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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Quidditch club looks to soar to new heights

%09Courtesy+of+UA+Quidditch%0A%0A%09The+UA+Quidditch+team+practices+at+Himmel+Park.+The+team+has+been+officially+recognized+as+a+club+sport+in+Campus+Recreation.

Courtesy of UA Quidditch

The UA Quidditch team practices at Himmel Park. The team has been officially recognized as a club sport in Campus Recreation.

Sixteen years ago, the globe was first introduced to the wizarding world of Harry Potter. From riding around on broomsticks to chanting charms, readers everywhere were engulfed in the series’ “magic.” Flash forward to the fall of 2012.

UA students Jessica Goodman and Ian Shore created the UA Quidditch club, bringing the traditions of that magical world to our own. Two years later, President Tayler Dykes and Vice President Mark Stethem now lead the team and manage its activities. The two boast about how UA Quidditch is now acknowledged by Campus Recreation as a club sport.

“It’s a big responsibility. … We are going to have [to] step it up in terms of what we are going to do to show the U of A we are just as much of a sport as any other club,” Stethem said. “It has a lot of benefits, which are going to make it a lot easier — like having open access to the fields, which was a logistical factor [when] finding areas to practice at in previous years.”

In the past few years, the sport has grown substantially in popularity. According to USA Today, about 200 colleges and universities across the country have club teams.

“I think it fills a niche for people that want to do sports but are too intimidated or don’t have the time to commit to the football team or basketball team,” Stethem said. Many spectators are baffled at the thought of muggle quidditch, but Dykes defended the idea.

“People can come together for the love of the movies and books,” Dyke said, “And, at the same time, actually be challenged in a sport that is different.”

Practice for UA Quidditch is both physically and mentally demanding. First, the team runs laps for about a mile and does stretches. Then, team members separate into positions for drills and scrimmages. The four different types of positions are beater, seeker, chaser and keeper.

Players can choose to wear cleats and mouth guards for protection and use PVC pipes as brooms. The quaffle, which is used to score, is worth 10 points and the snitch is worth 30 points. The games end when the snitch is caught.

“The games are pretty taxing,” Dykes said. “Unlike most sports, there is no stopping unless somebody gets seriously injured. For the most part, it is constantly running across the pitch, and there’s no resting.”

Stethem said that the team hopes to participate in three tournaments this year. The first will be the Third Annual Lumberjack Tournament in Flagstaff. The second will be a home-hosted event that the team anticipates to occur in November, as long as logistics are figured out. The third tournament will be the Western Regional to qualify for the World Cup.

“We are definitely a threat to other teams, and we can hold our own,” Dykes said. “Last year, we qualified for the World Cup but were unable to attend because of financial reasons.”

UA Quidditch players will channel the wizards of the Harry Potter universe as members continue to soar through the field for the rest of the season.

“Quidditch is the most involved I have been in the University of Arizona, so I would say I have made a lot of friends,” Stethem said. “Our team has really bonded just like any other sport or club has, and it’s definitely become an important part of my college experience.”

—Follow Matt Wall @mwall20

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