About a month ago, I was browsing through the UCReddit when I saw a post about an upcoming informational meeting for a Quidditch team at UCR. Now, there are a few things you should know about me:
- I love, grew up with, and attended every single midnight book release and movie showing of Harry Potter.
- I own a Ravenclaw scarf.
- I squealed like a fangirl when I saw that Quidditch was coming to our school.
After an exhausting but exhilarating practice last Sunday, I chatted with one of the team’s captains, chemical engineering major Kevin Chan, about the sport, his plans, and why people are willing to run around on brooms for several hours.
First, what the heck is Quidditch? It started at Middlebury College in Vermont, and has since expanded into an international sport. Kevin described the game as a “fast paced version of dodgeball, water polo, and basketball. The object of the game is to get the ball into one of three hoops, while preventing yourself from being hit with a dodgeball.” Two dodgeballs (Bludgers) are used by Beaters to tag and hit opposing team members out of the game. A volleyball (the Quaffle) is used by Chasers to score, and a keeper acts as a goalie and attempts to keep the chasers from scoring.
Source. Pictured: a surprisingly good workout.
What about the Snitch? In the movies and books, the Snitch is a small golden sphere that flies around the Quidditch pitch and ends the game once it is caught by the Seeker. In college Quidditch, the Snitch is a person wearing a flag football-style tube sock with a tennis ball dangling out the back of their pants. The Seeker has to find the Snitch and grab the tennis ball, which ends the game.
And yes, players must run, slide, tackle, shoot, and score with a broomstick between their legs. When you combine grassy fields, lots of running, several game balls, and ruthless tackles into one game, you get a sport that looks hilarious, dangerous, and a whole lot of fun.
Source. Yale, ladies and gentlemen.
Once people see the sport in action, “they know that it is VERY intensive as an athletic sport and requires a lot of endurance and running to play. However, there are frequent subsitutes, so if you tend to tire easy, don’t worry, there are people to take your place,” Kevin said.
Kevin started playing Quidditch as a freshman by participating in practices at UC Berkeley. He also played for the Silicon Valley Skrewts. Alongside team co-captain Alyssa Burton, UCR’s team is led by two Potterheads with several years of experience in the pitch.
When asked what we can expect to see from the Quidditch team (officially called “Remus’ Riverside Runners”) over this upcoming year, Kevin said, “We plan to have other schools to play, including University of Redlands, the Claremont colleges, UCLA, USC, and Occidental. We also hope to play the community teams, such as The Lost Boys, who are based in LA, and the Orange County Oblivators. Hopefully, we will have an Inland Empire cup, which we will host and present to the general public. We plan to grow together as a giant group within the next year.”
Source. The mascot is a werewolf, guys! A WEREWOLF
From my perspective, the game was easy enough to understand. The team is full of people who are eager to play, learn, and meet fellow Potterheads, but you don’t have to be a walking compendium of Harry Potter trivia in order to join. If you’re interested in playing but not sure if it’s really your thing, Kevin encourages prospective players to “come to a practice and watch us play! It’s a great sport to watch, and you never know what will end up happening. We can go over the rules with you, and you can instantly go on the field and start playing!”
For more information, join the team on Facebook for updates on upcoming practices. The team practices every Sunday from 5PM – 8 PM at the Riverside Sports Complex, and Thursdays from 4PM – 7PM at the Rivera lawn or Science lawn. Bring a sturdy wooden broom (or $7 to purchase one from the team), a bottle of water, closed-toe shoes, and prepare to run!
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