Quidditch for Muggles at the U


(Photo Courtesy of Edgar Pavlovsky)

(Photo Courtesy of Edgar Pavlovsky)
(Photo Courtesy of Edgar Pavlovsky)

Running across a field with brooms between their knees, the Utah Quidditch teams are taking part in one of the hippest, growing trends in the sports world.
Made famous by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book series, Quidditch has found its way out of the pages of fiction and onto the field.
The U started its first Quidditch team in 2010 under the name the Crimson Fliers. Due to growing interest, the team expanded into two teams: the Crimson Fliers and the Crimson Elite. Both teams are under the umbrella of Utah Quidditch. The Crimson Elite is a traveling, competitive team, while the Crimson Fliers travel occasionally but are more recreational.
The Quidditch tournaments in the Harry Potter series are filled with competitors flying through the air, throwing different-sized balls through hoops while the seeker searches for the golden snitch. The Quidditch that takes place on the fields here in Utah and around the country is similar, except for the flying aspect.
Quidditch is a full-contact co-ed sport, a mixture of rugby, dodgeball and lacrosse. One of the most physically defining features of the game is the rule that players must be mounted on brooms at all times. However, as the sport progresses, brooms are being replaced with PVC pipe because it is safer and easier to standardize.
If at any point the broom falls from between a player’s legs, they have to run back and touch their hoops before they can resume playing. This is also meant to act as a handicap to players, who can often only throw and catch balls with one hand.
The game is focused around two types of balls: the quaffle and bludger. The quaffle is a slightly deflated volleyball that players use to score goals by throwing it through one of the three hoops on their opponent’s side. Chasers are players who handle the quaffle and wear white headbands to identify themselves. The bludger is a slightly deflated dodgeball. Bludgers are used by players called beaters, who wear black headbands. Beaters throw the bludgers at players to knock them out of the game.
The golden snitch on the U Quidditch field is not a tiny flying ball, but rather a tennis ball inside of a sock. The seekers wear yellow headbands and try to remove the tennis ball, which is velcroed to the shorts of a snitch runner. Snitch runners tend to have a background in either cross country running or wrestling.
Teams may not exceed 21 players, with only seven on the field at a time.
Courtney Savage, a junior in communication, serves as the Utah Quidditch manager. Savage also referees at the Quidditch matches and represents the team for Utah and Nevada in the U.S. Quidditch organization. She explained that the uniqueness of the sport was one of the most endearing features that made her get involved and stay involved.
“I wanted to join Quidditch because I was honestly a huge Harry Potter nerd, and I wanted to check it out,” Savage said. “After going to my first tournament I fell in love with the community around the sport. Quidditch is something just so unlike any other sport I have ever seen or been a part of.”
Edgar Pavlovsky, a senior in finance, is a chaser and the team captain. With a background in lacrosse, Quidditch came naturally to Pavlovsky. Joining the team because of a desire to return to sports and be part of a “tight-knit” athletic family, he found himself pleasantly surprised with Quidditch.
“I’m eternally grateful for stumbling into such an incredible opportunity,” he said.
Utah Quidditch is hosting a tournament in January called the Utah Snow Cup. Spots at the tournament are highly sought after, and this year 150 slots were filled in 32 minutes.
[email protected]