Quidditch growing in popularity, on and off campus

Students ride shovels and catch Snitches in the second-annual Quidditch tournament

Five teams of TRU students hopped on their shovels to relieve stress and have some fun by playing the nationally growing sport of Quidditch. Teams took over the area in front of Old Main on Saturday, March 21.

Physics student Owen Paetkau has organized the event twice now and was glad to see the sport appealed to a variety of students at TRU.

“There’s plenty of people who it’s their first time playing and some people who don’t even know the rules,” Paetkau said. “It was basically just science students last year. This time around it has grown a little bit, which is nice to see.”

Matthew Bartle tries to get around Jorri Duxbury to have a shot at goal in a Quidditch game at TRU. (Tayla Scott/The Omega)

Matthew Bartle tries to get around Jorri Duxbury to have a shot at goal in a Quidditch game at TRU. (Tayla Scott/The Omega)

WolfPack women’s basketball player and physics student Jorri Duxbury helped spread the word by creating posters for the event.

“It’s a lot of fun and it’s a really stressful time of year, so it’s fun to just be silly, play Quidditch and run around for a couple hours in a day,” she said.

Quidditch, the fictional sport from the Harry Potter books and films, was first adapted for real life in 2005 by students at Middlebury College in Vermont, according to the International Quidditch Association’s (IQA) website. Since then, the sport has gained traction around the world with the IQA managing the sport globally and organizing international tournaments. In 2011, the IQA ran the fifth Quidditch World Cup event, which was host to more than 10,000 spectators and 96 teams.

Quidditch is one of the fastest growing sports in Canadian and American colleges and universities, and B.C. universities are no exception.

Quidditch is played by club teams at UBC, UVic, SFU and UNBC.

“It’s something that TRU could have since it’s a fairly simple thing to set up. The only problem is we wouldn’t have any competition. Travelling would be hard,” Paetkau said.

Quidditch is typically played as a full-contact sport, but Paetkau hosted a no-contact version. Even with the no-contact rule in place, some games got intense as players tried to throw the Quaffle (handball) through the opposing team’s hoops to score.

Brett Fichtner playing goalkeeper. (Tayla Scott/The Omega)

Brett Fichtner playing goalkeeper. (Tayla Scott/The Omega)

Quidditch also involves Bludgers (dodgeballs) that are used to throw at opponents. If the person carrying the Quaffle is hit by a Bludger, he or she must drop it and tag a cone at the edge of the field before re-entering the game.

“Then you have the Snitch, which is harder to do. So you just have a person running around in full yellow with a tennis ball hanging from their pants. If you get the tennis ball, you catch the Snitch. And to make it a little [more fun] we have shovels that go between your legs that you ride on,” Paetkau said.

Catching the Snitch gives the team 30 points and ends the game.

Jonathon Mccaugherty had never played Quidditch before Saturday. He played on the team Womping Willows, which was made up of students from different science programs.

“It’d be awesome if we could get this going at TRU. When you first hear about it, it sounds iffy, but it was actually a lot of fun and I’m glad I did it,” Mccaugherty said. “It’s actually a good cardio workout. Everyone’s running really hard.”

While the sport is still seeing national growth, Paetkau worries it might not last.

“It might become less well known because the younger generation isn’t growing up with Harry Potter anymore,” he said.

Paetkau plans to host the tournament again at TRU next year.