‘I don’t care if you fall off your broom as long as you catch the Snitch first.’ If you are a Harry Potter fan, this sentence can only mean one thing: Quidditch. Although most people relate Quidditch with Harry Potter and don’t quite understand how people play it without ‘flying’, it is actually a sport and it is so much fun.
When I was talking to my lovely housemate Chloe Howcroft (the Features Co-Editor) about who to interview for this issue, she mentioned that Quidditch Society is one of the societies that she really wants to have more information on, and when I heard her say that, I instantly knew it would be a great idea – I have wanted to try Quidditch since first year, or even just talk to someone who plays it.
As a result of that conversation, here we are. Members of the Quidditch Society kindly responded to all my questions and I hope that this interesting chat can be helpful for anyone who has questions about this sport. I know a lot of people connect this game with Harry Potter (I do as well), but it is more than that. But still, if you are a Harry Potter fan and if you dream of flying on a broom, you can do that by going to the fantastic Harry Potter socials they organise, or you can just join these lovely group of people at Earlham Park every Sunday to learn more about the game and the rules.
Can you explain what you do as the Quidditch Society?
We are a Quidditch team that welcomes both university and non-university players. Quidditch is a high-intensity sport for all genders. We meet up every Sunday in Earlham Park from 1-4pm to play. An important part of our society is also our social events.
Do a lot people ask you ‘is Quidditch a real sport?’
That is a very common question. Once we say it is, people are always very interested to hear how the rules have been adapted.
Do you do a lot of Harry Potter themed events?
We know that many people interested in Quidditch are likely fans of the series, so we do a few Harry Potter themed events like quizzes or screenings and annual bigger events like our Yule Ball. We often try to host these events with the Harry Potter societies at NUA or UEA so we can reach out to more Harry Potter fans. However, as a newly formed community team, we also have events that are not Harry Potter themed so we can attract new recruits that may want to play for the sport instead of its link to Harry Potter.
Whenever I see Quidditch Society at the Societies Fayre, I see a lot of people at the table asking questions and feeling excited about it. How many members do you have at the moment? Do you think you can increase this number?
We currently have roughly 20 members. Over the past couple of years, the interest has decreased as we should have been putting more time into recruitment. Quidditch is known for being a very inclusive sport and in the Quidditch community we have a reputation for being a very welcoming team. We do not want to lose this atmosphere, but we would also love if more people came along for the enjoyment of a competitive, physical team sport. We definitely have room to increase our numbers and encourage anyone to come along and give it a try.
How do people react when you tell them you play Quidditch?
There’s the stereotypical ‘ha, so how do you fly?’ reaction from people who think we’ve never heard that before. Once we explain we’re not just big nerds and it is a serious sport, people tend to be quite impressed.
Do you feel like you are getting enough publicity as a society?
We get a bit of publicity with the university and we have also had some from local papers, more publicity would be great.
What is your biggest achievement as a team?
This year has been a challenging year as we have lost a few of our key players and have had a small team. I think our biggest achievement is that, despite this, we managed to take the team to the main tournament of the year and shocked people by showing we were not an easy team to beat.
Are there any University Quidditch competitions you participate? How competitive is it?
With the sport expanding outside of university, there are no entirely university tournaments, with a few of the more well-known ones ending last year. Currently, we aim to attend three major community tournaments each year. The atmosphere at the tournaments is exhilarating and it’s great to get to socialise and play with the wider Quidditch community. They are very competitive tournaments; you never see a team that’s not giving it their all. With the fast pace of the sport and playing four matches both days of the tournament, the weekend is utterly exhausting and loads of fun.
What would your advice be to someone who wants to start playing Quidditch? Will watching the Harry Potter movies help?
Watching the films or reading the books is definitely not necessary. I know a few people who play the sport that are not Harry Potter fans at all. Our advice is to come along to a practice and get stuck in. The best way to get find out what it’s like is to take part.