The Calgary Quidditch Club
Have you ever wanted to fly through the air on a broomstick? Unfortunately, science is not quite there yet, but Calgary has a league for the next best thing: quidditch!
Quidditch is an all gender sport that is a mix of rugby, dodgeball, and ultimate frisbee. The sport is adapted from the Harry Potter book series written by J.K. Rowling and, apart from the flying and magic, represents how it is played in the books. The object of the game is to score points by throwing the quaffle (a deflated volleyball) through one of the three hoops at each end of the pitch for 10 points while all players carry broomsticks between their legs.
Each team has up to 21 players, with seven players on the field at a time. There are three chasers (players that advance the ball), two beaters (players that try and “knock other players off their brooms”), one keeper (goalie of the hoops), and one seeker (player that tries to catch the snitch to end the game). The beaters use three deflated dodgeballs called bludgers to “knock players off their brooms”. If a player gets hit by a dodgeball, they must dismount their broom, run to their end of the pitch and touch one of their three hoops. They can remount their broom and are back in the game. Both types of balls in this game are deflated so that they can be caught, held and thrown with one hand. The snitch is a person dressed in yellow who has a tennis ball in a sock attached to their waist like a tail. If the seeker captures this ball, it is worth 30 points and ends the game.
Quidditch is a sport that has only been in Calgary for five years, but has grown quickly since it was introduced at the University of Calgary in 2012. The first team in Calgary was the University of Calgary Mudbloods, followed by the Calgary Kelpies, the Mount Royal Manticores and the All-Star travel team, the Calgary Mavericks. The Mavericks came fifth at nationals in April 2017 and travel all over Canada and to the United States for tournaments, while the other three teams play more locally in low contact tournaments in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton.
The Calgary Quidditch club was founded in January 2017 by Lauren Yee, a player for the Calgary Kelpies, and is run by the players for the players. The club hopes to form a schedule for bi-weekly games to take advantage of hosting more than one team. “We want to provide more regular games so players can develop at a faster rate,” says Lauren Yee, president of the organization. These games will allow the teams to play more and become more competitive on a national level.
One of the challenges the Calgary Quidditch Club faces is the stigma around the sport. Some people categorize quidditch as “nerdy” and don’t want to try it, but the sport is great for people who are fans of the books and would not normally be active. “People have this thing about running around with a broomstick between their legs,” Yee says, “and we get it! But once they try it, so many people enjoy it.” Yee first got into quidditch because the sport made her feel like she was among people who were like her, which is what makes her want to bring the sport to kids.
In the past year, the Calgary Quidditch Club has held sessions in schools to teach kids the sport and get them interested in the league early. They are starting a drop-in summer league in July that will take place every Monday until the end of August. Although there is no formal kids league yet, the Calgary Quidditch Club is hoping that if enough kids want to play, a league will happen very soon – maybe as soon as September.