Transylvania plays intercollegiate quidditch
It’s not often that a campus organization asks participants to “BYOB—Bring Your Own Broom,” but such is the case with a new sports team on campus, the Transy Animagi.
Quidditch, the sport featured in the Harry Potter series of books by J. K. Rowling, has become a phenomenon on college campuses across the country, including Transylvania. Kristen Grenier, a junior environmental studies major, is the organizer of Transylvania quidditch, which now has 100 members and 20 active players.
“It’s a fast and furious game,” Grenier said, describing it as a mixture of tag, rugby, dodge ball, basketball, soccer, and hide-and-seek, “with an added bit of theatrics.”
While Rowling’s wizards fly on broomsticks and dodge self-propelled balls, “muggle” quidditch, which refers to the name for non-magical humans in the books, is played on the ground. The players use brooms, leaving only one hand available as they chase the game ball.
Each quidditch team has seven players. Three chasers throw the ball to one another as they work down the field and try to get it through one of the three circular goals. At the same time, the other team flings dark balls known as bludgers in an attempt to knock over opposing players. Seekers try to catch the most elusive ball, the Golden Snitch. In the books, the Snitch flies independently; in real life, it hangs in a sock from the clothing of a selected player. Once the Snitch is caught, the game ends.
“I’m told it’s one of those things that you need to see to believe,” Grenier said.
The teams are co-ed, and Transy’s includes a mix of students.
“Everyone who tries it gets hooked,” Greiner said. “We have varsity athletes, Greeks, independents, and team members with a variety of academic interests and a wide-range of athleticism. Interest in Harry Potter ranges from diehard fans to students who have never read any of the books or seen the movies.”
After building a community on campus, Transylvania’s quidditch team entered into competitive play this spring. Its first competition was against Kenyon College in February, and Kenyon won three of the four matches.
“Our on-the-pitch players dominated,” Grenier said, “but their Seeker caught the Snitch every time. It was a blast, and we look forward to playing them again soon.”
Organizers also plan to schedule games with Miami of Ohio and Ball State.
“We want Transylvania to be a part of the Fourth Annual Quidditch World Cup at Middlebury College in October 2010,” said Grenier. Muggle quidditch originated at Middlebury in 2005.
“After all, in the Potter books, Transylvania won the first-ever Quidditch World Cup in 1473, defeating Flanders,” she said. “We have to defend our title.”
See more photos at Transylvania's Flickr photostream here.