Brooms up – there’s a snitch loose on campus


[img_inline align=”right” src=”” caption=”The coat of arms of Hogwarts, the fictional school created by J. K. Rowling for the Harry Potter novels. Image via Jmh2o at fr.wikipedia.”]

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With the release of part two of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Friday, the pop culture spotlight is on everything Potter. We originally published this story November 14, 2010, but the quidditch club is still in existence as a McMaster Students Union club.

Grab a handful of chocolate frogs, a mug of butterbeer and your broom: muggles
campus-wide now have the opportunity to watch (and play) Harry Potter's favourite
high-flying sport.

Quidditch, the wildly popular game played by wizards in the Harry Potter series of
books and movies, has arrived at McMaster thanks to two students with a penchant for
things Potter – though Crystal Ramchandani and Kashish Nathwani, organizers of the
University's first-ever quidditch team, want to assure all that students need not know
to fly in order to play.

“There are obviously some rule modifications,” laughed Nathwani.

In the Harry Potter universe, the game, in which 14 players (seven a side) compete
score points through large, floating hoops while dodging flying iron balls (called
and trying to capture a small, enchanted, winged ball, has a long history steeped in
tradition and a passion amongst its fans similar to that of soccer.

In the real world, however, a lack of magical powers can make it difficult to play
game precisely as it is described by author J.K. Rowling. Thanks to the International
Quidditch Association, though, rules for real-life play have been adapted from the
allowing those without the benefit of training from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and
Wizardry to engage in the game.

For starters, players simply run with their brooms, rather than fly on them, and
game's “golden snitch,” the magical flying ball which must be caught by each team's
“seeker,” is held by an impartial player who may run just about anywhere on campus in
order to avoid getting caught.

“We try to keep it as close to the original game as possible,” said Ramchandani,
originally heard about the game from a friend at Ryerson University. “So things like the
goal rings, which are supposed to float, are put up on a pole, replicating the basic

For the moment the pair are investing their own money into building the team,
purchasing brooms, balls and other needed equipment. While the game is great fun for
fan of the Harry Potter franchise, Nathwani says that they want to accomplish more
just the recruitment of skilled quidditch players.

“It's very much a social thing, for fans and non-fans alike,” he says. “We're
planning to
sell butterbeer to raise funds, host a marathon movie night and organize a Yule Ball,
like in the book. We want to create an atmosphere where people can have fun.”

The International Quidditch Association counts hundreds of teams already active
forming at the university, college and even high school level, with more teams being
organized all the time – proving that the game's fictional origins has had no impact on
ability to attract willing participants.

McMaster's quidditch team practices Wednesday nights. For more information,


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