Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Wingardium Leviosa: quidditch takes on new heights


On a windy, cloudless Sunday, a group of UTSA students attached six large hula-hoops to PVC pipes on each side of a grassy field.

The hoops of these tall structures are their goals for today’s quidditch practice. Roadrunner Quidditch is a team of energetic and enthusiastic UTSA community members of different backgrounds who have come together to play one of the newest and fastest growing sports in the United States.

Quidditch is no longer a fictional sport reserved for wizards on flying broomsticks. The co-ed sport was made popular by author J.K. Rowling in her acclaimed series, Harry Potter, and was adapted for ground play by Middlebury College in 2005. The team is in its second semester at UTSA as Roadrunner Quidditch.

Quidditch is considered a full contact sport, but in order to play all players must hold a broomstick between their legs, leaving them with only one free hand to pass, score and pummel opposing players with balls called bludgers.

Christian Seth, a kinesiology major who is sitting out to recover from a quidditch related injury, yells out to a player during their regular drills, “Don’t say you’re sorry! Tackle him!” while two other players shout out at the same player to “get angry!”

The team’s co-captain and keeper, Craig Garrison, joined Roadrunner Quidditch as soon as it was formed.

“I had a couple of friends that were playing already and I had already seen some videos of people playing quidditch. I played in the summer last year with the UT Austin team and I had a blast.

It seemed like a sport that I was athletic enough to play and every one was having a good time. They were all very friendly,” he says.

The sport combines aspects of rugby, soccer and even dodgeball. There are three types of balls implemented—a quaffle, three bludgers and a snitch.

Each team consists of seven players—three chasers, two beaters, one keeper and one seeker.

In the world of mortal quidditch, the snitch is simply a fast and cunning runner who typically carries a tennis ball in a yellow sock attached to the back of his or her shorts, often resembling a tail. A seeker of either team must successfully snatch the snitch, earning 30 points for their team and ending the game. The snitch is just another touch of whimsy in the game as he or she taunts players and entertains fans.

Learning the sport has introduced many challenges to new Roadrunner Quidditch players. Some players say that people are ultimately surprised with how difficult and rough the game can be. Seth says the hardest part of learning the game is getting accustomed to the broomstick.

“My first day out here I would just fall. It was like a little kid learning how to walk,” he says.

Established during the fall 2012 semester, Roadrunner Quidditch currently competes as a community team. Last October, the team became a part of over 800 official quidditch teams in the International Quidditch Association (IQA). Since 2005, the IQA has hosted the Quidditch World Cup every year, where collegiate teams from across the U.S., and from a few other countries, have competed. This month Roadrunner Quidditch will compete in the World Cup in Kissimmee, Fla.

Some quidditch players like the sport because of Harry Potter, while others like it simply because of the athletics. Nevertheless, the spirit of Harry Potter shows during the Quidditch World Cup.

“Each game will have a couple of improv comedians commentating. It’s competitive, but fun and ridiculous at the same time,” says Seth.

Harry Potter and quidditch fans arrive dressed in costume and kids play their version of the sport called Kidditch. The World Cup also features live bands, owls and even butterbeer.

The team’s president, JD Beck, says, “The main thing we want to do is start advertising on campus.” The team became an official UTSA organization on March 15, and as of April 7, the team is now a club sport on campus.

As a UTSA organization, they now have permission to use the UTSA logo and can start advertising on campus to recruit new players. As a club sport, they also benefit from practicing on the fields at the Main Campus Rec Center.

Roadrunner Quidditch captain and chaser Luke Langlinais says, “We want to eventually have two teams: an A and a B team. We’ll have the UTSA Quidditch team and then

Roadrunner Quidditch will be the B team.” Official IQA rules authorize a maximum of 21 players on one team roster, so breaking up into two teams will allow other players, UTSA alumni or other community members, to be a part of the sport.

Garrison says, “I get asked the question a lot: ‘Do you fly?’ I usually tell them that it feels like I’m flying.”

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