Categorized | Sports

Quidditch needs to be taken seriously as a sport

Picture a sport involving full-speed tackles, offensive and defensive formations sketched out on dry-erase boards and constant sprints up and down a field, which are contested officially among colleges and universities in tournaments. All of these attributes apply to quidditch, one of The College of Wooster’s club sports.

Often, people who find out I play quidditch portray the sport as frou-frou, easy or only for fans of the Harry Potter books and movies. Although the series does represent the sport’s roots, portraying quidditch as a fictional game requiring no athletic skill does not provide an accurate depiction of the sport.

Quidditch deserves more respect as a sport because it functions similarly to most transition sports and creates an inclusive yet competitive environment.

Quidditch, like other transition sports, requires a high level of both physical and mental capability. The sport is full-contact, meaning that players can and do tackle each other. Thus, significant physical strength and knowledge of safe tackling practices are essential to playing quidditch well.

In addition, quidditch, like any more well-known transition sport, requires players to sprint across a field throughout the game and make split-second decisions about offensive and defensive tactics. Quidditch players must both work on their speed and learn a multitude of plays that they must execute at a moment’s notice.

Quidditch bears additional similarities to these more popular sports, with practices often adapting drills from basketball, football or lacrosse, and the on-the-fly substituting system bearing a strong resemblance to that of hockey. The attributes that quidditch shares with other sports make the games challenging yet rewarding to play and exciting to watch.

Second, quidditch provides an atmosphere that values both inclusivity and competition.

Quidditch creates a unique opportunity in the world of sports with its Title IV rule, which allows for people of all genders to play together. In addition to other stipulations, this rule requires the inclusion of multiple genders on the pitch by allowing “a maximum of four players” of the six who start a quidditch game “who identify as the same gender in active play on the field at the same time” prior to the entrance of seekers, and this maximum increases to five after the seekers enter the game. This rule creates an inclusive and empowering environment where people of widely varying body sizes and genders can find a competitive athletic outlet.

A common question from non-players regarding quidditch asks whether or not players fear for their own or their opponent’s safety when they are tackling with a size or gender differential. When on pitch, that concern rarely, if ever, comes into play, creating an environment where people of all genders have an equal position as athletes.

In addition, quidditch involves competition among colleges and universities of all three NCAA divisions, with a larger school size by no means guaranteeing a win. For example, Wooster Quidditch comes from the smallest institution of any USQ-official collegeiate team, yet has beaten teams from Division I schools, such as Indiana University, the University of Tennessee and the University of Toledo. Thus, quidditch creates a community of people of all genders from every size of college, as well as adult community teams, and also allows for parity among these groups of people common to few other sports.

Quidditch is a physically and mentally challenging sport that provides opportunities for competition to a wide variety of college athletes, and thus deserves more respect. Before making quidditch the butt of a joke, skeptics should give the sport a try by playing it themselves or watching it in person and evaluate its legitimacy for themselves. Specifically, they can attend our home tournament on Saturday, Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Residential Quad.

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