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Rethink fact and fiction: It's Quidditch season at ASU

Paulo Avelar (left), Jacob Lawson, Alex Browne and Tori Kaiser compete in the Tempe Brawl Quidditch tournament on Oct. 17, 2015 in Tempe.
Paulo Avelar (left), Jacob Lawson, Alex Browne and Tori Kaiser compete in the Tempe Brawl Quidditch tournament on Oct. 17, 2015 in Tempe.

Sweating under the Phoenix sun, dozens of student athletes grip PVC pipes between their legs, lunge after a tennis ball hanging from a player’s shorts and use a vernacular typically reserved for movie screens and books. Muggle Quidditch is in full swing.

This fall, ASU has grown to include two teams, ASU Quidditch and Sun Devil Quidditch, to act as an A team and a B team. Allaina Honda, Quidditch co-president and mechanical engineering senior, said this is the largest the sport has been at ASU. The teams recently submitted paperwork to have the group changed from a student organization to a sports club, said Honda.

“In the last few years, we’ve had a lot of people come out, but we couldn’t retain the numbers,” Honda said. “So, we wanted to give people an option to continue playing — really build up a program rather than just one team.”

Anyone is welcome to participate in practices, which occur Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays on the south side of ASU's Gammage Auditorium. Extensive practices prepare the teams for tournaments that can then qualify them for the annual U.S. Quidditch World Cup.

Quidditch is a not-so-fictional sport that originated from J.K. Rowling’s famous "Harry Potter" series and has made its way into the daily lives of thousands of people around the world. There are more than 20 Quidditch organizations in six countries worldwide, according to the International Quidditch Association.

The piece of fantasy-turned-sport celebrated its 10th anniversary on Oct. 9, a decade after college freshman in Vermont decided to spend a Sunday afternoon in 2005 mapping out how to make magic feasible.

“It’s really athletic," psychology freshman Celia Evans said. "It’s a co-ed, full contact sport — it’s like dodgeball and rugby combined."

The sport is played with a “broomstick” between the players’ legs, deflated volleyballs, dodge balls and a human “golden snitch” sprinting with a tennis ball attached to their hips. Real-life chasers, beaters, keepers and seekers play with similar rules as the fictional sport, Evans said.

Tori Kaiser, an ASU junior returning for her fifth semester of Quidditch, said she has received some of her worst injuries from the sport. Having played softball, soccer, volleyball, basketball, track and gymnastics in the past, she said Quidditch stands out.

Kaiser echoed the mission of U.S. Quidditch, which is to “build community and empower all genders to compete together.” Kaiser cites the unique community as something that makes Quidditch different from other sports and clubs at ASU.

“As a girl playing against the guys, you don’t usually get this much competition," Kaiser said. "It's very upbeat. It's very intense. I’m friends with people from U of A, I have friends at NAU. …The community is really great compared to other sports.”

Related Links:

ASU Quidditch is not just for Harry Potter nerds

ASU Quidditch off to the world cup

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