While Lindenwood focuses on its transition to NCAA, another sport is taking off across the country. Quidditch, the mythical sport played in the Harry Potter series, has become a popular pastime among college students, involving intramurals, club teams, colligate leagues, and even an international world cup.
Quidditch has rapidly expanded since 2005. The Quidditch World Cup was established in 2007, where the first intercollegiate match was played between Middlebury, the home of college Quidditch, and Vassar College. Over the weekend of November 12, 2011, more than 2,000 athletes on 98 teams from five countries competed in the fifth annual International Quidditch Association World Cup.
This level of competition is not for the faint of heart. Over the course of the tournament, sixteen players were taken to the hospital with injuries ranging from concussions to broken bones. Despite losing its captain in the semifinals due to a head injury, Middlebury won its fifth consecutive World Cup title over Florida Quidditch in a close match that was ultimately determined by the capture of the Snitch.
In 2011,Lindenwood joined a growing group of schools with unofficial leagues. Played as a fall intramural, Quidditch developed into a competition with growing interest. Brynn Sebring, captain and coach of The Masters of Death, led her team to victory in the program’s inaugural year. When asked how she fell in love with the game, Sebring responded, “I’m a huge fan of the books, who isn’t? However, I first learned about Muggle Quidditch when my high school formed a team.”
Enthusiasm translated into victory for The Masters of Death, a team that flew on golf clubs (except the Seeker, Trent Farmer, who rode a Swiffer) due to the lightweight quality. These substitute brooms would not be allowed in IQA regulation play, however. As Sebring says, “Lindenwood used IQA rules to the best of their ability. There are some pretty insane rules about broom length and exact dimensions of the pitch that were unrealistic to enforce with the game being so new at Lindenwood.”
In IQA regulated play, referees and Snitches (an unaffiliated individual dressed in yellow who’s capture ends the game) attend workshops and training sessions to develop their skills. Who were the Snitches used at Lindenwood? “No one is going to be surprised when I say I think they were Work and Learn students,” says Sebring.
This type of play will change at Lindenwood in the future, as steps are taken to develop a serious team with chances of competing at the World Cup. The current in-house tournament system could be used to further this goal. While most colleges have a single, traveling team, others such as Middlebury compete among their own schools to ensure that the team with the best chance of success competes in intercollegiate matches.
Sophomore Kaity McAllister says, “I think it would be awesome to see a tournament, because then more people would have a chance to play and get involved.” Luckily for McAllister, she will be around to experience the future of Quidditch at Lindenwood.
Senior David Whitley says, “If I wasn’t graduating this year, Quidditch is something I’d like to try. It’s a great idea. Its too bad it didn’t take off sooner.”
Whatever the future of the sport on a national level, it seems that Muggle Quidditch has found a home on Lindenwood’s campus and in the hearts of enthusiastic students.