Like most sports—and life in general—Quidditch involves moving toward a goal to attain a prize despite the opposition in your path. Its rules and terminology, inspired by the Harry Potter book-and-movie phenomenon, are just more fanciful.
Described in the text as an enchanted and aerial version of “basketball on broomsticks with six hoops,” matches play out between two teams of seven witches and wizards in roles defined as chasers, beaters, a keeper, and a seeker, with balls in the form of quaffles, bludgers, and the all-important golden snitch, the capture of which determines victory.
“It’s just like in the books, except we can’t really fly, obviously,” says Austin Shaw, who founded the club at the beginning of the school year with his friend, Michelle Cotton. They do, however, sprint and clash astride broomsticks.
“It’s a full-contact sport,” Cotton says. “The snitch—who is identified by a tennis ball in a yellow tube sock hanging from the back of a player’s pants—can tackle the seeker and do anything and everything to get away.”
However, strict rules govern the foul equivalents of blagging, cape-tugging, and other unsportsmanlike conduct.
The club, which plays intramural games and hopes eventually to face off with teams from other schools in a “tri-wizard tournament,” includes about thirty students, not all of them bespectacled.
“You don’t have to be a jock to play this game, but it’s not exclusively bookworms,” says Heather Rabinowitz, who cosponsors the team with fellow science teacher Beth Ball. “It takes a good-spirited person to run around on a broom.”
For Shaw, who relates to Harry Potter’s portentous quest “to set the world back to a state of righteousness,” the club represents a full-circle moment. “This is the beginning of the end of the series,” he says, noting that next year’s film release will be the last. “I’ll be going away to college then, so my youth is coming to an end.”
Pictured from left: Austin Shaw, Jacob Volk, and Michelle Cotton / Photo by Christopher T. Martin