Geeking out for Quidditch

University of Arizona Quiddtich team members practice their best shots on the enemy hoops. (Photo by: Haley Ford/Arizona Sonora News Service)

From the pages of the Harry Potter novels to campus recreation fields, the University of Arizona Quidditch team is turning wizarding geeks into jocks.

The mythical game has evolved into a full contact sport sweeping across college campuses. Quidditch, founded in 2005 at Middlebury College, is a full contact sport that combines elements of rugby, soccer and  tag.

“It’s more of a sport, I have always been a fan of flag football and two-hand touch, but this is a mix of everything I like to play. I feel like it doesn’t even feel like you are doing something Harry Potter,” said Lili Vu, UA quidditch team member.

Just like the Harry Potter narrative, seven players hover over a broomstick across the playing field in efforts to score goals through the enemy hoops, while simultaneously trying to catch the golden snitch.

In efforts to capture the golden snitch, players run, push, tackle, and fight their way to win the game. There’s no doubt about it, quidditch is full contact.  Injuries like bruised ribs, rolled ankles, and torn muscles are an everyday occurrence, says UA Quidditch Coach DJ Sanders.

While the game boasts plenty of competition, the nerd stigma still surrounds the sport.  UA Quidditch is putting its best broom forward to promote the game of quidditch around the Tucson community.

“If you let go of that stigma that it is from Harry Potter and it’s just a sport, you will have fun. There’s a saying that goes around in the quidditch community, that we are ‘turning nerds into jocks and jocks into nerds since 2005’,” said Vu.

Vu explained that she never anticipated playing the game, but the camaraderie within the quidditch community has given her lifelong memories and lasting friendships. At the end of the day it is about the love of the game that keeps her and many other Harry Potter fanatics playing.

Nearly 12 years after its creation, the game has evolved into a nationwide community, overseen by United States Quidditch. The USQ was incorporated as a nonprofit in 2010 and serves over 4,000 athletes and nearly 200 teams nationwide.

“Well it’s always interesting, especially practicing out on the field, getting the people that drive by and yell interesting things about us. I think it is a really great sport and it is developing fast,” said Sanders.

Haley Ford is a reporter for Arizona Sonora News, a service from the School of Journalism with the University of Arizona. Contact her at haleycford@email.arizona.edu. 

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