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Friday, February 26, 2021

Western Wyverns bring quidditch to muggles

By Hailey Palmer

Magic and flying isn’t involved, but that doesn’t stop the Western Wyverns from running across the Communications Facility lawn, colliding with each other and throwing their versions of quaffles and bludgers at each other.

The Western Wyverns play Quidditch, the game made popular by the Harry Potter series. Minus the magic, of course.

“We don’t actually fly,” sophomore team member Caneida Andrews said. “That’s pretty much the only difference.”

Along with flying, the other difference between the two versions of the game is the equipment used.

“It’s a full-contact sport so there is tackling involved, which is also a key component of the game at times.”

Caneida Andrews 

Deflated volleyballs and dodgeballs take the place of quaffles and bludgers, magical objects used in the films and books. Players throw volleyballs through the opposing team’s hoops to score, and the dodgeballs at opposing players to slow their advance. The golden snitch, a small, evasive flying ball in the series, is a referee wearing yellow or another bright color.

Broomsticks are included, as players must be holding one between their legs at all times.

Quidditch club practices on Communications lawn. // Photo by Alex Powell
Quidditch club practices on Communications lawn. // Photo by Alex Powell

Anyone who has seen the Harry Potter movies or read the books knows the sport of Quidditch is a physical and contact sport where people are running into each other. The version of the game is no different.

“It’s a full-contact sport so there is tackling involved, which is also a key component of the game at times,” Andrews said.

The game does get physical so there are rules in place, such as players only being able to tackle with one arm.

“We take safety pretty seriously, but it does get kind of rough,” Abe Nurkiewicz said, the club’s vice president.

Quidditch uses elements of strategy tailored to the game itself, but aspects of other sports are also involved. The goal of the game is to prevent the opposing team from scoring through your hoops while avoiding being hit by the other team. Elements of rugby, dodgeball, basketball and soccer are all included.

“If you actually look at it, there’s a lot more detail than anybody really expects and that adds a level of play to the game,” senior team member Lynne Nowak said.

The Wyverns are a part of  United States Quidditch, an organization which serves as the governing body for the teams who compete.

The team is open to anyone on campus. Open practices are held every Sunday, as well as an additional practice Thursday for those serious about the sport.

“We are a competitive team, but also a club, so we have extra practices for people who are serious about competing,” Nowak said.

For competitive play, the team’s schedule depends on tournaments hosted around the area and surrounding states. They play teams from places including Seattle, Oregon and Canada. Smaller events with only one other team competing are also held.

The season typically lasts from the start of the school year to April, when the national tournament is held, Nurkiewicz said.

There is more to Quidditch than just the club. Outside of the club and their games, the team fosters a community that works hard to be inclusive to everyone, Andrew said.

“The group of people you meet is so awesome,” Andrews said. “These guys are fun.”

The team is hosting a tournament Saturday, Jan. 28 at Mount Vernon High School.

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