Out of the eighteen different club sports on the campus of UNC-Greensboro, only one of these organizations has an origin stemming from a young adult novel released within the past fifteen years.
That’s right, there is a club sport surrounding the Harry Potter on campus!
How in the world the university was able to fund a Harry Potter team, convince enough students to sign onto the club, and remain open due to the flood of lawsuits from parents, I do not know.
Or at least I wish the school would allow a Harry Potter club.
Instead students on campus do have the nice second-place prize of a club sport from best selling book series of all time and the most popular movie series since the original “Star Wars” trilogy.
Last Saturday afternoon, the UNCG Rec Field hosted the Minerva Cup for the school’s Quidditch Club.
In regards to the rules, before the question is even asked, the players do not use flying brooms.
The game also does not feature a small golden golf ball with wings that basically makes 99.7 percent of the entire match.
The sport has been modified for the common muggles of UNCG.
Each team has seven players on the field at one time.
Three players field the position of chaser, whose job it is to throw the quaffle (deflated volleyball) through the opposing team’s goal for ten points, while avoiding the other opposing chasers or the two beaters.
The job of the beater is like a linebacker in football. A beater can use a deflated dodgeball, called a bludger, to hit the chaser. So imagine Luke Kuechly playing dodgeball while he is playing on the football field. Then there is one keeper and one seeker on the team.
The keeper is the goalle. His job is to guard the three goal hoops and block any shot attempt.
The seeker’s job is to catch the golden snitch for a thirty point score instead of the 100 plus points that were given in the books and movies. However, you cannot simply tag the snitch, which is a brightly colored individual with a lot of endurance and elusiveness. You have to tackle the snitch and put him on his back.
So the sport of Quidditch is a combination of soccer and hockey with elements of wrestling, football and basketball.
In an interview with the captain of the blue and gold Quidditch team, Collin Nesbitt, he talked about how the team has been getting its name and the sport’s name out on campus.
“We are trying to do fundraisers, but at this moment, we are just trying to put into the works and see what we can do,” Nesbitt said as he was cheering on his team as they were playing in the background.
The Quidditch Club, which defeated East Tennessee State 180 to 40 and Coastal Carolina 70 to 30, and fell to Cullowhee 60 to 30 and Virginia Tech 120 to 10 last Saturday, is also focused on not on building up the program this year but also next year as well.
“For right now this year, we are focused on strengthening our team, making sure we are a cohesive unit and making sure we have a base,” Nesbitt said. “Maybe next year, we might go more into leagues and other organizations, but right now we are just staying local and playing teams like CCU (Coastal Carolina University).”
Under a sweltering Saturday afternoon, which felt more like a July rather than September afternoon, which ordinarily might dampen the passion and intensity of some athletes, the players out on the field were running up and down the field with the same intensity seen in a soccer game.
Prepared for the grind which comes along with the game of Quidditch, the student athletes talked about how their practices have made them ready for the humid afternoon.
“We start off with around three laps around the pitch and then stretching,” Samuel Kowalski said. “After, we work on some passing drills, tackling, and some basic maneuvering.”
October’s Gold Rush Cup at UNC Charlotte will be the next tournament for Spartan Quidditch.
Until next month’s tournament, the team will practice at the rec fields on Monday and Wednesday from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Update (Sept. 26, 7:34 p.m)
Correction: The snitch is worth 30 points, not 50 and you cannot tackle the snitch. And Hunger Games was changed to Harry Potter.