much his entire life. He’s read all the books multiple times, seen all the movies multiple times, he can quote lines, give you facts, and definitely knows what his Hogwarts house is (it’s Ravenclaw). Taking his passion for Harry Potter into the real world, Jeremy got involved with an organization called US Quidditch, which he has now been a part of for eight years.

Her Campus (HC): What is quidditch for those who don't know?

Jeremy Schleicher (JS): Quidditch is a fictional sport from the Harry Potter series, but back in 2005 some students over at Middlebury College in Vermont created quidditch (lowercase q), a gender-inclusive, contact sport based off the fictional one. It is a mixture of rugby, lacrosse, dodgeball, and tag, and, of course, everyone is playing on a “broom.”

HC: What is US Quidditch and how did you get involved?

JS: US Quidditch, also known as USQ, is the national governing body for the sport of quidditch. We organize events and programs that build community and empower all genders to compete together in addition to the creation and maintenance of the rules. There are over 4,000 athletes on almost 200 teams nationwide, so we work to make sure the organization is as efficient as possible. I’ve been involved with quidditch since 2007, but back then I was just a spectator. In 2010 I formed one of the first high school teams in the country, and in 2014 I was brought on as a staff member.

HC: What job(s) do you currently have within USQ?

JS: My primary role with USQ is serving as Youth Member Coordinator where I’m responsible for the formation and guidance of all elementary, middle, and high school programs in the country, including constant updates of the Youth Rulebook and Youth Resources. In addition to Youth Member Coordination, I serve on our Volunteers Team where I work to schedule and supervise the officials and volunteers at our events, as well as working to create volunteer engagement strategies for the organization.

HC: What is your favorite part about working for the organization?

JS: My favorite part would have to be the chance for me to actually create positive, sustainable change within the quidditch community. As someone who has been involved with the sport for over a decade, I love the opportunity for me to give back to a community that is so dedicated towards equality, acceptance, and creativity. I have also grown as an individual and as a leader, working on projects that have a national scope and ensuring that our members are as satisfied and have as magical as a time as possible.

HC: What is something you think a lot of people don’t realize about USQ?

JS: Quidditch is actually one of the only sports, let alone full-contact sports, that allows people of all genders (or a lack of gender) to play against each other. Title 9 ¾ is an advocacy and awareness branch of USQ that ensures the policies implemented by USQ promote gender equality and inclusivity. It requires that there is a maximum of four players (out of the seven on each team) who identify as the same gender playing at the same time. The gender is self-identified, with USQ taking measures to ensure that they don’t exclude those who don’t identify with the binary gender system. USQ hopes to be a positive example for other sports leagues as well as a way to positively influence how players view other genders, and it is an honor to assist them in this.

HC: Has working with USQ changed how you look at the game of quidditch? Do you enjoy it more or less?

JS: I absolutely enjoy it more! Working with USQ has allowed me to work with some of the most amazing people from all over the world, and has really connected me with the global quidditch community. This isn’t just a cool sport to me anymore; it is a community full of brilliant individuals who are giving their all and living their best life and snatching some snitches while they’re at it.

HC: What advice would you have for someone wanting to get involved with USQ?

JS: USQ is always looking for creative and dedicated workers to join their year-round volunteer force. There is no experience with quidditch necessary! For more information about volunteering with USQ, either year-round or at a local event (like US Quidditch Cup 11 in Austin on April 14th and 15th), you can visit https://www.usquidditch.org/get-involved/volunteer-faq. Of course, you’re more than welcome to just email me at [email protected] and I’ll be happy to help you out! Brooms up!

For more information about US Quidditch, please visit https://www.usquidditch.org.

Follow Jeremy Schleicher on Twitter @realschleicher, and for more information, you can visit his website, http://jeremyschleicher.com

All photos courtesy of Jeremy Schleicher.