By Travis Taylor
When you think about sports, equipment, cleats, water bottles and sweatbands all come to mind.
For the Baylor Quidditch team, broomsticks are just as important as jerseys and shorts.
Born from a number of different sports, Baylor Quidditch has grown to a team of more than 25 players.
Keller junior Stuart Miller, a member of the team, said it’s hard to decide what sports have influenced Quidditch the most.
“It’s a combination of dodge ball, rugby, track and lacrosse,” Miller said. “Pretty much any sport is just thrown in there.”
Quidditch is a sport that was created from the imagination of J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter book series. Usually confined to the world of fictional wizards and witches, “Muggle,” a term meaning “non-magic,” was adapted into a sport that is now an international organized association.
According to the International Quidditch Association, the first Muggle Quidditch match was played in Middlebury, Vt., on Oct. 9, 2005. It took two years for the first intercollegiate match to be played between Middlebury College and Vassar College, dubbed the “First Official World Cup.” By 2009, the third annual World Cup involved 21 college teams playing in front of 2,000 spectators.
Today, Quidditch is a sport played in more than 40 countries with more than 1,000 registered teams. Texas has more than 40 teams, the majority of which come from college campuses around the state.
Keller junior Paul Williard, president of Baylor Quidditch, said the sport is growing at Baylor as well.
“As long as the future leaders of Baylor Quidditch see this as an organization that really stands out to students, I think it will continue to grow and be successful,” Williard said.
Williard said Quidditch offers a unique blend of sports ranging from dodge ball to rugby, and that “if you get out there you better put on a mouthpiece.”
“Really we’ve seen a lot of injuries since this whole thing started,” Williard said.
Baylor Quidditch competes in a number of tournaments, including a competition at Texas State University on Saturday. The Baylor Quidditch team placed second in the Texas State tournament, beating the University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University.
Azle sophomore Reed Marchman said the Baylor Quidditch team is working hard to be one of the more competitive teams in the nation.
“After the last tournament, we have a lot of confidence,” Marchman said. “We didn’t really know what kind of team we were.”
Cypress junior Chris Rhodes said that tournaments can bring out a lot of competition among the players.
“They made us tone it down because it gets really intense and people really get into it,” Rhodes said regarding a game against Texas A&M University during their past tournament.
Quidditch is played with all players mounted on broom-like objects, ranging from vacuum hose extensions to pieces of bamboo. Players must remain on their brooms throughout the game. There are seven players from each team on the field at a time. Three of the players are called chasers, whose goal is to throw a volleyball (called a quaffle) into one of three hoops, which are stationed on either side of the field. The hoops are vertical PVC pipes with hula-hoops clamped on top of them. Each goal is worth 10 points. Two players, called beaters, serve as a type of defense, using dodge balls, or bludgers, to hit opposing players, who must retreat back to their side of the field if they are struck. A keeper serves as a goalie to guard the hoops.
A seventh player, the seeker, plays a different game from the rest of the team. The seeker’s responsibility is to catch the “snitch”, a neutral player dressed in yellow, who has a has a yellow ball hanging from their belt. When the seeker successfully removes the ball, the seeker’s team is awarded 30 points and the match ends. The team with the most points after the seeker catches the snitch is the winner.
Grapevine junior Montgomery Turner-Little said that the sport draws a fair amount of attention.
“We do get people to stop and watch every now and then,” Turner-Little said.
Beissy Sandoval, a junior from Kaufman, said the competition is fierce at tournaments.
“You can’t really explain how competitive it is,” said Sandoval. “You have to see it.”
Sandoval said tryouts for the team will be held at the beginning of the 2013 spring semester.
Baylor Quidditch currently fields two teams: an A team and a B team. Practices are held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday on the Minglewood Bowl by Brooks Flats. Baylor Quidditch also hosts games on Sunday at 4 p.m. that are free and open to everyone. The team’s next tournament is at Kansas University from Nov. 17-18.