Flying on brooms, chasing a golden ball that moves of its own accord, competing in a world cup for this magical sport – it all seems as distant as an admission letter to Hogwarts that never came.
However, students and people across the world have been recreating the wizard sport of quidditch almost since the Harry Potter series made it famous.
Kellen Crookham, a junior graphic design major from Phenix City, is the president and founder of the quidditch team at Troy.
Though the organization hasn’t yet gotten field time to practice, Crookham has been working on recruiting enough players to build a roster and be considered an intramural sport, like flag football.
“I saw some videos on YouTube one day and thought it would be cool,” she said of the decision to create the group.
Quidditch as a sport outside of the Harry Potter series began at Middlebury College in Vermont in 2005. Since then, it has spread worldwide and now Middlebury has several teams on campus that compete for a chance to play in the World Cup.
Crookham contacted the U.S. Quidditch representative for Alabama during the founding of the sport at Troy. She said that the representative was able to give her some pointers in the formation of the group and the writing of a constitution.
“It’s not just people in Troy being nerds, it’s a global movement,” Crookham said. “Harry Potter defined a generation.”
The website for U.S. Quidditch describes the sport as “a co-ed contact sport with a unique mix of elements from rugby, dodgeball, and tag.”
While the game has tried to remain as faithful to the one played in the Harry Potter series, some changes were necessary, since things like flying brooms have yet to be invented.
In order to play, Crookham said that the teams on our campus will use PVC pipes and hula hoops to build the brooms and goals.
Each team has seven players. Three chasers score goals through the hoops with a volleyball serving as the quaffle, the ball used in the book series. A keeper defends the goals. Two beaters hit dodgeballs serving as the bludgers from the books.
A seeker from each team attempts to catch the snitch, a ball that signals the end of the game when captured. As the snitch moves of its own accord in the books, a neutral player has the snitch attached to them as a tennis ball in a gold sock for the seekers to catch.
“You don’t have to be a fan of Harry Potter to play,” Crookham said.
Unlike most sports, quidditch is co-ed and the tournament teams are full contact, so Crookham hopes to have enough people on the roster for both a tournament team and a booster team.
“We would play FSU, USA, Auburn, Alabama – anyone within a reasonable driving distance we could play in a tournament,” she said.
Crookham said that the booster team will be “a lot safer and more fun for people that don’t want to be in tournament play.”
“I’m hoping we can have tryouts to see who would be best,” she said, adding that no one will be turned away and no one will always have to play in the same position. “You don’t have to be pigeonholed, you can try all positions. The entire team is revolving.”
As of right now, the sport has 20 people listed on the roster, but an average of four that show up to meetings.
“It’s difficult getting started because there is that nerd factor,” Crookham said.
She said that it is still possible to get field time this semester.
She is planning a mock game on the quad to gain more visibility on campus.
“I’m not expecting people to think it’s cool or anything, but some do,” she said. “You don’t do quidditch because it’s cool, you do it because you love it. If people think it’s strange, that’s their problem.”
The group meets every other Wednesday in Trojan Center 224 at 3:00 p.m. The next meeting will be held on April 1. There is also a Facebook group titled “Troy University Quidditch Team” that remains updated on the group’s events.
Despite the months spent planning, Crookham is hopeful that the sport will take off on campus. “To have a slice of that world here in the Muggle world is a dream come true.”