Photo credit: Kevin Freeman.
FBI’s Bruce Donnelly sat down with Chris Champitto, the latest in a long line of unretired players, to discuss his recent announcement, his love for DCQC, and the greatest snitch shenanigan ever pulled off.
Bruce Donnelly: I have to start with the most obvious question first: are you prepared for all the grief you’re gonna get for coming out of retirement?
Chris Champitto: First I’d like to start by thanking Erin Mallory and all of District of Columbia Quidditch Club (DCQC) for allowing me the opportunity to play with them while I was still in the area, and wish them nothing but success.
Now to your question. I am. But at the same time I’m not. I’m sure I’ll lose some friends on the decision but I felt there’s something that I need to do, which I know we will touch on later with one of your other questions.
Plus, does anyone really retire for good?
BD: Seems like the only ones who retire from playing are the ones that bitterly troll Forums.
You mentioned leaving the D.C. area, is that what made you decide to join Carolina Heat?
CC: That is. I was in the D.C. area over the summer but had some housing troubles I won’t get into, but it made it impossible to attend the practices. And I didn’t want to waste the time of the team or steal a spot from someone who could attend the practices. So the thought of transfer had been on my mind. I know that doesn’t answer the question of why come out of retirement, but we’ll touch on that later in the interview.
BD: You just wanted to form a powerhouse seeking group, didn’t you?
CC: If quidditch was an EA game like Madden, our seeking would be a 99.
But no, that’s not the reason for coming out of retirement.
BD: You’re killing me with the suspense, you know that, right?
CC: Just like the build up to my Kissimmee snitch shenanigan in the snitch community.
BD: You’re something else, sir.
Let’s talk Carolina Heat, though. Not nearly enough people on a national level know about y’all. What should they expect the news to be about you Sunday night when regionals is over?
CC: That a new regional champion is born. The team was already great before adding me. And I’m not saying I am a great player who makes them even more great. I’m just a slightly above average player that has surrounded himself with amazing teams.
BD: And which of the three of you (Matt Corder, Ryan Davis, or yourself) is gonna catch the tournament-winning snitch?
CC: I would love say my Raymond Bourque moment could come to fruition with a snitch catch. But all of us are amazing seekers, those two more than myself, so it’ll all depend of the flow of subs and the game.
I have a feeling I’m going to have to slay the beast in a few minutes and answer the question everyone wants to ask. I can feel it in your voice, Bruce.
BD: Well, let’s not give it to them just yet. I wanna put you in a tougher position: Who is going further at USQ Cup, Carolina Heat or DCQC?
CC: Honestly, DCQC has the better odds of going further. Not because they are the better team. Both teams are on par with each other, as we saw at Oktoberfest. But the Mid-Atlantic is such a hard region. All the pot 1/2/3 teams are phenomenal and can play with anyone. Heat has to worry about them on day one which could hurt their day two performance while DCQC is in that region so they can’t face any of them on day one.
BD: And if they meet at Cup?
CC: I’ll watch on and cheer with a torn heart.
BD: Just watch on? Is this a one-tournament return?
CC: Just watch on. I just don’t think I can step on the field against a team that means and has done so much for me. It’s kind of like the first time an alum plays their college team. It’s tough on the heart to know I may be the reason they fail. I’m not saying they will but it’s still on everyone’s mind playing their old team.
BD: You will be at Cup, though?
CC: As of right now, yes. But I have Navy responsibilities that come first, so if something comes up I’ll report in. But for now I am planing on going to Cup.
BD: If you do come to Cup, will it only be as a player? Or do we get some more of you snitching?
CC: I guess we all just have to wait and see. I could!
BD: Well, if only there were still off-pitch seeking. Do you have a dream shenanigan you wish you could have done while there still was?
CC: I did it. That one was always the dream.
BD: Not everyone knows what you did. Tell them what it was like to live the dream.
CC: Well for you new players, snitches used to be released at the start of the game and then 18 minutes later the seekers were sent out to find and catch the snitch. I took this opportunity to pull off, I may be biased, but the greatest snitch ‘shenanigan’ of all time. I started the game in all yellow like every other snitch and introduced myself to the team seekers. When I was released, I quickly ran to the snitch tent by HQ and changed my shirt, socks, cleats, gloves, put on a tattoo sleeve, put on my team shorts (with the tail still visible so yes it was legal) and then proceeded to shave off all my hair. Keep in mind I had the stereotypical ‘lax bro’ hair.
Once I was finished with all that, I began live-tweeting my location everywhere I went until finally bumping, literally bumping, into the seekers tasked to catch me and asked who they were looking for only to tell them I “didn’t know who that was.” My return to the pitch gave me chills as there on the sideline was every snitch not in game. I stood in the middle of the field and revealed my yellow snitch uniform. I held both seekers off for about 7-8 minutes to be caught. But then I heard the word every fan and snitch loves: OVERTIME. I was determined to make a name for myself then and there. I turned up the physicality until 30 seconds left in overtime in which all the snitches started the countdown and I started to run. With 10 seconds left both seekers got beat and I knew I had won. Once the whistle was blown to end the game I was stormed by my fellow snitches as I had won overtime. Not gonna lie, Bruce, I got a little misty-eyed reminiscing about this.
BD: Absolutely one of the best quidditch stories. Now, you’ve just gotta give us another one. Tell anyone who hasn’t figured it out why you’re coming back.
CC: I don’t think anyone besides my family and Kennedy know the real reason.
It’s not as simple as I just want to keep playing forever or something of that nature. The people that know me as a person and not just as a player know I’m one of the most competitive people out there, and that’s a little part of the reason. But really it’s just something I felt I HAVE to do, not for anyone or any social construct, but for me. I always wanted to be considered one of the greats in the sport and I feel that I will never be in that conversation without the elusive regional title. Playing with North Carolina during our finals run, no one expected an actual game from us against Maryland so deep down I wasn’t really upset we didn’t win. With DC we weren’t the power everyone feared so I think I felt the same way. But now with Heat everyone expects the title so if it doesn’t come this time, I’ll take it as a sign from the quidditch gods that I was never meant to be a part of that conversation. This regionals is really about proving to myself that joining this amazing community was all worth the commitment I’ve made to it.
This will be the last regionals I ever play in, win or lose.
BD: Well, I’m also one of the people expecting y’all to win.
Enough feel good, though, sir. Send us off with the saddest Harry Potter headcanon you can think of.
CC: Ooooh, Bruce wants me to get in trouble.
BD: Well, I couldn’t get you to trash talk DCQC.
CC: I’d never trash talk DCQC. Too many of them are like family. But in regards to the headcanon, everyone should blame Ali Iannucci for it.
Imagine if every one who lost their lives fighting Voldemort in the Battle of Hogwarts ended up on a Chocolate Frog card. Now, imagine Teddy opening one as he boards the train to have his parents there on the card to see him off to school for his first year.
BD: Yep. That was sufficiently sad enough. Thank you, Chris. Both for your time and for making all of us cry. I will be cheering you on this weekend and I look forward to seeing you late on day two of USQ Cup.
CC: Thanks, Bruce, always a pleasure! Do me a favor and share the skydiving quidditch video to Sarah.
Editor’s note: FBI’s Ryan Smythe was the person who shaved off Chris’s hair. It was sweaty and disgusting.