In a tucked away corner of the University of Northern Colorado’s recreation center, the small gymnasium was lifeless, empty. With only the sounds of the squeaking shoes from the neighboring court, the gym stood still. That was until the quidditch team filled the room. They chatted as they set up the hoops for practice, passed around their sticks and jerseys and started to warm up. Very quickly, the lifeless gym became the warm, welcoming environment that housed the team.
The UNC quidditch team has started their practices and are getting ready for their upcoming tournaments.
Many people may have heard of this magical sport. Quidditch was invented by J.K. Rowling as a fictional sport for the “Harry Potter” series. Its first appearance was in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” and as the books and movies grew in popularity, so did quidditch.
The real-life version of quidditch, also known as muggle quidditch, was first played in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont. Five years later, the official U.S. quidditch organization was formed.
While the game may be confusing to watch at the beginning, it is quite simple. There are a total of seven players on each team: three chasers, two beaters, one keeper and one seeker. Each position has different goals in the game.
Chasers use slightly deflated volleyballs, also known as a quaffle, to score goals. To score a goal, the ball must go through one of the three hoops on the opponent’s side. The beaters are the defense of the team. They use dodgeballs, also known as a bludger, to hit other players. If hit by a bludger, the player must drop the ball they are holding, run back to their set of hoops, and touch the hoops before returning to the game. The keeper is the goalie, and the job of the seeker is to chase, and capture, the golden snitch.
The golden snitch, dressed in yellow, is a neutral member and is part of neither team. Attached to the back of the snitch’s shorts is a ball. The snitch’s goal is to avoid the seekers, and make sure no one grabs the ball. If one of the seekers captures the ball, their team wins the game.
While it may seem a little confusing, Matthew Cavin, a fifth year UNC student and the vice president of the quidditch team, describes the overall sport in simpler terms.
“It’s a mixture between basketball, rugby and soccer in the movement wise,” Cavin said.
With the official quidditch organization starting in 2010, UNC was a frontrunner of the national quidditch train. The UNC team started in the spring of 2011 by alumnus Tylor Starr, and this made them the first official quidditch team in the state.
Unlike most sports available at UNC, quidditch is co-ed and all inclusive.
“It’s the first co-ed sport I’ve ever played, and I think that’s a really interesting part of it,” said Genevieve Hankins, a UNC freshman and a chaser on the team. “‘Cause it’s inclusive to literally everyone, male, female, if you’re in between.”
Because it is a co-ed sport, the U.S. quidditch organization implemented the gender rule. There are two parts to this rule. First, there needs to be a minimum for two people of the same gender on the field, also known as the pitch, at the same time. Second, there can only be a maximum of four people of the same gender on pitch at one time.
This rule has caused some hardship for the UNC team. While there is an abundance of women, the quidditch team needs more men.
“We desperately need guys, and anybody that wants to join for a long-term time,” Cavin said.
Whether male or not, anyone looking to join should know that they are not just joining a team. They are joining a family.
Macy McAdoo, a UNC freshman and the secretary of the team, states that the family aspect is her favorite thing about the sport.
“We’re like a family here, so it’s not really about how good you are at the sport, if you show up all the time or if you go the extra mile,” McAdoo said.
“It’s a whole bunch of odd balls coming together just to play like this awesome sport, and that makes it amazing.”
All interested in joining the team can attend practices on Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Thursdays from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Practices are held on Practice Field #5 behind the UNC rec center. For more information or questions, contact the quidditch president, Natalia Dominguez, at [email protected], or DM them on Instagram at UNCOQuidditch.