October 23, 2013 8:45 AM
Quaffles, bludgers, chasers and beaters are not terms commonly associated with a club sport at a university. In its first semester as an official collegiate competitor, however, the Tulane University quidditch team is redefining club sports while running around on broomsticks.
Quidditch is a real-life variation of a sport from the wizarding realm of the Harry Potter novels and movies.
The Tulane quidditch team of 30 students, one of 933 teams in the U.S., practices twice a week on the uptown campus. Josh Mansfield, the organization’s president, says he is pleased with the team’s progress so far.
“It’s been really successful to this point and I’ve been really impressed,” Mansfield says. “There are a lot of newcomers because it is a new sport, and nobody has really played before, but people are really grasping it quickly and getting good at the game.”
On the pitch, Mansfield plays the position of chaser, whose job is to pass a deflated volleyball, known as the quaffle, to teammates and try to score through three hoops on either end. Defending against the chasers are players called beaters who throw dodgeballs in order to stop their opponent’s advancement. Keepers act as goalies and try to prevent the quaffle from going through the hoops.
Perhaps the most interesting player is the seeker, whose job is to chase after a person dressed in all yellow or gold, known as the snitch, and snatch the tennis ball stuffed in the back of the snitch’s shorts.
On Saturday (Oct. 19), Tulane competed in the second annual Wolf Pack Classic, a quidditch tournament hosted by Loyola University. Tulane finished 0-4 with losses to Loyola, Florida, Florida State and Texas A&M universities, but Mansfield speaks highly of the team’s performance.
“Though we were winless, our game play highly improved throughout the course of the day, even in the muddy conditions.”
Greg Thomson is a junior at Tulane studying communication.
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 firstname.lastname@example.org