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Crying in Quidditch?!

Quidditch World Cup  VI.

Quidditch really surprised the shit out of me, words I never thought I’d type.

First, the play is way more physical than it’s possible to truly comprehend without seeing it firsthand. Think rugby with a broom between your legs.

And secondly, there’s crying in Quidditch. Crying?! There’s no crying in Quidditch!

Yep, I saw it all recently at the Quidditch World Cup outside Orlando.

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Ok, I’ve seen one or two Harry Potter flicks, so I sorta remember them playing a game with balls, baskets and, oh yeah, flying brooms. But I wasn’t taking notes. It wasn’t like I thought it’d ever become part of my world of Weird Sports™.

Needless to say, no levitation here, Holmes. And no costumed athletes, which surprised me some. Though the Florida heat would have destroyed them in short order.

The very basic of descriptions (poached from their web site): “Quidditch is a co-ed, full-contact sport that combines elements of rugby, dodgeball, and Olympic handball, with four balls (plus a human snitch) and seven players per team vying for control of an elliptical pitch.”

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Eighty teams, hailing from across the States and as far away as Australia, France, Canada, the UK, and Mexico, competed for the championship title.

The squads battling it out the final day of play were largely large college powerhouses, such as UCLA, Texas, Texas A&M and LSU, all programs known for football and hoops, and less for fantastical make believing.

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Here’s the thing: these teams, these players put everything they had into Quidditch. Passion. Blood. Sweat. Tears. That – and the Florida heat – left me slightly stunned and very impressed.

Without doubt, Quidditch is one of the best team sports I’ve ever shot, also words I never thought I’d type.

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As with all great weird sports adventures, I was joined for the visual goodness by dear friends from the TBT. Thanks Melissa and Eve for being as photogenic and weird as Florida.

Spring Break. Spring Break Forever!

Quidditch World Cup  VI.

City of Angels Arm Wrestling

Last time I went to LA, shit got SURREAL.

That’s when I got my first taste of ladies arm wrestling Hollywood Style.

For better or worse, there are many things I will never forget, things I can’t unsee.

I had many fond flashbacks to my time with Extreme Pencil Fighting up in Seattle. Same energy, same crassness, same wonderfulness.

To read more about my trip to LA, check out my article for Wired. To see more photos, keep on scrolling.

Weird Sports, holla.

Thanks again to everyone with LA LAW for making weird photos and weirder memories. I had a blast and am thankful for the friendly harassment from Howie to get my ass down to capture this fun.

And thanks to Rob Gauthier for sharing in this surreal scene.

Undercover Assignment

A few weeks ago, I shot lingerie basketball in the City of Angels.

(Sometimes I wonder if I even need words for my posts.)

The Lingerie Basketball League had been on my radar for some time. Most of their games are held in a dark dungeon. But before their season, they play an exhibition double-header on the famed courts of Venice Beach.

Blue skies and money light for basketball? Done and done.

Sandwiched between a couple gigs in Portland, I literally flew into LAX like a rock star for 7 hours before returning home.

The games were delayed by some of the worst (men’s) street ball I’ve ever seen. Painful to watch. And it dragged on waaaaaaay too long. Didn’t they know I had a flight to catch?

Ironically, the women played a much better brand of basketball. Not saying they’d beat the guys, but they were competitive, skilled and played with smarts, if not tons of layers.

For obvious reasons, I had some flashbacks to shooting lingerie football a couple years ago. Honestly, it felt a little creepy photographing women in lingerie in a public setting. And it’s difficult for me to know which photos work on their own, or if they’re solely dependent on the visual gimmick. Or if it even matters.

I’ve shot a few hundred basketball games over the years, so I feel very comfortable around a basketball court. Though I’ve never really had such amazing light like this before. Part of what I was looking for was a photo that looked very much like regular basketball action. And I was also searching for some irony. I look forward for Mike Davis editing this take, because I’m not sure what really works – and how well.

Many thanks to my good friend Kevin Sullivan for joining me in this very, um, brief day of weirdness.