From the shores of stormy Scotland to the deserts of Africa, one constant remains in the wizarding world: the game of brooms and magic known as Quidditch. After heated debates in the Ministry Department of Magical Games and Sports, the St. Paul’s Wolves of Covington, La., have joined the prestigious ranks of various other quidditch teams from the Holyhead Harpies to the Montrose Magpies with a grant of starter equipment for the new team.
For the less magically inclined of campus, Quidditch is a game of two teams, each with seven players mounted on a broom, played on a field hockey-sized pitch. Each team consists of two beaters, three chasers, one keeper, and a seeker. The beater’s job is to throw bludgers (large balls) at the opposing chasers, while protecting their own teams from oncoming bludgers. The chaser’s job is to handle the quaffle (a medium-sized ball) and score by throwing it into one of the three hoop goals. The keeper’s job is to guard the three goals by batting away quaffles as they are thrown. The seeker has the most crucial task of capturing the snitch, a small ball attached to back of a runner from a non-competing team. If the snitch is caught, the team who caught it automatically wins the match. If the snitch is not caught, the team with the most goals wins. The equipment grant will help the team acquire the unique equipment required for this emerging sport.
“I think (the grant) is validation for us as a club to be the only school recognized nationwide as worthy to receive this grant,” Headmaster of Durmstrang, one of the groups within the club, Andrew Dart said of the grant. “It’s over a thousand dollars worth of material, and it’s what we can use to jumpstart the program and really become a lasting institution at St. Paul’s.”
The grant is generously provided by USQ (US Quidditch) through a rigorous application process undertaken by thousands of schools every season. The grant, referred to as their “Starter Kit” equipment grant, provides gear and equipment for a first year team of over ten players. Necessary equipment ranges from three bludgers for the beaters (those who keep bludgers away from their team) to a set of six goals for the keepers (those who defend the goals). However, Dart hopes the grant will do more than simply provide equipment for the sport.
“It’s an opportunity to play and to grow together as a group,” Dart said. “We have members that range from highly athletic, competitive players that might be in other sports to members that don’t do anything. We have a wide range of the St. Paul’s student body represented in the club, and, as a result, I feel like that’s to our benefit. It brings people from all walks of life.”
After the Quidditch Wolves overcame the first hurdle of obtaining the grant, they were faced with another obstacle. Official rules of the USQ state that there must be at least two people who identify as a gender other than the majority among the six players on the field. Teams of experienced players from around the world have been barred from playing the Quidditch World Cup because of the gender rule.
As an all-boys school, SPS club moderators have been discussing various options to overcome the gender rule. One idea is to have girls from St. Scholastica Academy join the various teams to made up the necessary minority, but that is still in the developing stage.