Hey there! I’m Z and I consider myself to be a real-life George Weasley. That is to say, I’m a beater for my quidditch team. Muggle quidditch started about seven years ago at Middlebury College in Vermont and has been growing ever since. It’s structured exactly the same as the books, with a few key differences – players run on brooms (as opposed to flying), bludgers are dodgeballs (instead of metal balls hit with bats), and the snitch is a person dressed head-to-toe in gold who runs around with a tennis ball stuffed in a sock coming out the back of their pants. Simple, right?
A real life snitch, just about to take off at the beginning of the game!
Despite the initial complexity of learning to play, quidditch is one of the easiest and fun physical outlets I’ve ever encountered. You see, I came into my college experience a little out-of-sorts. I had moved halfway across the country to a new city and wasn’t sure how I could find a group of people to bond with. I also wanted the chance to challenge myself physically, since I never had the time to play sports in high school. Turns out, the Park Street Pulverizers found me just in time.
snarly little freshman-year me on the left, pre-game stretch on the right!
I showed up to our “combine” – a chance for everyone to play be scouted by each of our six intramural teams – with high expectations. I had wanted to play quidditch since I had heard it discussed at my college tour and hoped it would click. It’s still hard to describe what I felt the first time I was given a dodgeball and instructed to throw it at opponents as they charged down the field. I had never been coordinated or graceful on any sort of sports stage…until there was a broom between my legs. I beat my little heart out that afternoon and left sweaty, dirty, and with a smile on my face.
After that first day, I was drafted to the Pulverizers, or the “Pulvies” for short. My freshman year of college is defined by my quidditch companions. We raised money to go Vermont to play in a fundraising event, held a carnival (Pulvie-palooza) in our school’s basement, and eventually went on to win the Griffith Cup, our intramural trophy. But more than anything, I made connections. As these things go, tackling strangers to the ground usually turns them into your best friends. (Granted, this has only been proven true in a quidditch context – don’t take my word for the rest of the world.)
I’m now in my third year at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. Each year I keep playing quidditch and love it more each year. My other campus organizations know not to schedule things over our practices. Everyone clears their schedules for Sunday afternoon games. Through mud, rain, tears, and laughs, we play this ridiculous sport.
Now, I live with three other Pulvies. My boyfriend is a Pulvie. This past spring, I was elected to be co-captain. I owe most of my social life to quidditch, as well as almost every friendship. If the Pulverizers hadn’t found me, I’m not sure I’d still be at Emerson. So I pay it forward wherever I can, and make sure that quidditch continues to thrive here.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED:
First stop shop is the IQA: International Quidditch Association. They have all the “recognized” teams from all over! Find out if there’s a team at your college or in your area. Yes, this isn’t just for college – teams like The Lost Boys (Los Angeles, California) and The NYDC Capitalists (New York and District of Columbia) are great example of community teams that are finding success! You might even go to the World Cup!
Oh, right, yeah – did I mention there’s a WORLD event for showcasing the best teams!? Complete with bracket-play and full-tackle aggression, The Quidditch World Cup was a whole weekend of madness. This year it happened in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, April 4-6th. It was an especially awesome weekend since Emerson made it to the Final Four! Go Lions!
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Quidditch, despite its magical history, is a very intense and demanding sport, especially if played at the World Cup level. Expect to run. A lot. Expect to fall. A lot. Bruises and a bit of blood are standard. But also know that you will love your teammates more than you thought possible. (And maybe not just in a friendship way – “quincest” isn’t necessarily frowned upon.) Oh and yes, broom burn is real.
Rad Gal, Rad Gig is a new feature on The Clueless Girl's Guide where I invite really neat gals to share their really cool stories. Whether your gig is a full-time job or just a hobby, I want to hear from you! If you think you'd be perfect for Rad Gal, Rad Gig, feel free to get in touch or view the information on the Submissions page! Just submit a short description of what you do and why you think it's rad!