Quidditch puts Smith under its spell
Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 11:09
Quidditch, the magical game made famous by Harry Potter, has grown into a sports phenomenon only five years after Middlebury student Xander Manshel adapted the sport from J.K. Rowling's novels. Now being played by over 400 teams internationally, Quidditch has embedded itself into the Smith community over the past year.
"Quidditch is the fastest-growing intercollegiate sport at the moment," said Captain Geneva Ruppert '14. "At the moment, the highest concentration is in the Northeast, but people are forming teams on all continents at this point, and it's only getting bigger."
The object of the game, as any Harry Potter fan would recognize, is to capture the snitch, which players adapt to real life by stuffing a tennis ball into a tube sock hanging out of a "snitch runner's" pants. The players run on broomsticks, a characteristic that has carried over from the novels, and has been dubbed "brunning" by Quidditch enthusiasts.
There are seven positions on each team: three chasers, a keeper, two beaters and the seeker. The chasers attempt to put a ball called the quaffle through one of the other team's three goal hoops for 10 points a goal. The two beaters try to knock members of the
other team out by throwing three balls called bludgers. If a player is hit by a bludger, they have to drop whatever they're doing, dismount and return to their hoops before they can rejoin the action. If a team's seeker grabs the snitch, the team gains 30 points, which is an alteration from the original rule which awards 150 points to the team of the seeker who catches the snitch.
Smith Quidditch has grown rapidly since it was chartered last semester, inducting new members into the team to add to their 22 existing players. They play regionally against UMass Amherst and Amherst Regional High School, and have plans to go to in-state and out-of-state tournaments next
semester. The team plans to dabble in outreach as well. Next month they plan to visit sixth graders near Pittsfield, Mass., and next semester, the team wants extend their teaching to younger children.
"Our team is a great representation of Smith – welcoming and diverse – and we're incredibly proud of how many different types of people we have on our team, from proud athletes to proud nerds," said team member Winter Schwaid-Lindner '14. "No matter how hard academics get, or how things turn out, I'll always have some friends who are willing to run around on broomsticks with me."