Prepping for Quidditch ‘World Cup’: A Test of Endurance

Nov 11, 2010 7:46pm

ABC News on Campus reporter Danielle Waugh blogs:
While muggles have to wait four years for their soccer World Cup, the wizarding world has a World Cup each year — and it’s right around the corner. Above: The quidditch team at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst practices for the World Cup on Oct. 30. Here, Kat Cullen runs with the ‘quaffle’ as teammates Alan Couture and Tim Ma defend. (Photo courtesy of Christopher Chan)
The International Quidditch Association will be hosting the Quidditch World Cup this weekend at the DeWitt Clinton Park in Manhattan, and it’s the biggest World Cup yet.
The tournament will be on ESPN and is drawing in 757 athletes from 60 different teams from college, high school, and recreational leagues.
Quidditch—made famous by the Harry Potter series—combines rugby, basketball, dodge ball, and tag.
Although the origins of this sport are fictional, those who play it say the physical demands are very real.
“I get more tired playing Quidditch than any other sport I have ever played,” said Eric Willroth, a player on Texas A&M’s team.
Willroth is warning other teams to watch out: his team’s keeper is 6’3” and “a force to be reckoned with.”
Christopher Chan, President of the UMass Quidditch team, said the sport requires just as much athleticism as karate, a sport he played in high school.
Chan said Quidditch requires both a physical and mental toughness because the game essentially has three different games going on at one time.
So how does a Quidditch squad practice and prepare for its biggest match of the year?
It’s two-a-days for the Chestnut Hill team. 
According to player Max Kaplan, many members are putting in extra hours at the gym. On the field, the team has been focusing on special plays, position versatility, and endurance.
A camera crew from the college has also been following them this week and will produce a documentary on the program before they travel from Philadelphia.
But in the south, it’s more about getting their heads in the game.
The Texas A&M Quidditch players say they’ve been focusing on the physical side for months.
“Right now we are just getting our mental game figured out,” said player Mollie Lensing. “This week we are just trying to sort out our game plan and relax.”
In New England, the focus is on teamwork.
“We’ve been trying to work on everyone’s ability to play together,” Chan said. “We’ve been putting together certain lines of players and learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Chan scheduled an extended practice for Thursday to work out the fine details of the UMass game plan.
In addition to winning matches, the UMass team has another goal: win the brooms.
The IQA is sponsoring a book drive and the team who donates the most books wins a set of Alivan’s brooms.
Alivan’s is the official broom of Intercollegiate Quidditch—and it’s not the kind of broom you’d clean with.
Each Alivan’s broom comes hand made with handles from Sassafrass saplings or Oak.  Although the website clarifies that the brooms will not induce flight, Alivan’s advertises its brooms as the fastest and most aerodynamic in the wizarding world, perfect for both competition and leisure riding.
“We’re hoping to get enough books to come out on top of that and win the Alivan’s brooms, which is the number one prize,” Chan said.
He also hopes UMass will win several matches this weekend. In the program’s three years, they have remained competitive but are still what he would call a “middle tier team.” Chestnut Hill, Texas A&M, and UMass team members all agreed: the team to beat this weekend comes from Middlebury College, the school that started collegiate Quidditch.
Middlebury has won all three of the past Quidditch World Cups. But Emma Krause, Commissioner of the Emerson College Quidditch Association, thinks this is the year for Emerson Quidditch. “We plan to take the cup,” she said.
The Quidditch World Cup matches are on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free to the public and both ‘muggles’ and ‘wizards’ are welcome to attend.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus