The Gryphon gets to grips with this up and coming sport that you might have thought only existed in the world of fiction.
I am one of thousands of people in over 40 countries who play a sport called Quidditch. Contrary to what you might think, Quidditch in its current form has very little to do with its fantasy origins. First adapted in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont, USA (because if anyone is going to look at something fictional and take it too far, of course it’s going to be the Americans), the sport has experienced massive worldwide growth in the last 12 years. Most universities throughout the UK have a team, and I’m proud to be part of the University of Leeds’ team, the Leeds Griffins.
In the UK, there are three major tournaments each year: Northern Cup, Southern Cup, and the British Quidditch Cup (BQC). Northern and Southern are regional tournaments that determine which teams get to compete at BQC. The Leeds Griffins will be competing at the Northern Cup on November 25-26 in Sheffield for a spot at this year’s BQC, a tournament we’ve attended ever since the inception of our team in 2011. With a squad comprised mostly of veteran members and a few eager freshers, we will be battling it out against 26 other teams for coveted spots.
Are we worried? Nah, we love our sport, and we train hard all year round for this. Are we excited? Absolutely! Under the leadership of captain Claire Cooper, vice-captain Joe Croucher, and coach Matty Percival, our team of 30 are all committed to playing our best Quidditch, all the time. We often play friendlies against neighboring teams such as York and Manchester, and the UK has a large, welcoming community consisting of players, referees, supporters, and staff.
And now, because I know you’re dying to ask, here’s an FAQ:
Do you use brooms?
“Yes, they are lengths of PVC about 3 feet long, and they must be kept between players’ legs at all times. This adds an extra element of difficulty to the game, much like the traveling rule in basketball. You’re more embarrassed about this than we are.”
How does the Snitch work?
“Very similarly to touch rugby. A Snitch runner carrying the Snitch (a tennis ball in a sock) tries to evade the Seekers from either team, and they must catch the Snitch from the Snitch runner while the game continues around them. A Snitch catch earns the catching team 30 points and ends the game.”
How do you fly?
“We don’t. But if you’d like to see what we actually do, which is play a full-contact, mixed-gender sport with elements of rugby, netball, and dodgeball, we practice every Wednesday and Saturday from 12-3 on Woodhouse Moor.”
If you’re interested in finding out more about the very real sport of Quidditch, you can find the Leeds Griffins Quidditch Club’s Facebook page here.
By Emily Anthony