Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Students bring ‘Harry Potter’ to life with weekly Quidditch games

“When I was playing [Quidditch] I thought that it was very much fun and that people at Whitman would probably like it,” said sophomore Kali Stoehr of her summer experience playing the sport taken from J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter.” Stoehr has started a group on campus that meets every Friday afternoon on Ankeny Field at 2:30 p.m. to play pickup Quidditch.

Stoehr played over the summer with a friend from Middlebury College, where they have a Quidditch league established and play a Quidditch Cup every year. Although right now Whitman’s group only plays pickup Quidditch, there is some interest in forming teams, according to Stoehr.

The basic structure of the game is the same as Rowling’s conception: just without the magic. Teams are composed of seven players, and all the positions are the same: one Keeper, two Beaters, three Chasers and a Seeker. colleen-mitchell-07fa-nw20071011-web01.jpg

The Chasers and Keeper play with a “quaffle” and try to throw it through hula hoops. The Beaters “play with really soft cushy balls (bludgers) that you have them throw at people,” said Stoehr. This eliminates many of the safety risks of Rowling’s Quidditch.

“[And] the Seekers chase after the snitch,” said Stoehr. “But since we don’t have a golden snitch, we use a cross country runner that has a tennis ball stuffed inside of a sock.” The two Seekers chase the cross country runner and try to grab the tennis ball, which ends the game.

“It’s important that every member be on a broomstick at all times,” Stoehr said. “That’s mostly for hilarity’s sake, and it makes it harder to run.”

Stoehr is hoping to hold a “Whitman Quidditch Cup” during the spring. “We’ll have a weekend of Quidditch playing and anyone would be welcome to join and form their team,” Stoehr said. Stoehr is also considering trying to make the game an intramural sport if there is enough interest on campus, but she is unsure about the process.

To prevent injury, there are very specific rules about physical contact. Players are allowed to take the quaffle away from another player, but they are not allowed to attack that player, only the ball. Also, bludgers must be thrown; Beaters cannot simply tap other players with them. The group tries to have a referee watch for these kinds of fouls in each game.

There are also rules in place for the safety of the snitch. “The Seekers are not allowed to attack the snitch, and if the snitch falls down or comes to any bodily harm they get a head start afterwards,” said Stoehr. “But the snitch can attack the Seekers and protect the tennis ball.”

“It’s also kind of fun that the snitch has a bit larger part of campus to run around in,” Stoehr said. The snitch is given a head start at the start of a game and is permitted to run and hide behind buildings or trees. “So if you ever see someone running and people on broomsticks chasing them, there’s probably a Quidditch game going on,” said Stoehr.

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