Ladies and gentlemen, start your broomsticks! Campus swept up by a new sports league
By Rob Thomas
A certain wizard-in-training might feel at home on Carleton’s campus these days. That’s because a troupe of students have launched a muggle quidditch team. Muggles, for the uninitiated, are non-magical folk, while quidditch is the fictional sport they play. Both terms were popularized by the Harry Potter book and film series.
The sport’s non-magical version combines elements of rugby, dodge ball and capture the flag with broomstick riding. In the Harry Potter version of the sport, the broomsticks help players fly.
Journalism student Andrea Hill got Carleton’s team off the ground in January. “I was really concerned, when we had our first meeting, that we were going to have three or four people show up,” she says, “and as soon as they found out there was physical contact or any exertion involved in the sport, they would go back to playing Dungeons and Dragons.”
Instead, the room was packed to overcrowding with eager would-be quidditch players, more than enough for the seven players required for a team.
As Harry Potter quickly learns in the books and films, quidditch can be dangerous. Rugby player and journalism student Kyra Springer wasn’t put off by the rough play of the game or its nerdy origins. “I think it’s the perfect combination of athleticism and dorkiness.”
Hill says the team is open to jocks and Potter fans alike. “Right now everyone who is on the Carleton team is a fan of Harry Potter,” Hill says. “On the McGill team, there are a few people who had never heard of quidditch, had never seen the movies or read the books until they saw people running around on campus with broomsticks.”
Carleton’s team is part of the International Quidditch Association, which counts hundreds of university and high school teams among its members.
Carleton won its first exhibition match against the McGill University team in the spring.
In October, the team will take their play to the next level by competing in the annual Quidditch World Cup in Middlebury, Vt.