Marisa Delgado/The Paisano
The referee declares “brooms up;” it’s the beginning of a quidditch match and the UTSA Club Quidditch team cheers, “Birds up!”
Quidditch has a unique appeal that not only attracts Potterheads but also catches the interest of serious athletes. “You can tell who is there for Harry Potter and who is there for the sport,” said the UTSA Club Quidditch secretary, Ashley Cuevas.
The UTSA Club Quidditch team became an official club sport in spring 2013. Excited about the growing popularity of the sport, freshman keeper, Austin Villejo said, “It’s not what you would expect. You have to come and see it for yourself!”
Witches and wizards, who ride brooms and attempt to get the quaffle ball through one of three hoops, play the fictional Harry Potter version of the game in the air.
The muggle – non-magic – version of quidditch is a full-contact, coed sport that combines aspects of dodgeball, rugby, soccer and wrestling with PVC pipes used as brooms and goal hoops.
Seven players from each team must be on the field at all times – two of which must be female. The players consist of one keeper who is allowed to score and acts as a goalie, two beaters who use the “bludgers” (dodge balls) as the team’s defense, three chasers who attempt to score by getting the “quaffle” (volleyball) through any of the three hoops and one seeker who tries to catch the elusive, game-ending “snitch” (tennis ball).
“Sometimes we will have games at parks or at schools; people will see us and literally stop what they are doing, come sit down and end up watching multiple games,” said Cuevas.
Quidditch is a spectator sport that always keeps the viewer enticed, likely because the players incorporate athletic aspects while running with a “broom” between their legs.
There are four balls on the field at all times, so the audience often gets lost in the magic of the game. Each match lasts about 30 minutes with no halftime or time-outs, and the players are constantly running to avoid bludgers and being tackled.
“I did not expect quidditch to be as physical as other sports,” stated Villejo, “but it combines the endurance of track, the agility of basketball and the strength and defense of football.”
The athletic intensity of quidditch is often underestimated because of its association with a children’s series. “Basically anyone can get tackled at any time. It’s a free for all,” said Cuevas, who, as a beater, is accustomed to intense contact.
One of the team’s favorite chants, “Snitches get stitches,” gives quidditch novices a glimpse of the full-contact nature of the sport.
The UTSA Club Quidditch team is preparing to start “Sunday Funday,” which will welcome everyone to play on campus and experience quidditch firsthand.
“We’re pretty competitive. Our team hits hard. We want to win,” revealed Cuevas. “We started implementing conditioning at our practices to make us even stronger.”
The team practices every Tuesday and Thursday in preparation for this year’s regional tournament. Regionals will be held in San Marcos, Feb. 21 – 22, and is open to the public.
Whether you love Harry Potter or you just love the thrill of intense athletic display, playing or watching a quidditch match is for you.
Event, fundraising and tournament updates can be found on the team’s Twitter page: @UTSAQuidditch.