Okay, stop laughing. Quidditch has moved far beyond from being a bunch of Harry Potter nerds running around with sticks between their legs, into being a fast-paced and pretty hardcore sport. Our team had a great season last year and are coming into the new season on a high.
What is it though, if it’s not just some LARPing that got taken too far? It’s usually described as a mix of rugby, dodgeball and netball, which isn’t a bad start. It’s a full-contact and completely mixed gender sport. All players have a broom (usually a PVC stick) between their legs at all times. As in the world of Harry Potter, there are 3 chasers, 2 beaters, a keeper and a seeker on each team. In terms of balls, there are three bludgers (dodgeballs) and a quaffle (volleyball). There’s also a snitch, but more on them later. The three chasers play with the quaffle, attempting to score a goal through one of the three opposing hoops for 10 points. The beaters use the dodgeballs, throwing them at the opposition to force them to drop everything and tag back in at their team’s hoops. The keeper, defends their team’s hoops. Seekers come in later in the game, and try and catch the snitch for 30 points to end the game.
What’s the snitch? The snitch is made up of two parts: the snitch ball and the snitch runner. The snitch ball is a tennis ball inside a yellow sock; it’s this part that the seekers have to grab. This is attached to the back of the snitch runner’s shorts. Their role is basically to try and stop either team taking it from them. Snitch runners can block, run, take away and throw brooms; basically anything, so long as they don’t display a bias towards either team.
It’s hilarious to watch, but more hilarious to play. Ask the people who tried it out as a joke, and discovered it was actually kind of awesome.
It’s also seriously inclusive. Mixed gender and open to any and all genders, it’s one of a kind. Some might question the safety of having a 6’5” ex-rugby bloke play on an equal playing field to a 4’6” petite girl, but somehow it works just fine. Sure, there are some injuries, but that happens in any full-contact sport, regardless of who’s playing it. But with Quidditch, even if you know no one there, you always know that someone will have your back if you do get hurt, because the wider Quidditch community is made up of some of the nicest people on earth.
And if the awesomeness of the sport isn’t convincing you to try it, then do it for the socials. Reading’s team throw an average of a social per week, and they are some of the craziest out there, with bigger and badder ones in the works for the coming year. The first one goes down the traditional Greek row route, with the team descending on union clad in togas. You’d be crazy to miss it.
And at the end of the day, uni is the time to try something new and different, and it doesn’t get more different than Quidditch. Drop by one of the taster sessions and see for yourself.
Taster sessions are all held behind mojos: weds 21st 2-4, sat 24th 12-2, weds 1st 2-4.