From pages to phenomenon: Competitive Quidditch

“We pretty much embrace the weirdness of it. We’re all just trying to have fun,” Brad Bazo, a returning player, and a former IHS student stated.

Used with permission.

Jerry Wang Photography.

Used with permission.

Allie Utley, Staff Writer

When Joanne “J.K.” Rowling, author of the prominent Harry Potter series, published her first book in 1997, she didn’t expect her made up sport to come to life. Nevertheless, “nineteen years later,” Quidditch is known as the fastest growing college sport in North America.

U.S. Quidditch, also known as “muggle Quidditch” around campuses, is a coed sport played with three chasers, two beaters, one keeper, and one seeker. The chasers use a volleyball and work together in attempts to get the ball through one of the other team’s three hoops. The opponent’s keeper acts as a goalie and tries to defend the hoops. If the chasers succeed, they are awarded ten points. The two beaters use three dodgeballs to try and distract the other team’s chasers. If a dodgeball hits a chaser, the chaser must run back to their own team’s hoops, and tag themselves back into the game.

During the last four minutes of the game, the seekers are released. The seekers both chase after one other participant that identifies themselves as the “golden snitch.” The golden snitch is the person dressed in a designated yellow shirt with a flag or a ball connected to their waist. If one of the seekers is able to pull the flag from the snitch, their team is awarded thirty points. In place of the magical broomsticks used in the beloved Harry Potter series, PVC pipes are used. If a participant drops their broomstick while running, they must return to their goal post and tag themselves back into the game. “We pretty much embrace the weirdness of it. We’re all just trying to have fun,” stated Brad Bazo, a returning player, and former Iola High School student.

The only recognized United States Quidditch (USQ) team in Kansas is at the University’s own, Kansas Quidditch team located in Lawrence, Kansas. This year the team is being run by university students Gabe Dorsey and Rachel Heald. Since the season started in early September, Kansas Quidditch has practiced three days a week, and the team plans to travel across the country.

Kansas players prepare to duel at the start of the Quidditch World Cup in 2013. Used with permission. Jerry Wang Photography.

Last year, the team traveled to South Carolina to attend the “Quidditch World Cup,” which is the annual championship game for all the USQ teams. This year the team will travel to Kissimmee Florida in April for the cup. “The best part of Quidditch is the people,” Bazo said. “You see all kinds of people getting together from across the U.S. and the world to play a great sport.”

 

Despite the sport sounding fun and amusing, it can be quite physical. Tackling and shoving tactics are a natural part of the game. “It’s kinda a mix of football and soccer,” Bazo commented. “Tackling people is the best part.” Bazo said, “I think Harry Potter would be proud to see how much Quidditch is growing, especially with all the muggle constraints.”

For more information about Kansas Quidditch or USQ, visit www.usquidditch.org or follow Kansas Quidditch on Facebook.