Soc of the Week 05.10.12: Quidditch and Harry Potter Society

Leeds University Union Society of the WeekPresident: Jenny Levitt

Activities: Wizard Duelling, Quidditch and Potions

Membership price: £3/year

When JK Rowling began writing her first Harry Potter book, I doubt the thought crossed her mind that one day, University students around the country would be uttering that phrase, followed by running around with a broom between their legs playing real life Quidditch.  But as a result of the worldwide Harry Potter phenomenon, on Sunday 31st LUU’s Quidditch an Harry Potter Society gave Leeds students the chance to hop on a broomstick and take part.

Although the concept of real-life Quidditch sounds comical at first, it has an official rule book,an official international association and is gaining momentum by the minute. The basic concept of the game remains the same as in the books. In each team, Chasers aim to get the Quaffle (a volleyball) through one of the opposing team’s three hoops to score a point. The beater’s job is to throw Bludgers (large tennis balls) at the opposing team; if a player is hit by a Bludger they have to drop any balls they are holding and return to their set of hoops. Arguably the team’s most crucial player – the Seeker – was removed from the ‘Give it a Go’ session to keep things simple. The treat of watching a small person run and hide whilst dressed in yellow with wings on their back will have to wait until the first training session.

What was most refreshing about the ‘Give it a Go’ session was the huge variety of people who showed up to play. As expected, there were many die-hard HP fans, but also many people not too interested in the series, but still in proper sports gear genuinely intrigued and excited to play. The game managed to remain competitive without being elitist, giving those who find conventional sport (especially at University level) daunting and overwhelming, the opportunity to be competitive in sport (even if it was whilst holding a broomstick). I wonder what the basketball players training adjacent to the us would have thought if they had pulled back the curtain to reveal the Quidditch pitch – my guess is they would have been tempted to join in the action. The ‘Give it a Go’ session proved a huge success, with plenty of people signing up. What better way to escape the stresses of University life than taking to the air on a broomstick and playing for real such a well loved, fictional game?

Words: Tom Pattison

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