Good news for Harry Potter fans: Simon Fraser University (SFU) is the second post-secondary institution in the Lower Mainland that has formed a Quidditch sports club.
SFU’s Quidditch team was formed earlier this year – about 15 years after the first-ever Harry Potter book was published.
Club founder Christine Konrad said a team wasn’t formed until now because no one took the initiative to apply to SFU Recreation to start the team.
Konrad said she thought of starting a Quidditch team while watching a Quidditch game.
“I watched a UBC-UVic game about two years ago, and I thought, ‘This looks awesome! Why doesn’t SFU have a team?…Well, let’s get SFU a team!’”
But Konrad had missed the application deadline.
“The previous September I wanted to get it up running, but in September I was like, ‘Oh hey, I want to get a club started!’ [SFU Recreation] said, ‘Oh, well, you have to apply in March’…So that’s why we didn’t get one last year.”
The club has been practicing Monday and Friday evenings since September.
They played in their first tournament on Saturday.
Konrad said there are “a lot of hoops to jump through” when getting a club started (see SFU Recreation’s New Sport’s Club Application).
Since this is the Quidditch team’s first year, they’re not receiving any funding from SFU Recreation, but if the club is a success this year, they will receive some funding in the years to come.
Konrad said that SFU Recreation might contribute some money to the club in the future, if they approve the team’s expenses and that sort of thing, but the Quidditch team would have to charge club membership fees and do some fundraising to raise money to meet its portion of the club’s funds.
In the meantime, SFU Recreation is providing the Quidditch Sports Club with both practice and storage space.
“We get to use the facilities, like [Terry] Fox Field, and we’ve got storage space and that sort of thing, so SFU Rec’s providing [that] for us. But next year we’d still have to do some of our fundraising,” Konrad said.
The game’s rules are similar to those in the Harry Potter books.
“A lot of it’s the same… except that we’re not flying! You’re throwing a volleyball around, and that’s your quaffle; you’re trying to score it through the three hoops; and then you’ve got dodgeballs for bludgers. If you get hit by those, you’re knocked off your broom. And then for the snitch… basically we have somebody with a sock tucked into their pants, running around; if you [have] grabbed the sock, you’ve caught the snitch.”
The snitch and seekers run off in the campus sometimes.
“He can ride a bike; He can be hiding in a room; He can throw water balloons at people; and he can disguise himself,” said Quidditch Club member and Chaser Tesicca Truong.
“You might not see them for 10 minutes at a time,” said Tommy Berde, Quidditch Club member and another Chaser. “They can actually catch the snitch and take a minute or two to come back to the field, and you’ll never know what happened.”
He added that any twists that the snitch and seekers plan has to be approved by the referee.
Because of this twist, there’s no time limit in Quidditch games.
The game ends when the snitch has been caught.
“It’s just more serious of a sport than you’d think,” said Konrad. “It’s full contact; people are tackling each other; it’s very athletic, and that’s all in the fun.”
“I really love SFU Quidditch, because it’s different,” said Truong. “It’s also really awesome seeing how fast we’re learning and improving… we’re tackle training; we’re doing really focused drills, so it’s less of a scrimmage, which was really, really fun, but I feel that this is gonna help us get a lot better.”
Berde said the game isn’t too competitive.
“The sport is actually a lot of fun. It’s a bit like handball, combined with dodgeball, combined with a game of tag… and it’s full contact, which I did not expect… it’s a very interesting sport, and I’m surprised more people [don’t] play,” he said.
Image: SFU Quidditch’s Twitter feed