To the world, Quidditch is a sport played by the beloved fictional wizard, Harry Potter. The popular books and films feature the game decked out with flying broomsticks, golden snitches and magic. But for Waterloo residents, Quidditch isn’t just what you see on the big screen, it’s so much more!
The Waterloo Recreation’s Quidditch program has been able to take the sport and make it their own. As someone who is not entirely familiar with the concept of Quidditch, or even the Harry Potter franchise, I wanted to learn more as a mere muggle. I sat down with Liam Rosborough, a 2A Geomatics student, and Katarina Naccarato, a 2A Kinesiology student. With Liams' role as a chaser captain, and Katarina's as an executive of the team, they helped me learn more about one of the most exciting and athletic sports played on campus.
Q: For those who may not know the game, can you break down the rules?
Liam: The game is played on a field and it starts off sort of like dodgeball, where the teams are lined up and the balls are in the middle. We call “brooms up” and everyone runs towards the balls.
There are six people on each side:
- Three chasers who use the quaffle (volleyball) to try to score points into one of the three hoops at each end.
- One keeper who acts as a goalie, who protects the hoops. They tend to run the whole field.
- One beater, who throws dodgeballs at opposing players. This forces the opponents to run back to their end of the field and touch the hoop before they re-enter the game.
- One seeker, whose main goal is to catch the snitch.
There is a neutral player not associated with any of the teams on the field. They act as the golden snitch and run around the field with a tennis ball attached to them.
The seekers’ job is to get the tennis ball from the seeker and score 30 points, while each score through the hoops is worth 10 points.
Q: What equipment do you use and are there real flying brooms involved?
Katarina: Unfortunately flying brooms are too expensive for the general public, so we use broom handles instead. Our main equipment also includes a volleyball which is our quaffle, three bludgers which are the dodgeballs, and two sets of three hoops. These are essentially hula hoops with CVC piping so that they rise in the air.
Liam: We wear cleats, a mouth guard and headbands to distinguish positions. Chasers wear white, beaters wear black, keepers wear green and seekers wear gold.
Q: Do you have to be a fan of Harry Potter to join the group?
Both: Not at all!
Katarina: We have people on the team who are there for the sport because it’s essentially a mix of rugby, handball, and basketball.
Liam: Also, our commitment is way less than a varsity sport but you still get to be active and you still get to be apart of a team.
Q: How has joining the team enriched your student experience?
Katarina: It’s the connection that is great because you get to see all walks of life. There’s a wide range of people from different faculties, programs and years on our team. The atmosphere is just amazing, and you become family with your teammates.
Q: Was the initiation similar to getting into Hogwarts?
Liam: It’s not exactly like an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. It’s more of an email!
At the beginning of every term, we run tryouts for anyone, male or female, who wants to compete. We do have a club you can join if you don’t want to play competitively.
Q: Are there any traditions that you do as a club?
Katarina: We do have Harry Potter related events. At the end of the term, there’s a sorting hat ceremony where we take newbies and sort them into different houses.
There is that element that we keep alive, but the sport itself has become its own separate thing.
Q: Do you have any upcoming tournaments that we can look forward to?
Liam: We are going to Guelph on October 27. There are typically eight teams who are competing against one another. We also have regionals coming up in Oshawa on November 3 against different University Quidditch teams and clubs teams that are open to everybody. But we all play in the same league.
Q: What is your favourite thing about the club?
Katarina: What I love most about it is the team. I also wanted to do rugby, but with my schedule, I decided it was not for me. So I love that I can be involved with the team, manage my schedule and still play a contact sport!
Waterloo has a variety of unique clubs and sports teams that you can join on campus. Whether you love sports or are a huge fan of the franchise, you can try out for the Quidditch team at the beginning of every term.