Creating a team with the best Dutch memers and have some fun during a summer tournament in the Netherlands 🇳🇱; that was the vision we had when we created the Zoutelande Zeeleeuwen. However, I haven’t been expecting the results we witnessed.
In Netherlands we only have 4 to 6 competitive teams, this situation sort of switches around each season; because, there are only a few teams, and, you often play against the same teams and people which might get boring sometimes.
Unfortunately, these teams also sign-up as teams for a fantasy tournament, (Open Dutch Summer Cup) which creates a monotony. I have played quidditch for only a bit more than a year and I only attended one ODSC, but it made me think that there should to be another way. Why play with the same team you already play with the whole season? That’s why I and a few friends of mine (from one of the other teams) started inviting a few Dutch memers; and so the Zoutelande Zeeleeuwen (Zoutelande Sealions, or my preferred English translation: Salty Sealions) were born. In the beginning, we had a quite small roster and a hard time finding people. Some people were still used to playing with their own team at ODSC, but we kept growing. 8, 12, 15, 17… we reached our roster limit way faster than expected. Aside from the Dutch players, we even had a Belgium player and a French-Dutch player, and soon enough we were an international tournament!
During our preparation for ODSC, we created the best ugly jersey mankind had ever seen and with the help of Utility Apparel we could turn that design to reality. We didn’t really practice together, since our goal was having fun. We never expected to end in the top 3, perhaps we could have ended in the 4th place. One day before ODSC, we decided to have a small practice on the site which we followed up with cultural Dutch drinking 🍻.
On Saturday, the first day of ODSC, we were playing against the Portkeys. They didn’t have that many players, but the game wasn’t a free win. As said before, our team’s most important goal was having fun 🎉. That’s why we all decided to swap roles. Our beaters became chasers or keepers and the people who used to carry quaffles started to throw bludgers. I think it was the most fun game I have ever played. And it was a very close game, I think we won over the snitch catch. The rest of the day everyone played their regular roles and surprisingly we started winning games. At the end of the day we won every game we played, which gave us a surprising first place after day one. But the tournament wasn’t over yet. On Sunday we had to play against our, in my opinion, strongest opponents, the Hamburg Werewolves.
After Saturday evening party, that’s where the Dutch people shine at, the second day of the tournament started. The first game against the Hamburg Werewolves, we were all pretty tired (and hungover) and we lost. After that, we also lost against the Eastern Eagles (a team forged from two Dutch teams), because we were playing non-seriously again. We only did this because we were already guaranteed finalists.
In the finals we faced the team that destroyed us the same morning, the Hamburg Werewolves; but now, we were prepared (and less hungover). The sun 🌞 rays heated the field while we were giving everything we had. We were 10 points up, 10 points down, the game was tense. Some of our players weren’t able to run anymore, and we had to finish soon.
From the sidelines, our Dutch friends were cheering us on. While our players got more tired our enemies stayed strong. But then, suddenly, our seeker Tom caught the snitch! Were we in snitch range? I didn’t even know. “Catch is good!” Everyone started cheering. We won! We were the first Dutch team to ever win ODSC.