KU recently became one of over 300 colleges and universities to enter the International Quidditch Association (IQA). The league, founded in 2005 by Middlebury College students, contains schools not only from the United States, but also college students from 12 other countries.
The teams, full of Harry Potter super-fans and newbies alike, play for their own version of the “Quidditch World Cup” from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. This year’s World Cup will be held in Kissimme, FL in just 6 weeks, from April 13-14. It will be the IQA’s sixth annual World Cup.
Quidditch at KU is still growing, according to Captain Michelle Wesolowski. A student here at KU, Wesolowski says that they’ve seen more and more people coming out for the team since its inception two seasons ago. The team, which is open to any interested students, will “hopefully continue to grow, and see bigger crowds” Wesolowski said.
Wesolowski, who joined the team last year and was elected captain, said that the team doesn’t hold tryouts and that KU’s team especially has some members on it who have never even read the Harry Potter series, so membership is not limited to fans.
Kutztown’s first home match will be held in April, and with a student made schedule, the IQA is definitely a league that is student-athlete friendly. While the matches might not last for hours, or even days, like they do in Rowling’s series, some of the rules are very similar. Students do have to hold a broom in between their legs for the entire match, scoring is still done by throwing the quaffle through a series of three hoops and the golden snitch is still in the game.
The snitch, which is a tiny gold ball caught by the seeker to win the match, is one of the more interesting aspects of the “muggle” version of Quidditch. In the matches, a student wearing bright yellow has the snitch tucked into their belt. The match begins with that student running out of the stadium where the match is actually being held, with the seekers, who previously had their eyes covered, soon following in an attempt to find and catch the snitch.
Kutztown has seen some early hardships, other than simply building a new team.
“We tend to have more girls than guy, so when we play schools that have a lot of guys on the team, it’s difficult,” Weslowski said. “One of the more recent rules has helped that though, because now, to make it more even, there has to be at least two girls for every two guys.”
With the IQA gaining popularity each year, Wesolowski finished by saying that people, regardless of their Potter fan status, should come watch their school play Quidditch.
“It’s fun,” Weslowski said. “A lot different than any other sport you’re used to, but it’s still a lot more aggressive than people think. I think people think it’s a bunch of nerds running around, but it’s tough.”
By Nicholas Carson