Harry Potter’s pastime came to life on Stankowski Field Saturday. The Mizzou Quidditch team held their annual tournament over the weekend, and joining them were 13 quidditch teams from across the nation.
Teams from Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, and even California made the trek to Columbia to play in all-day event Saturday. Most were college teams, but there were also two mercenary teams, or “merc” teams. These teams consisted of players from different colleges coming together to play as one team for the tournament.
The sport is similar to the game that Harry and friends played in the popular book series. There are limitations to the game when played in real life.
“First things first, you don’t fly,” Mizzou Quidditch President Josh Ebbesmeyer said. “I think the other main difference is the beaters don’t have bats to hit solid rock bludgers, because that would be dangerous. Instead, they have dodge balls, and they are able to throw the dodge balls and hit people.”
Ebbesmeyer also said that the snitch is not a flying ball, it is actually a person. The snitch has a special pair of shorts and a “snitch tail” on the person’s back. The goal of the seeker is to grab the snitch tail off of the snitch.
Mizzou quidditch captain Brett Smith said that the game is a cross between basketball and rugby.
The tournament started with pool play, but the anticipated weather forced the cancellation of bracket play later in the day. Mizzou finished with a 3-1 record. The winner of the tournament was a merc team called the Sassy Nasty Ninja Turtles.
Mizzou’s quidditch team qualified for the World Cup by finishing 6th at the Midwest regional in Rockford, Illinois in late October. They will head to South Carolina April 5-6 to compete against 80 of the top quidditch teams in the International Quidditch Association.
The team is always looking for new members. Those interested can follow the team on Twitter @MUQuidditch or like the team’s Facebook page. The team also has practices from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Stankowski or Hinkson field on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and there are open practices on Sundays at 2 p.m. on Stankowski.
Ebbesmeyer and Smith both said one of the main reasons they stayed on the team is because the people on the team are like a family.