The USF Quidditch Club is preparing for regionals this weekend, with the ultimate goal of returning to the World Cup for a shot at the trophy.
“While the regional is always on our radar, it’s not always the main goal,” said Zach Mouriz, president of the Quidditch Club.
According to Mouriz, the top 9 of 14 teams in the regional tournament advance to the World Cup.
“We’ve been to the World Cup every year, and in our first year we placed sixth,” Mouriz said. “Our goal is to make it to the World Cup again and try to win it all.”
USF students are always intrigued to learn there is a Quidditch Club on campus, but few are aware of how the sport actually works. Many wonder how a game played by wizards and witches in the Harry Potter books and movies is possible for us Muggles (non-magical types) to play. Some adaptations had to be made, but the spirit of the game is still very much intact.
“It’s very confusing to watch, but very fun once you understand it,” said Mouriz. “Quidditch is a mash up of many different types of sports, so it has parts of football, soccer, wrestling and dodgeball.”
Good news though – you do not need a Nimbus 2000 to play! While players cannot fly through the air, they are still required to straddle a broom throughout the game. Also, instead of using a magical flying ball, the snitch is played by a person called the snitch runner, who is allowed to use physical contact and diversionary tactics to avoid capture by either team.
Contrary to most sports, there is no rule defining the length of a Quidditch game. Gameplay ends once the snitch has been caught, which cannot happen until after the snitch runner is released at the 18-minute mark. The team with the most points at the time the snitch is caught wins the game.
Quidditch is also unique because it is a coed contact sport. Pushing, charging, grabbing, wrapping and tackling other players from the front is allowed in many circumstances. Additionally, players have to watch out for flying Bludgers, which are balls thrown by Beaters to temporarily knock players out of the game.
While some may think USF is one in a small group of schools that field a Quidditch team, Mouriz said there are tournaments almost every weekend across the country.
“We go to tournaments within Florida, so Miami has one, Florida, FSU and even up in North Florida,” Mouriz said.
Mouriz ensures that anyone willing to join the Quidditch Club will not only be involved in a competitive sport, but also be around a very welcoming group of people.
“I don’t like to call it ‘like a family’, but we have built very tight friendly bonds with one another,” he said. “We spend a lot of time fundraising and going out to Bull Market trying to get people to join. If we’re not doing that, we’re usually just hanging out together at someone’s house.”
While joining the Quidditch Club may seem like a large commitment, Mouriz says the club isn’t strict on how often members come out.
“We don’t ask as much for the Quidditch Club – if you can only come out to one of the three practices a week that is fine. We don’t have tryouts because we feel that it is a sport for everyone, but also a sport for anyone who wants to take it seriously,” he said.
Practices are Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8 to 9:45 p.m. on Sycamore Field 2. Interested students can register to be a part of the Quidditch Club at https://orgsync.com/87497/chapter.
The US Quidditch South Regional Championship is Feb. 28 and March 1 in Palm Coast, Florida.