Welcome to Quidditch. After proclaiming accio and mounting your broom, the first question you are asked as you enquire into the rules is: ‘have you read the books?’. If yes, it is exactly the same as J.K. Rowling’s imaginative sport minus the exhilarating heights. If the answer is no, it is a combination of dodgeball, netball and rugby (yes, quidditch is full contact and mucky). It is also worth noting that our beloved captain Katie confesses to have never watched the movies (she possibly has read ‘some of the books’…). Quidditch is accessible to all levels of Harry Potter knowledge, promotes a safe environment for all genders; the latest tournament even introduced 8 silly freshers to the sport, out of our team of 18 merry muggles.
Using the Floo Network and other means of transportation, we travelled to the beautiful country grounds of Oxford. We were set to compete against the UK’s southern teams for the title of ‘Regional Champion’, as well as fighting to earn a place at the European Qualifying Tournament and the British Quidditch Cup 2020. The first morning ordeal began by vigorously being shaken at 6am by the coach with whispers of ‘taxi, 10 minutes’ fluttering around the dorm room. After a rather rushed changing, brushing and eating spree we yawned our way over to the Oxford grounds. Our stiff boots crunched on the frost scraped grass; while the sun rose between our quidditch goal-posts, an edge of magical emotion convened on our already apprehensive, and rather freezing spirit.
The game is a fast-paced, action-packed frenzy
As a Chaser, it is difficult for me to attempt to explain all of the rules when my own mindset consists of ‘pick ball up’, ‘run’ and ‘put ball into the circle hoops’. The game is a fast-paced, action-packed frenzy, with thinking-time being an unaffordable luxury. However, if ever caught in a day-dream, your watchful substitutes will deliver you a screaming spoonful of tough-love to mark the player who has sneakily crept behind you. Combining the reality of our severely inexperienced ‘fresh’ team, with the intricacies of barely brushed upon manoeuvres, you would expect utter chaos to grip our ranks. However, we thrived.
Interspersed within our line-up were experienced role-models who gave us strong, calculated orders with which we were determined to follow. Bolstered by transcendent warm-ups, our large, energetic team gave no mercy to the panting opposition. We frequently capitalised on unlimited substitutions and unnerved our competitors by ferociously sounding the war-cry – ‘SUB IN TWOOO!’. Moreover, our burly, bunch, encompassed stubborn grit and talent. Louis retained his incredible Golden Snitch catching record as well as partnering up with Vlad to intimidate and spell-bind the opposition with their wavy curls. We owe our success to the fiery will of every single player to constantly mark and get stuck-in including Charlotte who coined her first yellow card with her constant determination for every last drop of possession.
Towards the end of the competition, we had successfully qualified for the British Quidditch Cup and were held three games in hand with the chance of making Europe! In each of the final three fixtures, we desperately fought with experienced teams to astonishingly narrow contests. However, this unfortunately left each tight fixture to the mercy and tense fortunes of the Golden Snitch… The pain and agony built up as every snitch was caught against us creating an empty gut-wrenching feeling of overpaid tough luck. Nevertheless, these exploits did not lead to complete demoralisation and our team spirit and camaraderie intensified after each of the three losses. The team’s backbone, Captain Katie, warmed our hearts with her inspiring speeches, motivating us with tear stained cheeks and raw passion embodied in our crowning roar of ‘AIM LOW…GO BALLS DEEP!’.
Even on my worst days, the dark clouds seem to dissipate with each aching sprint
While ‘on paper’, quidditch may seem like a silly past-time carried out by weird individuals… actually, that is exactly what it means to me and it’s absolutely wonderful. However, the competitive sport does require hardy athleticism, has many rules and tactics which when deployed successfully can dictate the flow of the game. Moreover, since Quidditch is entwined within the Harry Potter society, you’re able to inexpensively exercise and participate in a team sport. This allows overdraft survivors like myself to participate in an open, friendly and downright exhausting sport without drowning in the ridiculously overpriced university sporting fees. Exercise should be accessible to all members of society and is absolutely crucial for wellbeing, confidence and mental health. Even on my worst days, the dark clouds seem to dissipate with each aching sprint, rejuvenating smile and terrible pun deployed heartily by our group of close-knit, kind-hearted and constantly grinning muggles.
A final message from the Quidditch Club:
Training times: Every Wednesday and Saturday we meet on the Piazza at 1:30. Please come along!
For more information our Facebook Page is ‘Warwick Quidditch Club’ –https://www.facebook.com/warwickqc/