It is a game that has been played for almost ten years, rapidly gaining popularity and turning into one of the most talked about club sports around the world. The game is Quidditch, and this Harry Potter inspired game is anything but easy. Originating in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont, students took the fantasy sport and made it a reality. By the year 2008 the club sport was seen at numerous campuses, eventually finding its way to Central Michigan University.
Andrew Derry, now a senior at CMU, was an athlete all his life. After graduating high school he wanted to continue his love for sports but didn’t know how until he discovered Quidditch. Andrew gathered a group of friends to play, “Once I started playing there was no looking back,” Andrew said, “I was addicted.”
Although they were not a registered club, the group played together for a long time, “We were an unofficial club for four years, until 2012,” said Andrew. In 2012 the group traveled to Allendale, MI to play another team at Grand Valley State University in their first unofficial tournament. For Andrew that tournament was the deciding factor, “Then we became hooked. After that we became a club, became IQA (International Quidditch Association) registered, and the fall of 2012 was our first official semester.” When Andrew and his friends first gathered together only 7 to 10 people would come play. Today the club has around 30 members and continues to grow.
Known to fans of the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, Quidditch is the most popular Wizarding world sport played on brooms. Aside from the fact that humans cannot fly, the club sport has other differences but stays true to the essentials. The Quidditch field is called a pitch and contains at each end three oval hoops used as goals. On the pitch are two teams, with seven players each (three chasers, two beaters, a keeper and a seeker). And just like the book series there are four main balls on the pitch: one quaffle (a deflated volleyball), and three bludgers (deflated dodgeballs). The three chasers throw the quaffles through the hoops to score points, while the beaters attempt to stop them with the bludger. During this time, the keeper defends the hoops and the seeker tries to catch the snitch. Differences are that the beaters don’t use bats, and once the snitch is caught it is only worth 30 points, not 150 like in the stories.
The largest difference between the two games is the snitch. With the lack of magic, the snitch in club Quidditch is in fact a person. Dressed in gold clothing with a ball attached to their back, the snitch is the only participant that is not given rules or regulations. “Snitches don’t really have rules, they are more entertainment for the crowd,” informed Andrew, “But as the popularity grows they have become more strategic.”
The goal of the snitch is to not get caught, by any means necessary! Snitches have been known to use nerf guns, and even hop on bikes to not get caught. However every snitch does have boundaries to encourage play close to the pitch. The complexity of each player creates a jumbled atmosphere as numerous things happen at once. If you don’t pay attention, you could miss something!
CMU’s Quidditch club hosted their first annual Mid Michigan Melee tournament last year. This fall they are hoping to host between 10-12 teams. The Quidditch season begins in the fall and runs until the World Cup in April. Students interested in joining the Quidditch team at CMU are welcome to their open practices. So if you’re looking for a great team atmosphere and a fun way to be active, grab your broom, it’s time for Quidditch!