You may recognize the team in this picture as being Miami. You may also recognize the seeker I am grappling with here as David Moyer. Unfortunately, what you probably don’t know is that one of the finest examples of sportsmanship at the entire World Cup came from David, and almost nobody knows about it.
Miami caught a lot of flak for their handling of the Bowling Green game protest. That’s understandable. However, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t mean that Miami is full of bad people. They made one questionable decision, and that shouldn’t overshadow all the wonderful things they have done, both as a team and as individuals. So here’s a story reminder that even a team that got as much flak as Miami has some truly incredible people on it.
This photo was taken during the Miami-LSU game on day 1 of World Cup. It was a game that lasted quite a while. While eventually Miami pulled out of snitch range, it wasn’t that way when I got back to the pitch. For a couple minutes, both teams had a shot at winning the game, and for several more minutes LSU had a good shot at getting back in snitch range. It was a physical game, and the snitch-seeker interactions were no exception. I sent several seekers flying into the ground countless times in that game, and wound up on the ground myself several times during this game.
After one interaction, I wound up on the ground, and my tail flew off. After Scott, the snitch ref, reattached my tail, i had my three seconds to run before the seekers could pursue. I sprinted away from LSU’s seeker, but I was lightheaded, because of how hard I had gone to the ground. I didn’t realize that as I sprinted backwards away from the LSU seeker, that I was heading right into David, who had been coming back from touching his hoops before I went down. Before I could get to David though, he yelled at me to make me aware of his position, didn’t make a move on the snitch tail, and signaled to an open area of the pitch away from him for me to go.
That’s right, David had a perfect chance to catch me as I backpedaled unknowingly into him, and end a tight game for his team. He would have been well within his rights to do so. It’s not his fault that I was lightheaded and hadn’t noticed that I was heading into him on the restart. According to the rules, it would have been a valid catch. Yes, it would have been cheap, but it would have been legal, and nobody would have blamed him for it. It was my mistake, not his. But he didn’t. He gave up his free shot at the snitch, so that LSU had a fair shot too.
Eventually Miami won, as David’s teammate Dennis caught me about ten minutes later. So David’s action didn’t wind up making a difference overall. But I couldn’t get it out of my mind. When I saw David a couple hours later between games, we congratulated each other for the hard-fought match earlier. Then I thanked him for his action when he had a free shot at the snitch. His response spoke volumes about his character. He simply said something to the effect of, “Yeah, of course. I couldn’t take that. It wouldn’t have been fair.” I realized that in that situation, the right choice had never been in question for him. It was a foregone conclusion for him to do what he did, because it was the right thing to do for him.
To me, that is what the ambiguous “Spirit of quidditch” is really about. David had so much respect for his opponents and a commitment to fairness that it never even crossed his mind to take advantage of the situation. So there you have it, one of the shining beacons of character and sportsmanship in quidditch that you didn’t even know about, David Moyer. He is now one of the people in the sport that I have the greatest amount of respect for. We can all learn a lot from David Moyer.