By Nico Farrell
Inspired by the fictional soaring sport of the Harry Potter series, the real-world version of quidditch combines running, dodging, and blocking to create a game that draws players at Lewis & Clark and at college campuses across the country.
The LC Quidditch Club is led by RuthMabel Boytz ’20. “A lot of people are really excited when they hear about it,” Boytz said. “People think that it’s kind of just a weird, quirky LC thing but then I tell them that lots of other schools have teams, and then they’re like ‘oh, wow, this is actually a nationwide thing.’”
Originally formed during Fall 2016, the club has grown in the past two semesters, partly by gathering players at the Pio Fair, where curiosity about the rules frequently piques students’ interest.
“People come up to me and ask how it works,” Boytz said. “And that’s how we get them to join the club.”
This sense of fascination was echoed by Sunny Broadhead ’22, who joined this semester after learning about the club at the Pio Fair.
“I read the Harry Potter books when I was a kid, and I have a lot of friends who are Potterheads,” Broadhead said. “The second I told them we have a quidditch club, they were like ‘oh my god, that’s awesome, you have to go, tell us how it is,’ so it was partly out of obligation to them and also curiosity, because I didn’t know how it was going to work.”
This curiosity goes beyond long-time fans of the fictional books. Boytz said that even players who aren’t familiar with Harry Potter have fun with quidditch, recalling a friend who joined despite being unfamiliar with its wizardly inspiration.
“I just said it’s like dodgeball, and he picked it up really quick,” Boytz said. Well, dodgeball with brooms, that is.
Emma Campbell ’20, who started the team along with Boytz, reflected on how the game translates into real life.
“It’s hard to picture a sport that only exists in books, but it is kind of how I thought it would be,” Campbell said. “It’s very silly, which is good. Silly but fun.”
On a full team, three players are Chasers. In this position, they pass and intercept the quaffle, which is a slightly deflated volleyball, and score points by throwing it through the hoops. One player is a Keeper, who blocks these shots to guard the hoops. Two players are Beaters, who can throw dodgeballs, called bludgers, at members of the other team, forcing them to drop the quaffle or other bludgers and run back to their team’s hoop before getting back in play.
The Snitch, which in the Harry Potter universe is a small, golden, winged ball that flies through the pitch on its own, is represented by a player who runs to avoid each team’s Seeker, dodging around other players while the rest of the game plays on.
“There’s a perceived weird factor, but kind of an endearing weird factor, because people are like, ‘this is going to be awesome,’” Boytz said. “It’s so odd that you have to be able to laugh at yourself and have a good time.”
LC Quidditch Club meets Fridays at 4 p.m. on the Great Plat Field, immediately below the reflecting pool. New players at any level of experience are welcome at any game.