Quidditch is a sport made famous by the wizarding world of Harry Potter, and now officially played in a number of countries across the world, including the U.K., France, the U.S., and Germany. Now, UTM students will have the opportunity to play the magical sport themselves—adapted to be physically possible, of course.
Speaking with executives of the campus’s brand-new quidditch team, I was able to gain some insight into the sport.
Quidditch is played competitively at universities across Canada. The rules are similar to the ones invented for the films and books. There are three referees, who follow a very specific handbook: the head referee, the snitching referee, and the beater referee. The “golden snitch”, as it’s referred to in the books, is not golden but is instead a tennis ball placed in a sock attached to the waist of the snitch runner, who runs through a certain area. To get the snitch, you have to rip the ball from the snitch runner’s belt and hold onto it for at least two seconds. The game begins when the snitch runner is out of sight, and ends only after the snitch is caught, with 30 points awarded to the team that catches the snitch. Allison Gomes, co-president of the UTM Quidditch Team, reports that a typical game can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.
The quidditch field is approximately half the size of a soccer field with about the same ratio of width to length, and clear boundaries are placed in different parts of the field. The snitch runner is exempt from these boundaries. There are three hoops in a quidditch game, with the middle one a little bit higher than the hoops on either end of the field.
Quidditch is played with seven players on each team. The game is played continuously with no half-time or timeouts until the snitch is caught and the team with the highest number of points wins. There are four positions: chasers, beaters, keepers, and seekers. A quaffle (a slightly deflated volleyball) is used by the chasers to score points by throwing it through the hoops; 10 points are awarded each time the quaffle goes through the hoops, no matter how the ball gets through them. Finally, there is also a bludger, a ball used by the beaters to stop opposing beaters and chasers from advancing to score. Every time an opposing player is hit by the bludger, they have to go behind the hoop on their end and touch it before they can return to the game.
Quidditch is played without any pads and involves a lot of running. As in the Harry Potter films, players are required to play with brooms between their legs—although they aren’t required to fly—and removing them constitutes a violation.
“It’s a lot of fun and once you start playing it, you really start to enjoy it. Part of [the fun] is the disbelief that it’s actually there and it’s a sport,” says Alexander Pederson, the team’s head coach. “This is [an activity] that, if you’re not really into sports, you can just come out and have fun playing.”
The UTM Quidditch Team was formed less than four months ago and takes part in tournaments against other universities across Canada.