By OLIVIA LEHMAN
This weekend the UMW Quidditch team played two grueling games against teams from VCU and William & Mary. Both matches were tough, with VCU- a USQ Official Team who has often placed in regional and national tournaments, beating the UMW team 190-0. The game against William and Mary was closer, with a final score of 150-80. This match was more competitive, with a score of 120 to 80 before William & Mary’s team caught the snitch, ending the match in a victory against UMW.
Despite the losses, the UMW team did not walk home dejectedly, brooms between their legs. Instead they spent the day with the other teams, enjoying their company both off and on the field. After they played their assigned games they played a “confetti match” where all the team members are mixed together, and two elected captains pick teams and play a match entirely for fun. To the UMW Quidditch team, the fun of the game is what makes it worth playing. Still, they hope to turn their luck around in Greensboro, NC next weekend, where they are attending a tournament called the Greensboro Gauntlet.
UMW Quidditch team attends tournaments like any other sports team. However, many who attend Mary Washington might not even be aware of what Quidditch really is.
Quidditch is a sport inspired by the fictional wizarding sport in the Harry Potter series. Katie Hartraft, chaser for the UMW team, gave a brief description of what Quidditch is for those who may not be aware of how the game is played.
“Quidditch is a co-ed, full-contact sport with a unique mixture of elements from rugby, dodgeball and tag. A team is made up of seven athletes who run with ‘brooms’ between their legs at all times. The goal is to score goals by putting the quaffle (a volleyball) into one of three different sized hoops on the opposing side without getting hit by a bludger (a dodgeball). The game ends when the snitch, a neutral player wearing yellow shorts with a tennis ball attached to the back of them, is caught.”
A game typically runs for around twenty minutes, which is twenty minutes of nonstop running, blocking, passing the quaffle, being hit with bludgers, and avoiding getting knocked to the ground by other players. The athleticism needed to keep up with the game is the same as in other sports, and like other Mary Washington club teams they meet three times a week for practice, with games falling on weekends.
The lack of recognition of Quidditch as a sport on campus has hurt the team’s recruitment.
“I’d really like more people to know about us, and that what we do is a sport. Sometimes people join the team without realizing they’re committing to a sports team. We used to have a guy who loved to play who had never even read Harry Potter,” Hartraft stated.
UMW Quidditch team t-shirts used to be in the University Bookstore but were not selling, as so few people knew about the team. They thought it was a joke similar to the UMW Undefeated Football Team shirts.
Quidditch games are fun to watch as they go by fast and are full of entertainment. From watching people narrowly avoid a bludger to the face, to the wildness of a player running around with a tennis ball strapped to them, the game is exciting to watch for any viewer.