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Quidditch team comes to Tufts

Published: Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Updated: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 08:10


Tien Tien / Tufts Daily

A student on Tufts’ new Quidditch team catches the Quaffle during practice on the ResQuad.

Tufts' newest sports team is perhaps its most unorthodox.

Started this semester, Tufts' Quidditch team adapts the magical sport depicted in author J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series into one playable by mere "muggles."

The newly founded team held its second-ever practice on the Residential Quad last Saturday. It consisted of a series of intrasquad scrimmages between two sub-teams, the Chudley Cannons and Puddlemere United. While the names of the sub-teams change weekly, they are always taken from the Potter series.

Unlike the wizards in Rowling's novels, Tufts players do not have the luxury of flying broomsticks, nor do they use magic of any kind.

"It's basically an adopted version of the game from the books," said junior Molly Newman, headmaster of the team's parent organization, the Harry Potter Society.
Every position from wizard Quidditch is represented in its land-based, muggle counterpart.

Four Chasers per side must score the Quaffle, a volleyball, into a hoop, while the Keeper defends against them. Two Beaters per team throw Bludgers — dodge balls — at the Chasers. If hit, Chasers must drop the Quaffle and run back around their own goal before rejoining play.

The "Golden Snitch" — in Rowling's books a tiny, winged, golden ball that darts about the field at high speed — actually takes human form in the muggle version. A cross-country runner wearing all yellow plays the part. The Seeker can "catch" the Snitch and end the game for 50 points by grabbing a flag from the runner's hip, as in flag football.

Wearing a whistle, a crimson robe and a tie sporting the colors of Harry Potter's own Gryffindor House, team founder and captain Michael Walker refereed Saturday's match.

Walker, a junior, said he is not taking the Quidditch concept too seriously — for the moment anyway.

"For now," he says, "the idea is just to get our dedicated fan base." About twenty students attended each practice, many of whom belong to the Harry Potter Society.

This attitude is inspired not just by a spirit of inclusion, but also a need for extra players. A Quidditch team contains seven players but substitutes are a necessity, Walker said.

"It's a lot more tiring than you'd expect," he said. "You underestimate how tough it is."

The combination of soccer, dodge ball and hide-and-seek — all while holding a broomstick between the legs — can be overwhelming to the novice. It is not uncommon to see substituted players lying on the ground, gasping for breath.

"Quidditch is a game of stamina," Newman said.

But the team's organizers invite students of all skill levels to rough it out on the ResQuad.

"They really want everyone who wants to be here to be able to come," sophomore Quentin Lott said.

The team abides by the official rules issued by the Intercollegiate Quidditch Association (IQA). The IQA is headquartered at Middlebury College in Vermont, where students first created the terrestrial version of the sport in 2005.  The college will also host the Third Annual Quidditch World Cup on Oct. 25, with 26 colleges and universities planning to attend.

Though Tufts' team will not attend the competition, Walker hopes eventually to take the team to the World Cup when it has developed a sufficient following. "If we have a core that's good and wants to go [to a World Cup], I want to go there," Walker said.

Next semester, Walker said he hopes to scrimmage teams from other Boston-area schools. Harvard founded a Quidditch team this semester, and Boston College, Boston University and Emerson College also have teams.

The Tufts team is currently not funded by the university, as it needs to be officially recognized as a club sport in order to receive money. As a result, the team currently uses borrowed chairs in place of hoops, and any proposed travel would also come at a cost to team members. Walker and Newman said the team will seek official recognition when their activities require travel.

At the moment, though, the muggles who make up Tufts' Quidditch team are just focused on having fun. "It's great to be both nerdy and athletic," freshman Jed Silver said.

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Harry Potter Fan
Sun Nov 1 2009 17:32
I am a fan of the books, but these kids are just losers
Tue Oct 27 2009 12:04
Ezra DP are you messing around on the family computer again? Come downstairs so that you can have your lunch. Your father will be angry if you mess up the PC again. No more Quidditch for you!
Mon Oct 26 2009 11:53
As a Tufts parent, I am proud to have participated in Quidditch this weekend with my son and daughter. It was great fun and tremendous exercise. Go Jumbos!
Sun Oct 25 2009 15:10
This sounds hilarious. Kudos whoever adapted this. Don't worry about what people think. Can't be any dumber than being a couch potato.
Ezra DP
Sat Oct 24 2009 20:22
All of the comments about how people are "embarassed" and think that we think we have "magical powers" are completely baseless. People in this world need to not be so stuck up that they can't enjoy a little random fun every now and again. That's what quidditch is to us. We just happen to have similar interests and want to do something active. Remind me how that's such a bad thing? And give me a break about the "school reputation" argument. Personally, I think it gives Tufts a more positive image as a place that can accept such creative groups of people.

Finally, if you want to badmouth us with scathing remarks, then you might want to have the courage to put your real name instead of hiding behind anonymity.

Sat Oct 24 2009 18:42
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Bar Room Hero
Sat Oct 24 2009 04:27
I couldn't do that. besides it being silly, and I have no shame, I've done my share of foolish things in the past. I just don't think I could keep up.
Hairy Pooper
Fri Oct 23 2009 21:39
I can't wait for the the 'Doll Playing With' club to be formed!
Matt Malone
Fri Oct 23 2009 13:44
I went to Tufts and I farted on a broom stick.
smelly hippie
Fri Oct 23 2009 13:20
Tufts needs to get a little weirder. lighten up. Are you people actually wasting time worrying about/being embarrassed by this?
Fri Oct 23 2009 12:27
Wow, it’s scary to think what may be going on inside some people’s minds? A light-hearted article about college kids having fun (regardless of the activity) has generated some off-the-chart remarks/comments that, to me, demonstrate some underlying issues (anger, hatred, confusion). It’s too bad some people in society are wrapped tighter than a popcorn fart. Life's short, enjoy living before you expiration date passes.
Fri Oct 23 2009 12:27
Do you know how many friends at home read this on and are roasting me because I went to Tufts?? I've gotten 4 emails already. Thanks guys...
Jerry Lee
Fri Oct 23 2009 11:59
when will Tufts medical school have the club-----to celebrate the immaturity of today's students?!

maybe they can use the brooms to clean the school at night too. very good cost-savings for the school.

Fri Oct 23 2009 11:47
I think I'd lose the broomstick or replace it with a lacrosse stick (and tennis ball).
Your name
Fri Oct 23 2009 11:38
All you boys come over the house later. We've made you some Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches! We know they're your favorite! You boys go on and work up an appetite now.

mom and dad

Your name
Fri Oct 23 2009 11:27
Who names their kid Jed? By the way, the tufts sex rule was started because I teed off on so many chicks and I'm the man.
Fri Oct 23 2009 11:24
what a joke...i thought tufts was pretty lame when i was there but this takes the cake. Running around on broomsticks and pretending you have magical powers? come off it

also cant believe some parents posted saying that they are proud of their kid running around with a broomstick between his/her legs and imagining they're in one of harry's wild fantasies

James Kalec '08
Fri Oct 23 2009 11:15
Play a real sport like bush jumping or mario brothers (not the video game you clowns). All you need is a little popov and a push in the right direction...
ChemE 08
Fri Oct 23 2009 10:46
I don't understand why people are having such negative reactions. As the article says, there are many schools that have similar teams. And even if that wasn't true, what's so bad about students having a good time.

As long as they are enjoying themselves and not hurting anyone in the process, I think it's awesome. JK Rowling (jk) - do you go to Tufts? Because if you do, the school should reexamine their admissions process and figure out how they let someone so hateful into the school.

Fri Oct 23 2009 10:33
Keep up the good work boys. We're so proud of you!

mom and dad

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