In the field ahead, you can make out what might be a good ol’ fashioned game of frisbee. There are blurred images of the hurried fella you saw on the way into Mills and the girl who was behind an array of cupcakes in the student center, each of them with their legs propelling them forward, but with a broom inconveniently held between their legs. You second-guess yourself, reconsidering the logic of that situation. Now you see a collision of epically hilarious proportions as a sprite-sized girl crashes into a looming opponent in an attempt to snatch a ball away from him. Behind him, there are three smaller balls being thrown with equal parts force and desperation and three hoops on either side of the field. And, of course, a sprinting figure squeezed into a gold spandex suit is sprinting in and out of the field out of nowhere. He might have just stumbled upon the game from a parade of some sort, but now that one of the players notices him and starts to sprint towards the gold little man with startling ferocity. Yeah, everything still doesn’t make sense. To any newcomers, place your logic aside and fantasies ahead: this is the game of Muggle Quidditch.
Muggle Quidditch is the adaptation of the familiar game from the Harry Potter series into the real world. It consists of two co-ed teams, each with seven members in charge of specific roles, and is most definitely a full-contact sport. In fact, Quidditch incorporates elements from a variety of sports, such as rugby, dodgeball, tag, wrestling and lacrosse; it’s a sport by no means lacking in a physical demand.
The rules of the game, although they can appear daunting from the sidelines, are really quite simple too. There are three chasers who score with the quaffle (a slightly deflated volleyball), a keeper who protects the hoops and can also play chaser, two beaters who use the dodgeballs to “beat” people, causing them to dismount off their broom and run to their home hoops, and one seeker who catches the snitch. Each goal from the quaffle is ten points and the elusive snitch is thirty points. The snitch is perhaps the most amusing part of the game as a person dressed head to toe in gold (generally speaking) represents the fleeting gold snitch from the Harry Potter series. He is given time to hide before the start of the game while the teams close their eyes, but the audience is lucky enough to see the snitches strategically choosing spots to hide among campus. Nearing the end of the game, there’s a high chance you’ll see a snitch madly sprinting from the clutches of the seekers.
All this glorious madness can be seen at the Marauder’s Cup coming to McMaster grounds on March 29, bringing nine teams from across the Ontario region: York University, Ryerson University, Fleming College, Guelph University, Waterloo University, University of Toronto, University of Toronto Scarborough campus, University of Toronto Mississauga campus, and Valhalla. The McMaster team has some high chances of placing in the top three, as revealed by the president of the McMaster Quidditch Team, Jessica Donat, which she says is thanks to the sport rising in popularity and competitive spirit.
“Our team has grown from just one line with a few subs to three lines, each chosen from a series of selective try-outs,” says Donat. And, of course, it’s also due to the friendly competition between Canada and our southern neighbors. “It has been incredibly popular and competitive in the States, and due to the close proximity of teams, Canadians wanted to be just as good, if not better.”
Although Quidditch appears to cater to a niche audience, the players are surprisingly widespread in their interests. Of course, you will find a cluster of Harry Potter die-hards in each team, but “as popularity grew and people learned how physically challenging it was, there were a wider spread of people trying out.”
As the sport gains more recognition from the media and students alike, it appears to be making a transition from the most tangible form of Harry Potter fandom into a lasting sport, only rooted in fantastical traditions. Donat attests to this, saying, “The Harry Potter series had such a strong impact on individuals [of this generation] that it won’t die out. Our generation is still reading the books and I believe when the time comes, we’ll be reading the books to our children.”
So hold onto your books and dust off that broom stick – Quidditch is here to stay.