Editors note: This story has been updated to correct inaccuracies.
Most sports originate from somewhere on planet Earth, but one club’s game comes from the imagination of J.K. Rowling.
The Quidditch Club team bases its passion and athleticism on that imagination to create the sport of Quidditch. The rules are adapted from the rules of the magical sport in the Harry Potter book franchise.
Battle Creek senior and captain David Wilber took his team to the Quidditch World Cup in North Myrtle Beach, N.C. last week, where 80 teams competed for the title.
CMU competed in 10 tournaments this year in preparation for the big contest in South Carolina.
“Usually we stay at a hotel, but, honestly, this sport is full of people who just want to help everyone,” Wilber said, “we had two tournaments this spring where we just stayed with friends on opposing teams’ houses and apartments.”
CMU placed 19th out of 80 teams in South Carolina. The team finished 3-1 on the first day of competition and ended the last day 1-1. The University of Texas was the eventual winner.
“It’s incredible, there are so many teams from all over the U.S. and even other countries,” said Rogers City senior Andrew Derry, president of the Quidditch Club. “The atmosphere is so intense, the physicality, aggression and team spirit is incredible.”
The fields were covered in broom straw from the first day of the games, as brooms and players were strewn about during competition.
“It’s nice to feel like you fit in for once, because you’re always seeing people around campus asking, ‘What’s Quidditch and Harry Potter games?’” said Novi junior Emily Patterson.
Quidditch is sometimes misjudged by the general community.
Players continually speak of the amount of physicality in the game and the amount of athleticism needed to compete.
“We actually had a scare with one of our players in the tournament, we’re still not sure what the intention was but he jumped up to shoot at the hoops, and the guy wrapped up his legs and flipped and landed on his head,” Patterson said. “In the semifinal, there were two ambulance trips with (players) on stretchers for potential head, neck or back injuries.”
After a great finish in the Quidditch World Cup, the CMU Club Quidditch team is looking for recruits with graduating players.
“I challenge anyone who doesn’t think Quidditch is a sport to come try it out,” Patterson said. “You need a brain, you need legs and need to be tough.”
Seven players are on the court at once, not including the seeker. It is a full contact, coed sport, with at least three players of each gender.
Each player is required to have a broom between their legs, but most use PVC pipe because it is legal and allows easier movement about the field.
Points are scored by either throwing the quaffle – a slightly deflated volleyball used by chasers – through one of three hoops on the opponent’s side of the field, or by catching the golden snitch. The game is won only after the snitch has been caught cleanly, and the team with the snitch is awarded 30 points.
“I’ve played games that are 13 minutes and I’ve played games that lasted an hour,” Wilber said.
The golden snitch is represented by a neutral player dressed in yellow with a ball attached to their back. Generally, the snitch will hide for the first fifteen minutes and reappear on the pitch to be chased down by seekers.
Two beaters use dodgeballs to throw instead of bats like in the books and movies.
The quaffle changes hands quickly. Each score is worth 10 points and the ball is then awarded to the other team.
Games generally last 20 to 50 minutes, depending on the skill and endurance of the seekers and snitch.