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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Quidditch caps season with club sport membership

Published: December 2, 2011
Section: Sports

It should come as no surprise that Brandeis, a school with a castle as a housing option, has a Quidditch team. For those who do not know what Quidditch is, it’s a sport made famous by the “Harry Potter” series. In the real world, Quidditch is “the fastest growing sport among colleges,” according to club leader Harrison Goldspiel ’13. Muggle Quidditch has a few differences compared to the version played in the world-famous books and movies. Since flying brooms don’t exist, players have to navigate the field holding their brooms between their legs. Since bludgers cannot fly around on their own, beaters carry them. In addition, getting hit by a bludger forces players to run to their goalposts before returning to the game. Another key change is that catching the snitch, which is a tennis ball usually wrapped in a sock and tied to a neutral runner, is worth only 30 points, thus preventing matches from becoming dependent on who catches the snitch.

This semester the Brandeis Wizengamot had numerous intercollegiate matches for the first time since being founded in the spring of 2010. The Wizengamot has faced Emerson, Tufts and Wellesley and got to play at Boston Commons. Part of the Wizengamot’s success and increased number of matches this season was thanks to “a consistent group of people including [both] veterans and [first-years],” said Theresa Fuller ’13.

The biggest event of the fall season amounted to participating in the fifth International Quidditch Association (IQA) World Cup in New York. Fuller called it “one of the first team-bonding experiences that everyone will always remember.” Goldspiel added that it felt good to be “one of the schools that’s a part of this growing movement.” The whole experience was described by Fuller as “magical.”

Aside from playing the game and bonding as a team, the World Cup was also a chance to connect with other teams to try to make plans for future matches. For example, the Wizengamot hope to attend the Flurrious Festival Cup in Buffalo, NY, the SBU Northeast tournament in Stonybrook.

One of the big things that will help the Wizengamot attend tournaments is its new status as a club sport. After meeting with Ben White, the recreation and aquatics director, the club had to show what Fuller listed as “intercollegiate competition, longevity [and] interest” to the Club Sports Council (CSC). White described the CSC as “a seven-member group of club sports leaders voted upon by each club. They’re responsible for new club acceptance, budgets, policies, discipline, etc.” After a presentation to the council, demonstrating Quidditch’s qualifications, the council voted 6-0 (one member was absent) to admit the Wizengamot to the club sports program. White added “both the council and I were very impressed with the leadership of the club, particularly such a young club on campus, and we expect that Quidditch will be an excellent addition to the club sports program.”

Being a club sport allows the club to “use the athletics vans. [Now we] don’t need volunteers with cars. [We can] get athletic fields rather than just Chapels [Field],” according to Fuller. Goldspiel added that, as a club sport, the team will “be able to get more equipment and storage space.” It also adds to the club’s positive image.

Goldspiel mentioned that “becoming a club sport shows the status of Quidditch at Brandeis; it’s real … If anyone still doesn’t believe that Quidditch is a real athletic game, I challenge you to come to practice and play against some of our experienced veterans.”