What's the Hoop-la?

Photo by Sana Sadiq Photography

It’s 75F with about 80 percent humidity and I am sticky, sunburnt, every muscle hurts and my lungs are threatening to picket in search of more airtime. My hand hurts from holding my broom and I have several bruises already forming along with a finger on my other hand that got squished in the battle for a bludger.
I hear cheers behind me, and thank goodness, we caught the snitch. This game is over and we’re victorious. I high five my teammates and after our discussion, race to the shade where I feel like melting into the blanket.
Welcome to Texas, where football may be #1, but quidditch rules in other circles. That’s “quidditch”, with a small q, defined by Oxford Dictionary as a noun.

“A team sport played while straddling broomsticks, in which goals are scored by throwing a ball through any of three hoops fixed at either end of the pitch.” I started playing in 2016 and because of quidditch, I’ve traveled to a few states, lost over 85 pounds, gained friends, and started involvement in some great organizations.

Photo by Alex Stewart

Whenever I say I play quidditch, the first question is usually “How do you get around the flying?” Well, if the snitch is good enough, your seekers fly; if you’re tackled hard enough, you’ll go flying. Plenty of flying in the game.

There are rules, and one of the main rules that drew me to it was the gender maximum rule. Quidditch is highly inclusive of all genders, and to this end, no team can have more than 4 (or 5, with the seeker) members of the same gender on the pitch at any given time, to ensure more playing time for everyone. It is highly inclusive, and this is one of the direct appeals of playing - many athletes that have never felt at home somewhere else can find a home in quidditch.

I tend to describe quidditch as “full contact all gender dodgeball rugby on a broom,” and that’s not wrong. Mouthpieces are required, concussions happen quite a bit, as do other injuries. The athletes that play are just as in shape as most other sports - and many of them play sports outside of quidditch as well.

Lone Star Quidditch Club hoisting the trophy at Alamo Cup IV, 27 January 2018

Right now, I’m taking a break from planning a tournament that happened on February 10th (since this comes out after the tournament, congrats to who won!) to write this blog. There’s a lot going on in quidditch in the next 2 months, including our regional tournament (which I’ll recap in my next post), as well as Nationals, which is the 14-15th of April here in Round Rock, TX (20 min from home so I can sleep in my bed both nights). That’ll be awesome, especially after my team wins.

Then this summer is the World Cup in Florence, Italy, as well as summer leagues. Chances are there are teams close to where you live, but the best part is it’s not difficult to start playing.

To find out more information on quidditch in the US, please visit usquidditch.org. To find out more about the world governing body on quidditch, visit the International Quidditch Association’s site at http://iqasport.org/.

Carrie Soukup

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Carrie Soukup is a student, writer, cat and book collector currently living in Austin, TX with her son. She will graduate with her BA in English in May 2018. She currently volunteers with Shadow Cats, Austin Pets Alive! and the Central Texas Food Bank. She is obsessed with football (the round one, not the square one) and quidditch. This season, she plays as a beater for the Lone Star Quidditch Club. She is also on staff for both US Quidditch and Major League Quidditch. Her most perfect food is a potato for its diversity and tastiness.

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