Quidditch goes from fiction to reality at Canadian universities

Quidditch captain (Park)
Andrea Hill is the captain of Carleton’s quidditch team. The team is ranked second in Canada and is heading to the world championships in New York on Nov. 12. (James Park Photo)

Andrea Hill has always been a Harry Potter fan – so when she found out there was a quidditch tournament happening in Vermont, she had to go see it for herself.

“I was blown away by what I saw,” said Hill, a fourth-year biology and journalism major who’s also the Carleton’s quidditch team captain. “(Quidditch) is so fun and exciting. People are so enthusiastic and there’s so much sportsmanship. So I knew I had to make it a part of my university experience.”

In January 2011, Hill established Carleton’s first quidditch team, which has expanded from 14 players to 60.

Now, nine months later, Carleton played host to eight other universities for the Canadian Quidditch Cup at the Ravens’ Field on Oct. 29.

The sport, which is coed and full-contact, is described as a cross between rugby, dodgeball and flag football and was inspired by the wildly popular Harry Potter books.

“To the naïve observer, it’s confusing because there’s so many balls on the field at any given time and the players seem to be playing their own game within a larger game,” says Hill.

Each player on the field runs around on a broomstick, and there are three “chasers” who try to throw a deflated volleyball into a hoop. The chasers also try to avoid getting hit with another ball. The hoops are guarded by a goaltender, and there is also a “snitch” dressed in gold and who runs around until they’re caught. When the snitch is caught, the game is over.

The game is popular at Canadian and U.S. universities, and Hill says she’s overseeing its growth and development around the world as the international director of the International Quidditch Association.

“We’re seeing huge growth in the quidditch culture, and this is becoming an international movement.”

Aly Singh, a second-year student, said she’s a Harry Potter fan and was excited to watch her first tournament.

“(Harry Potter) developed into an obsession and quidditch came with the whole deal,” Singh said at the tournament.

Fan Stephanie Robinson woke up at 2 a.m. and traveled more than four hours to Carleton from Whitby to take in the tourney.

“I’m trying really hard not to geek out right now, (but) I had to come,” she said.

She can relate to quidditch players, she said, because they have the same passion for Harry Potter. The sport, she says, has “exploded.”

“It feels like something you started in your backyard, and now everyone’s doing it,” says Robinson.

Carleton’s quidditch team ranks second in Canada and is playing in the world championship tournament Nov. 12 to 13 in New York City.

This entry was written by Kristy Strauss and posted in the issue. Tags applied to this article are: , . Leave a comment, bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media: http://carletonnow.carleton.ca/?p=8278

Kristy Strauss

By Kristy Strauss

Kristy Strauss graduated from Carleton's journalism program in 2009. She is a regular contributor to Carleton Now. She has worked as a reporter for the Kemptville Advance. She currently reports for EMC Ottawa South.

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