Armed with makeshift brooms and clad in multi-coloured headbands, the players await the signal. Seconds later, a hollering ‘Brooms up!’ breaks the tension. Giddy with excitement, 5 players from each team jet towards the center of the pitch for possession of a volleyball and three dodgeballs.
HKU’s very own Quidditch team kicked off the new semester with an open invite Quidditch match. It was held at Pitch 7 of the Happy Valley Recreation Ground from 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM last Sunday (20th of September, 2019). The sole purpose of the open invite was to introduce the ‘mugglized’ sport to beginners in hopes of recruiting new players for the upcoming year.
“I’m a life-long Harry Potter fan!” says Year 1 student Jessie (Sik Yin Ho). For new players like Jessie, Quidditch is a fresh new way of meeting like-minded people in the fandom as well as living out her Harry Potter fantasies.
Aside from the fictional appeal, there are many athletic aspects that are enticing to sports fans everywhere. New player Symphony (Chan Ka Sin) prefers Quidditch over other sports because “It’s very unconventional… the sport allows players to alternate between different roles so it’s never a mundane sport to play.”
Veteran Quidditch players like Year 4 student Ananya Prasad says that she was initially drawn to the chaotic and complicated nature of the game. However, as time passed, she chose to stay because of the overwhelming sense of community.
Ananya fondly recalls last February’s Edo Quidditch Cup Game, where Japanese teams surprised her with a party. “I felt very welcome and connected to people simply because we all shared one weird common hobby, I would not have so many true friends around the world if it weren’t for Quidditch.”
How to play?
Quidditch is a hybrid sport. Many elements of dodgeball, handball and wrestling are combined to bring this sport to life. To play quidditch, each team scores by throwing the Quaffle (a volleyball) through different point-yielding hoops. The opposing team can halter their opponent’s progress by ‘bludgeoning’ them with bludgers (dodgeballs). Another way to claim points is through grabbing the snitch, which is strapped to an impartial player that avoids both teams. Once the snitch is caught, the match is decidedly over.
HKU Quidditch team
The HKU Quidditch team was founded in 2016 and has prided itself on its gender-inclusivity. While rules are altered to fit non-magical players on the pitch, the social inclusiveness of the sport has always stayed true to J.K. Rowling’s depiction.
Seeker and Year 4 student Takumi Takeshige reveals that Quidditch’s popularity is growing by the day. “I think there are definitely more people showing up! Especially after our exhibition match and publication in the South China Morning Post” he says.
With more practices and matches to be held in the coming year, members and prospective players of the HKU Quidditch team are expected to spend a lot more time on the pitch. All matches are made public for viewing on their official Facebook page, HKU Quidditch.