The sporting world is a world of repetition. Cycles of the same competitions annually, biannually and every four years are what we come to expect.
The World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Olympics come around before we know it with the same formats and little change. Even leagues seasons can become banal and mundane.
But every now and again sport surprises us. It comes along and gives us something new and exciting.
Loosely based on the sport featured in the much-loved Harry Potter franchise, Quidditch is one of the UK’s fastest growing University sports, with almost 50 teams throughout the UK, including five in Scotland.
Quidditch, which is still only 15 years old, breaks the barriers laid down by traditional sports, with a game which aims to promote inclusion for all regardless of individual backgrounds. It is the only full-contact mixed-gender sport in the world.
With the aim of growing the game even further in Scotland, and pushing the boundaries outside of university sport, governing body Quidditch UK have created the role of Scottish Expansion Manager.
We caught up with Stirling student Rebecca Norman, who has just been accepted into the role.
One of Rebecca’s main aims, along with those of Quidditch UK, is to see more teams created and thriving in Scotland.
“I’m now part of the expansion department of Quidditch UK which means that I am here to help people who want to start new teams.
“If we also want to do some outreach to start a new team then I’m the lead on that. For example, we would love a Dundee Quidditch team so if anyone knows anyone in Dundee then let me know!
“But also, because Scottish teams tend to be smaller, I provide them with support if they need help fundraising or they want advice on how to advertise their give it a go (GIAG), and also this year with advice on how to be COVID.”
Quidditch has many selling points, from being a mixed gender sport with emphasis on inclusivity for all, to having an everchanging set of rules and regulations.
“We get players of all genders and shapes and sizes. You get your agile little people and also get your chunkier people who can throw their weight around.
“In the rule book profanity is banned on pitch. Swearing is not allowed to stay players being mean to one another. Because we’re also quite a new sport the rules change pretty often so the referees have a big role to play in the game.”
The playing of the game is exciting, fast paced and constantly evolving, keeping players on their toes. It differs from the portrayal of Quidditch in the Harry Potter books and films, but still has plenty of intrigue.
“The first big difference is that we don’t fly! For some reason people always ask that, but we do still have brooms made up of a roughly two-metre-long PVC pipe. It’s just a handicap really, in the same way that you can’t use your hands in football or throw the ball forward in rugby.
“The snitch is another big difference as we obviously don’t have a magical flying ball, but it is represented in the game by a referee called a snitch runner, who has a tennis ball in a sock tucked into their shorts.
“They go on just less than 20 minutes into the game closely followed by the seekers. Catching the snitch can involve wrestling, it can involve chasing, it really just depends on who your snitch runner is.”
As well as this new role in Quidditch UK, Rebecca is the President for Stirling University’s team, the Dumyat Dragons, who are looking to expand their membership despite the challenges of COVID.
“I’m optimistic that the returning of full training is not too far away, but as it stands it look like our sessions this year are going to be pretty casual and in small groups, just chucking a ball about… a disinfected ball!
“Quidditch UK has a tournament planned for November but they haven’t announced a venue or anything so we are hoping to have that to look forward to, but it is looking like that might not happen. The way they have designed the season this year is so that they have a fun tournament before Christmas and all the qualifiers, regionals and nationals are after Christmas, so hopefully we will at least be able to play by then.
“We will be online socials as well, we have been doing a lot of quizzes over lockdown, and had a go at some riddles, so we will be doing that again so that people who aren’t comfortable coming to a GIAG or haven’t come back to Stirling yet can get involved. We are also open to members who maybe don’t want to play Quidditch and who just want to be social members.”
So, as COVID restrictions on sport begin to be lifted, why not give Quidditch a go and catch the golden snitch yourself.
If you would like to get involved with Stirling University’s Quidditch team get in touch with Rebecca at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow ‘Dumyat Dragons’ on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Featured Image: Dumyat Dragons Facebook