Quidditch, The Game You Thought You Knew
In 2005, a freshman at Middlebury College in Vermont created a version of the fictional sport of Quidditch from J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter”. In the full-contact game, points are rewarded for throwing the quaffle through a hoop and grabbing the snitch, all while dodging bludgers. Last year Maryville had an unofficial team, this year marks the inaugural season, with the goal of Nationals.
Positions — There are seven people on the field at a time, each carrying a broomstick between their legs. The rules also state that no more than four players identifying as the same gender can be on the field from one team.
Three Chasers on the field at a time are trying to score the quaffle (a volleyball) through one of three hoops on the other side of the field. Scoring the quaffle through any of the hoop scores 10 points.
Two Beaters on the field at a time can use their bludger (a dodgeball) to defend and disrupt the other team. When anyone is hit with the bludger, they must take their broomstick out from between their legs and touch their hoop before they are allowed to come back to play. If the chaser holding the quaffle is hit, they must drop the quaffle.
One Keeper defends the hoops from the opponent chasers.
One Seeker chases the snitch when it is released. When a seeker catches the tail from the snitch’s shorts, 30 points are awarded to that team and the game ends.
The sport is also endurance based. “The length of the game varies, depending on when the snitch is caught,” sophomore Chaser Nick Mueller said. The snitch is released at 17 minutes then at minute 18 the seekers are released to catch the snitch. The team has played games that have gone into minute 28, 10 minutes after seekers are released, or just four seconds after the seekers are released.
The game is played as a team, there is no one player who can win the game by themselves. On offense, beaters that have possession of bludgers use them to keep defenders at bay while the chasers push down the field. “It’s pretty equivalent to rugby in how they take the ball up the field. It’s not one person, it’s really a team effort,” sophomore Beater Mike Lippincott said.
“What I hear a lot is that it’s not a sport. My reaction is ‘Come out and play or watch and tell me that it’s not a sport.’ It’s one of the most daunting and physical sports that I’ve played,” Mueller said.
Go to US Quidditch to learn more about the game play and history of the sport.
Maryville’s team began from the efforts of junior Chaser Sam Slaughter. Slaughter recruited his friends and other students who were interested, developed an organization at Maryville and has invested a lot of effort as well as his own personal money in order to begin this club.
“Sam [Slaughter} asked me to play last year and I came out to a practice and got hooked,” Mueller said. The team is made up of athletes, Mueller was previously active playing ultimate frisbee and roller hockey.
Last year the team’s unofficial record was 4-7, this year the team hopes to improve on that and qualify for the national tournament. “That’s our goal, to make it to nationals,” Mueller said. Last year the team lost several close bouts and are looking forward to winning those games. This year, Maryville Quidditch is competing in Midwest Regionals in Cedar Rapids, Iowa the weekend of November 3-4.
So far the team has a record of 3-2. The Saints beat SIUE Quidditch 14-4 and 9-4 on Saturday, Sept. 15. Maryville Quidditch also competed in a tournament the weekend of Sept. 29-30, competing against teams including Chicago United Quidditch and Minnesota.
The team is also always looking for people to join the team. Come out to a practice Mondays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. on the baseball field. “You don’t have to know anything about ‘Harry Potter’ to play,” Lippincott said. “Everyone is welcome.”
“My position involves taking a dodgeball and throwing it as hard as I can at the other team … so it’s a pretty good stress relief,” said Lippincott, number 21. The rules state that every player must keep their sticks between their legs, even while running.