No longer just a magical game inspired by J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, Quidditch is becoming a popular sport amongst college students.
In watching a game, you will see a field full of players running with brooms between their legs at all times.
The objective is for the chasers to score a volleyball through one of the three hoops. The beaters use kickballs to disrupt opponents, and if hit, must drop the ball they were holding and touch one of their goalposts before re-entering the game. The snitch, a runner dressed in yellow, enters the game after 18 minutes and must avoid capture. If caught, the game is over.
Quidditch, according to Katelynn Moranha, president of the Texas Tech Quidditch Club, combines aspects of soccer, rugby, dodgeball and football.
The sport is governed by US Quidditch, which serves almost 200 teams and over 4,000 athletes nationwide. Texas Tech belongs to the Southwest Region, composed of universities from Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
A love for Harry Potter might initially attract players to the sport, but it is the competitive aspect that keeps them around. Dilan Freeman, captain of the Texas Tech Quidditch Club, says he likes playing a sport where he can be physical.
“Growing up, I was a Harry Potter fan, but I also played sports my whole life,” Freeman said. “Somebody told me this was a thing and it was a full-contact sport, so I was like, ‘I guess it’s been awhile since I’ve hit somebody.’”
Since no pads or helmets are worn, players are only allowed to tackle with one hand, the junior construction management major added.
Jimmie Evans refers to the game as “deceivingly physical.”
“You see lots of concussions,” Evans said, “because people are getting crushed by people and stuff. It’s quite physical. I would rate it up there with rugby or football.”
Freeman said people do not think of these actions when they initially hear about Quidditch.
“There’s a lot of big people running around – a lot of people who were way too athletic for something that you’d consider a nerdy sport,” he said.
The term “nerdy” is one Freeman hears often that can originally draw people away.
“Usually it takes getting somebody out and actually playing (Quidditch) for a little bit, or maybe watching an actual tournament before they realize this is actually a real thing that could be a lot of fun,” he said.
Besides being able to release stress from a school day, Moranha loves the friendships Quidditch brings.
“I can call up anybody from the team and ask them for whatever favor,” she said, “if you want to go to lunch, or hang out and play board games or something. It’s such a great experience for me personally, because this is my family.”
As with any other sport, the team competes in national competitions with at least three tournaments a semester. Texas Tech is currently ranked 62 out of 145 teams listed for the 2016-17 season. The team is scheduled to attend the Southwest Regional Championship in College Station Texas on Feb. 18-19.
Moranha said the club currently has around 25 members, but is always looking to expand. If interested, you can attend a practice, held on Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. on the Texas Tech rugby field, where members can teach you the rules of the game.