Quidditch craze continues to grow on college campuses

BU’s Max Havlin seizes the “quaffle” during a World Cup V Quidditch match at Randall's Island Park in New York.

The evolving game of Quidditch, best known for its ensorcelling action sequences in the “Harry Potter” series, is kicking off its spring season.

It isn’t just a bunch of Potter fanatics on brooms, donning capes, bouncing a ball around, however. From tackles to tosses, this full-on physical sport has a big following in Boston and beyond.

“It can be a little bit dangerous,” said Boston University senior Kedzie Teller. “You have people who hit cheap and hit hard.”

Captain of BU’s Quidditch team, Teller has been playing the sport for three years to stay active following a brief run on the school’s track team his freshman year. In his time on the field, Teller said he has seen his fair share of physical follies between players.

“When I describe what sports it’s most similar to, I say rugby, handball and dodge ball,” said Teller. “Basically, you have to learn how to tackle with a broom.”

Teller was recently one of three students from BU nominated to attend the 2012 Olympics in London representing Team USA.

Since its inception in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont, the sport of Quidditch has grown rapidly, bringing its “magic” to campuses across the commonwealth.

Tufts University currently ranks fifth regionally in Quidditch, while Harvard University and Emerson College are recognized as the 33rd and 49th teams, respectively, by the International Quidditch Association.

“It’s a lot of physical play,” said Allison Gillette, commissioner of Emerson’s Quidditch league. “It’s becoming a very attractive sport because it includes everything. You have to run constantly and you have to be strong.”

Eric Wahl and Matt Lowe, also Emerson students, even brought fame to the once-fabled sport by launching its official athletic apparel company. The duo dishes out equipment for the IQA, the governing body for the newfound sport.

Learn the lingo

Chasers: There are three. Their job is to get the quaffle, a volleyball, passed around the field, into one
of the opponents’ three hoops.
  
Keeper: Like a goaltender, they guard the three hoops, but can also act as a fourth Chaser.
   
Beaters: They handle bludgers (a kickball/dodgeball) and use them to attack the other team. There are three bludgers on the field at all times.
   
Snitch: A nonpartisan athlete dressed in yellow/gold who has a ball attached to their back via an athletic sock.
   
Seeker:
Tasked with catch “the snitch” without tackling.

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear


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