UMass Quidditch Team Hopes to Attract Harry Potter Fans and Athletes Alike with Summer Camp

The Harry Potter books and films have inspired many real world spillovers, including real-life wizarding schools and online quizzes that determine your magical house. But among the more surprisingly widespread are the leagues that have sprouted up to play the magical sport quidditch, which takes elements of handball, lacrosse, rugby, and dodgeball and brews them together with magical maneuvers on a flying broomstick.

UMass-Quidditch-1The University of Massachusetts Amherst, Smith College, Westfield State University, and others all have teams.

But one problem has arisen with the young (to the non-magical world) sport — some teams have been struggling with recruitment in recent years. A member of the UMass team, incoming junior Annierose Klingbeil, believes this is due to Harry Potter’s dwindling popularity.

For her, quidditch brings people together from different walks of life.

“It is a serious sport, especially when you get to the more competitive tournaments,” she said. “It is unique because it attracts a lot of different types of people. You have the people who grew up loving Harry Potter, who want to be on a Quidditch team because they love Harry Potter. And then you also have the sports people who want to play for the sport.”

But she and others hope to turn a new generation onto the sport.

Klingbeil and others on the UMass quidditch team will be running a summer programming event for children from ages 6 to 14 from August 21 to 25 at the UMass’ Boyden Fields from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’ll be a sports camp based around learning the game of quidditch that concludes with a day-long tournament on the final day of the camp.

UMass-Quidditch-2Matthew McCudden, a 21-year-old incoming senior at UMass Amherst, said he did not join because of an interest in Harry Potter. He became interested in the sport because of its athleticism. He’s been playing quidditch for three years and was introduced to the sport by a friend.

“At first I kind of laughed it off. ‘No, it’s ridiculous. It’s just going to be a bunch of unathletic nerds running around with a broom between their legs.’ But [my friend] was persistent and I figured I’d give it a try my sophomore year and fell in love with the game. I found it to be fast paced. It was physical. It was a lot of fun to play. There’s such a great social aspect to it and I had so much fun hanging out with the team on a whole,” he said.

There are big differences between how quidditch is played in the books as opposed to how the game is played as a real sport, McCudden said. The balls are the same — the quaffle for scoring, the bludgers for hitting players and taking them out of play temporarily, and the golden snitch as a ball to capture that ends the game. However, players don’t play with wooden broomsticks — too many splinters! Instead they use three-quarter inch plastic piping as prop brooms.

“You line up with your teammates right in front of your hoops and all the balls are placed on the centerline of the field,” he explained. “And so then, the referee will yell, ‘Brooms up’ and that’s when everybody runs toward the middle.”

There are three chasers who score goals worth 10 points each with the quaffle — a volleyball. Players can advance down the field by running with it, passing the quaffle to a teammate, or kicking it. Each team has a keeper who defends three hoops, one small, one medium, and one tall. Two beaters use dodgeballs — aka bludgers — to disrupt the game by knocking out other players. Any player hit by a bludger is out of play until they touch their own goals. Each team has a seeker who attempts to catch the snitch runner. The snitch is worth 30 points and capturing it ends the game, according to the rules of the game posted online by usquidditch.org.

McCudden, a beater on the team, said the snitch is typically released 18 minutes into the game.

UMass-Quidditch-4

Klingbeil, a chaser, and one of the UMass quidditch team’s three captains, said UMass’ quidditch team belongs to the Northeast division of quidditch, which is played nationally and internationally. There are about 40 teams that compete against one another in the Northeast.

She said her team belongs to the Southern New England Quidditch Conference and through that organization they compete regularly against 10 teams and typically play four to five games each semester.

“Three teams come to each game and you play each team twice,” Klingbeil said.

Each game typically lasts about 30 to 45 minutes and there can be anywhere from 15 to 30 people on a time.

For more information about UMass Quidditch visit http://www.umassamherst.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/quidditchclub. To register for the summer program visit http://www.tinyurl.com/umass-quid.

Chris Goudreau can be reached at cgoudreau@valleyadvocate.com.

Video Game Night and Whedon Verse Marathon

This weekend, UMass Quidditch held its first video game night of the semester on Friday followed by a Whedon Verse marathon on Saturday. During the Video Game night a number of people participated in Pokemon Stadium mini games,  which our very own President Graham Walsh manage to dominated during one of the rounds, as well as some Bomberman 64  and some Pokemon Battles, in which Norman Pan took complete charge and eliminated all of his opponents. Video game night also included some games of Catch a Phrase and battleship, not to mention 3 large pizzas. It was truly a very successful and enjoyable night in the basement of Thatcher.

During the Whedon Verse marathon, we got to watch a series of great series written by Joss Whedon, which included Firefly, Buffy and Angel. As each episode ended people were left with a large variety of feelings. Some episodes were very intense and left you hanging on every word,  while others had you saying “what the fuck?” for most of it, but no matter what show we were watching, it always left us wanting to see more. This was truly a night to remember and I personally cannot wait for what the Avenger’s build up day has to offer on the 22nd.

First Practice

Our first practice of the year will be this Wednesday from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the grass field behind Totman gym. If you don’t know where that is meet in front of the Student Union at 4:40 pm and you will be ferried there. It is also good to remember to show up at least 15 minutes before practice in order to get ready. If you think that you won’t make it to the Student Union in time to be ferried look at the map bellow for the location:

 

See you all there!!!

Summer Updates!!!

We will be inducting our first member into the UMASS Quidditch Hall of Fame and Retiring a Jersey Number Permanently which will be revealed at the first practice. All New Quidditch Member Will Be Subjeted To A Tri Wizard Tournament! Feel free to message our President Graham Walsh via Facebook or shoot him an e-mail with any ideas. Also, hence forth, all members will be sorted into to houses with each house competing for the house cup! At the end of the semester the house with the most points will win fabulous prizes!

P.S.: We will announce here and on Facebook when we decide when our first practice will happen.

Mischief Managed

Changes to the Alumni Page

Hi Guys!

Today, I decided to make some changes to our Alumni page. Now you can select the graduation year of the alumni to find a list of the Alumni you want to see. I also updated the 2012 alumni class page to include our graduates from this year and changed the profile of those graduates to match the profiles of other alumni. Make sure to check it out!

-Marcelo Portugal                                                                                                                        Webmaster 2012-2013

Back to origins part 2!

Today, I was looking through some old pictures on Facebook again and found an album by our very own Alumni Chung Kim with pictures from our very first appearance ever at a Quidditch World Cup back in 2008 when the team had just started. So if you are interested in seeing more of our roots make sure to go check out our media page to see this new unearthed album!

Also, I recently created player profiles for four of our alumni, Alexander Lee Silber, Dave Francis, Kristina Moy and Matt Drake. Make sure to check those out as well.

-Marcelo Portugal                                                                                                                        Webmaster 2012-2013

Back to Origins!

Hey Guys,

Today, I was looking through Facebook and found some old pictures taken by Ariel Chu of our humble beginnings. So I added two more albums to our media page, one with pictures from World Cup III and one with pictures from a Pre-game party that we had before it. So make sure to go check it out!

-Marcelo Portugal                                                                                                                           Webmaster 2012-2013