By Ryan Powers
“Ten points to Gryffindor!”
Perhaps no other group on campus has heard this phrase more than Ohio University‘s Quidditch Club. It is a popular response from fellow students passing by the team’s practices at McCracken Field, according to Brandon Lutz, coach of the Quidditch team.
Practices are held three times a week, and there have already been nine practices this semester. Anyone can join the team by simply attending practice every Sunday at 2, and Monday and Thursday at 5. Whether or not a member will be a competitor in tournaments, however, is a matter of skill.
Lutz said the first Quidditch tournament will be held on Sept. 28 at Ohio State University and will include teams from multiple universities, such as Miami University and Bowling Green State University. Because the number of Quidditch teams is small and they are so spread apart, competitions are limited to tournaments with multiple teams rather than one-on-one games. These tournaments, Lutz explained, begin late in the morning and last until evening.
OU plans to host a Quidditch tournament during early spring semester, Lutz said.
Practices consist of scrimmages, conditioning and technique honing. If that sounds intense, that’s because it is. “It’s the aggressiveness of rugby because there’s no pads, the force of contact like in football, (and) the constant movement like in soccer mixed with the throwing capacity of baseball,” Lutz said.
OU’s Quidditch Club was founded in fall 2012. “It came into being because three different people submitted their proposals for the group to become an actual club within ten minutes of each other,” Lutz said. “That’s how they came into contact with each other.”
These three students – A.J. Davis, Ryan Altenbach and Brittany Folet – became the founders of OU’s Quidditch Club. All are currently juniors and hold leadership roles within the club.
Lutz, also a junior, said he attained the position of coach by default. “I didn’t think I could play as much, so I didn’t take a strong role in being a player,” he explained. “I took more of a passive role, watching everybody, planning what we do, critiquing what we did, so they started calling me coach.
OU Quidditch is still considered a club sport at this time. In order to be considered an intramural sport, higher power than the university would have to recognize the team. In fact, no Quidditch teams are currently considered anything more than a club sport, but Lutz is hopeful that “One day we will be.”
Quidditch has the potential to evolve into an intramural sport in terms of spectators. Tournaments usually draw large crowds and some teams even bring their own cheer units, Lutz said.
As of now, OU’s Quidditch Club has 23 regular members. 15 people are on the field at once: seven on each team plus one snitch. The OU Quidditch Club is always accepting new members. In addition to attending practices, Lutz suggests liking the group’s Facebook page.
And although being a Harry Potter fan is not necessary to be a part of the Quidditch Club — in fact, not all current members are — the club does put on events to celebrate Harry Potter lore. “We’re planning on having some sort of larger event, like a gala or dance, like they did in the movies and books,” Lutz said.
Aside from the Harry Potter part of the attraction, Lutz said, “A lot of people join to play a sport that no one else really does.”