Muggles are Quidditch superstars


At Toronto’s Cherry Beach Fields, 16 teams of bright-eyed players gathered at 8 a.m. to compete for the title of Canadian Quidditch champions.

The once-fictional sport, popularized by J.K. Rowling’s bestselling Harry Potter series of novels and films, has taken fans all over the world by storm, but they’re not letting their lack of innate magical abilities get in the way of fun.

Beater (left) vs. Chaser (right)

McMaster beater, left, vs. Valhalla, independent,  chaser , right.

“I got involved through a friend on the Ottawa Gee-Gees team,” said Megan Stacy, one of the Canada Cup coordinators. “It’s a lot of fun, and a great way to get people who aren’t into sports involved in a game.”

In the “muggle” version of Quidditch, two teams of seven face off on a soccer pitch. The team consists of three “chasers” who have the job of scoring points for the team by throwing the “quaffle” through one of three hoops. There are two “beaters”, who use “bludgers” to attack the opposing team and defend their own. The “keeper” is the same as the goalie in traditional sports, guarding the hoops from the quaffle. Finally, it is the job of the seeker to catch the “snitch,” scoring 150 points for their team and ending the game.

A seeker's job is to pursue the snitch.

A seeker’s job is to pursue the snitch.

As the fictional version of the game features wizards flying on brooms, the experience is replicated by having players run on the field while holding a broom between their legs with one hand, which must remain on the broom at all times. In addition, the flying, thinking ball known as the golden snitch is replaced with a human player, who must avoid both teams’ seekers at all costs.

Most of the teams consist of university students, whose teams are officially recognized by their school. Pro Quidditch teams play in the International Quidditch Association (IQA). The sport is also co-ed, and the IQA requires that every team be fairly balanced with male and female players.

All of the teams played hard at the game on Nov. 9, with the top four teams qualifying to compete in the Quidditch World Cup next year.

Quidditch is more competitive than it seems. As in most sports, the game emphasizes quick movement, hard tackles and expert throws. Even the snitch, which doesn’t appear on the field until the end of the game, must constantly be focused and prepared.

Murph Carlisle, who spent the day acting as the snitch, has been playing Quidditch for four years.

“I used to be a beater,” he said. “It’s the most fun position… and incredibly strategic.”

On switching to his current position, he said, “Quidditch games always need a snitch, and I can always play!”

Don't take your hand off of the broom!

Don’t take your hand off of the broom!

Teams from McGill University and Carleton University, as well as the Gee-Gees and Maple Rush (both representing the University of Ottawa) will travel to Quidditch World Cup, scheduled to take place April 5 and 6 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The University of Ottawa Quidditch team tweeted: “We’ve returned [from the Canada Cup] exhausted and achy with excitement.”

For video of the Quidditch tournament, click here.