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The Wyverns are bringing magic to Western

WWU Quidditch team, the Wyverns, have resumed in-person practices

The 2020 Western Washington University Wyverns Quidditch team poses for a photo while hosting a home tournament. The team has recently resumed in-person practices for the 2021-22 school year. // Photo courtesy of Rylan MacDonald

If you’re strolling near the Communications Facility lawn on a Sunday afternoon and see some magic happening, fear not! That’s just the Wyverns Quidditch team practicing amongst muggles.

Are you looking for a sport to play at Western Washington University? Do you have an interest in Harry Potter? Well, the Western’s Wyverns Quidditch team may be right for you.

Quidditch is played with four different positions, Wyverns Vice President and Hufflepuff Rylan MacDonald said.

First, there are the chasers who have a ball called a quaffle and are trying to score through one of the three hoops at the end of the field.

Then there are the keepers guarding the opposing teams’ hoops that chasers are attempting to score on.

The beaters have a rubber ball called a bludger they throw at the opposing team to knock them off their game.

Lastly, there is a position called the seeker who chases a ball called the snitch. There is one seeker on each team.

The biggest difference between the Harry Potter version of Quidditch and the version teams like the Wyverns play is how the snitch works, Wyverns President and Hufflepuff Jeffrey Hayes said. 

The seekers don’t play until the end of the game when a referee runs onto the field wearing a pair of shorts that have a bag with a velcroed tennis ball on the back. This tennis ball is the snitch.

The game can only end when one of the seekers from either team rips off the ball from the referee’s shorts. 

Brooms may not fly up in the air in this version of Quidditch, but players do play with a PVC pipe in between their legs with one hand free to score points or block the opponents from scoring. 

Quidditch has come to the muggle world at Western in the last six years. Sadly, even the Quidditch world was affected by COVID-19 and the Wyverns have only just now resumed practices. 

Last year the team couldn’t meet in person but did meet virtually.

“We would have virtual game nights with our groups and play things like Among Us,” MacDonald said. “It was good recruitment for us.”

The team which once consisted of 12 members, now has only three, Hayes said.

The team isn’t big enough to compete in any games this year because a minimum of seven players is required to play for each team at a time, MacDonald said. 

Instead of competing, the Wyverns are focusing on running, passing, shooting and blocking drills at practice, Hayes said.

At New York University, the NYU Thunder Quidditch team is unable to compete or meet in person, Thunder President and Ravenclaw Clara Plutzer said. 

Thunder was able to meet the first two weeks of school before NYU put a pause on performance-based clubs because of COVID-19. 

“It’s been hard to foster a community without actually being able to meet in person,” Plutzer said.

Similar to the Wyverns, last year the Thunder team met virtually to play games and do trivia together.

NYU Thunder is making plans to return by the spring season.

The Wyverns continue to practice on the Comm lawn every Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

No prior athletic experience is needed to join the team, MacDonald said.

“We’re very open to any and all skill levels,” MacDonald said. “The only thing I tell people is: just know you aren’t going to go up in the air.”

The team doesn’t have enough members to compete this year, but they hope to get more people, so they will be able to get back into competitions by next year. 

“Even though we’ve only had a few people so far, I think we’re going to get more at the next practice,” Hayes said. “We’re all just in it to have fun and compete in a fairly light-hearted manner.”


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