Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
On Wednesday, an interest meeting was held for a prospective new Swarthmore sports team: Quidditch. Quidditch, of course, is the sport played on flying brooms in the Harry Potter series. The non-fictional version of Quidditch is played in a field, with players running around holding brooms.
Co-founders Joan O’Bryan ‘13 and Tori Barber ’13 showcased videos and information about Quidditch as a sport on a projector to the enthusiastic crowd of about 15. A third co-founder, Fernando Maldonado ‘13, was not present. Word had evidently gotten out to others on Kohlberg Second at the time, as bystanders would often stop in the open door, grinning.
The videos consisted of a stylized MTV commercial about Quidditch, and a CBS News Report, seen below:
Quidditch is played with teams of 7, with the positions of beater, seeker, chaser and keeper. The rules are quite similar to those found in the Harry Potter books. Chasers run around the field trying to score in one of 3 adjacent goals for each team. Beaters have some kind of ball that they may throw at opposing team members. The keeper functions as a goalie, essentially, while the seeker chases the Golden Snitch. In nonfictional Quidditch, the Snitch is usually a cross-country runner that is allowed to run around an area larger than the playing field. “If you know a runner who would want to be the Snitch, ask them,” O’Bryan said to the crowd. O’Bryan also said she has the official rulebook for Quidditch, for those looking to read more in depth about how to play.
As for equipment, O’Bryan and Barber envisioned a somewhat rag-tag start for any Swarthmore team. The group is working on a charter but has not, as of yet, received any funding. O’Bryan said that the official brooms cost around $80, so Swarthmore’s players would use “lacrosse sticks or something” at first. Additionally, goals would be created by duct taping hula hoops to hurdles.
The team would also not start out in a particularly competitive context, with O’Bryan envisioning “mostly scrimmages” at first. However, if practices were well enough attended and received, games against other colleges could start “maybe next semester even.” Nearby colleges with teams that Swarthmore could theoretically play include Chestnut Hill and Princeton. The Intercollegiate Quidditch Association currently includes 226 teams, though they differ in their degrees of officiality.
Excitement in the room was clearly high, as discussion began to turn toward creating competing Houses within Swarthmore and possible victory celebrations involving Butterbeer (both aspects being from the Potter books). O’Bryan urged people not to get ahead of themselves, saying “we haven’t even had our first practice yet.”
An email list was created at the meeting to keep people updated on the team. Those interested in joining should contact O’Bryan (jobryan1), Barber (vbarber1), or Maldonado (fmaldon1).