Here’s a chance for you to support our California Golden Bears...and our athlete-students!
Cal Quidditch just made their first World Cup! Now they’re hoping to raise funds to get to Florida to participate in the event. They’re closing in on $2000, but they could use a little extra bump to find their way to the Cup. To learn how to donate to Cal Quidditch, click here for the Generosity link and read more about what the Bears need!
Quidditch Cup 10 is taking place in Kissimmee, Florida; travel costs are impossibly expensive for most people, and once we arrive, the team must also pay for lodging and tournament fees. As college students, most of us can't easily afford those expenses, and we can't and won't deprive any player of the opportunity to play quidditch on the nation's biggest stage for financial reasons.
Any amount that you contribute will help the team immeasurably.
Thank you so much for your support, and thank you so much for helping us turn Kissimmee into Bear Territory.
To learn more about the Cal Quidditch team (and college quidditch in general), we chatted with Cal Quidditch captain Connor Hughes, who happily took some time to answer all of our questions about the sport, the team, and the mission for a Cup.
Connor here, I am the captain of Cal Quidditch for this season. Thanks so much for helping us out by creating this article! We're really hyped about the amount of interest our team has been getting! I'll do my best to answer the questions--let me know if you want longer answers or want to ask different questions... I like talking about quidditch, ha. Here goes nothing...
How was the Cal Quidditch team formed? What are its origins?
To be honest, don't know a whole lot about the origins. The first couple years Cal was consistently in the national championship tournament but that was when Quidditch was much less competitive. Once it really started to take off and become a real sport (strategy, more physical contact), Cal sort of became a non-factor. It wasn't until last year that we started to be somewhat competitive. Last year and again this year we qualified for the National Quidditch Cup--a tournament a team must get to by finishing high at their regional championship. This is a pretty big deal, and really shows how much we have improved: in 2015, we did not win a game at regionals. Ugh,
How do the rules of human quidditch differ from Harry Potter Quidditch?
Honestly, the muggle quidditch creators did a pretty good job translating the game to real-life. Other than the obvious things--we can't fly and the balls aren't magically bewitched--the rules are pretty darn similar. It is full contact like in the books, and teams are co-ed. We still have to get around on brooms, albeit in between our legs while running instead of flying. Smaller changes have to do with scoring--in muggle quidditch the snitch is worth 30 points, compared to 150 in the books. In addition, the snitch doesn't come into play until 18 minutes have passed; in the books, it is released right at the beginning.
What are the main positions of Cal Quidditch. Are there different strategies or plays you run to score?
Wooo, that's a big question. The first part is easy to answer: there are four main positions in quidditch. They are:
- Keeper--the main defender of the hoops and normally the player bringing the ball up on offense.
- Chaser--players throwing, catching, and shooting the quaffle (volleyball). along with the keeper, they are the only players allowed to score through the hoops
- Beaters-players throwing around bludgers (dodgeballs) at other players. If hit, those players have to get off their broom and run to their own hoops before returning to play. Major strategy here.
- Seekers--players whose only goal is to catch the "snitch (a third party running around with a ball in a sock attached to their shorts--think flag football sort of)
There is so much strategy in quidditch it is actually crazy. With the addition of beaters and their abilities--taking players out of the play by sending them back to their hoops--it is hard to create set plays or x's and o's. The game is really fluid. That's not to say there isn't strategy, though. You can play aggressively and send your beaters on offense to create passing and driving lanes, or you can keep them more defensive and make sure the other team can't drive after a goal or turnover. Chasers can be setting picks or making runs to get open. There are four beaters on pitch--two on each team--and only three bludgers. This means one team will have a major advantage; one extra bludger than the other team. This is called "bludger control". Thus, beaters have to be worrying about two things: defending/helping score the quaffle and also keeping/trying to attain bludger control.
It's super hard to score when you re going against a team with two bludgers. Likewise, its relatively easy to score when you have control of the bludgers. Thus, there is major strategy changes depending on how many bludgers you have. Teams tend to play slower and try and pass around waiting for their beaters to gain control when on offense.
That's super surface level strategy. Let me know if you have any questions (you can email the Quidditch team at captains.calquidditch at gmail to learn more)!
How do you join the Cal quidditch team? What is the try-out process like?
It's easy! Come on out! Anyone can practice with us--we have newcomers and veterans at most practices. The only real "try-out" we have is when choosing our travel teams. At local tournaments we usually send two teams of 21 people, but at long distance tournaments, we only have the resources to send one team. Thus, we have to make some decisions based on what we, as captains, see on the pitch from everyone. That is to say that there is no formal "try out" throughout the year--people can come up and down the travel teams depending on how they've been playing/practicing.
Some people on our team never want to compete and are only there for the fun practices, others take it super seriously! There's a place for everyone.
How big is your active roster? How do you decide who is most capable for which position? Does everyone rotate?
Whoops, sort of answered this in other answers. Our traveling team is 21 players. It's fluid throughout the year; if people have shown great improvement they may have started not on the team and now made their way on. Most players play set positions--they always play chaser, or always play beater, etc. A few players are more flex and can step up to different positions. At long tournaments with lots of injuries, our roster can dwindle and players have to step up to different positions. It all depends.
What are the most important skills one should learn to be a good quidditch player? Is there a coach or captain in charge of identifying talent? What are your practice drills like to get better at the sport?
Hmmm, this one's hard. There are simple things like being able to catch a ball thrown at any pace anywhere near your body; good hands are essential for all positions. But there's also more nuanced things; having a good quidditch IQ is vital once we get to larger, more competitive tournaments. It normally takes new players a couple months to really get a grip on the game--it's confusing! We are constantly learning new strategies.
That being said, people who have played team sports on a field before can normally step onto the pitch a little more comfortable at the beginning. Lots of our travel team members played soccer, field hockey, football, or basketball in high school. Good field vision is essential.
We do have a captain/coach. Right now, that's me. But overall, we have a lot of people who know the game well who give input on what they're seeing at practice. I definitely couldn't do it alone. Right now, I have another "captain in training" who will be taking on full duties next season with me; it's a huge help having another person making these decisions.
Drill wise we do lots of things. The most classic quidditch drill is what we call a 3v2. Essentially, it is three offensive chasers vs a keeper and beater. The offense wants to score and the defense wants to gain possession. It's a pretty valuable drill, actually. It's good for the chasers to work on passing and drawing the beater out of possession; it's good for the beater to work on fake throwing and forcing the chaser to make bad passes or shots. We do this before every game.
Other drills are ones we've taken from other sports. We have lots of hands drills we have taken from football. We have tackling drills from football and rugby. We have some possession drills from soccer. It's a real mix.
You recently made the Quidditch World Cup. How can Cal fans help in getting your team to Orlando?
Money... I know that's a sucky answer, but it's the truth. We're college students, we don't have a whole lot of disposable income. These tournaments are expensive--lodging, travel, tournament and referee fees. This year we had to travel to Arizona for the regional championship, so we already have a pretty depleted bank account.
Our biggest expense for this tournament is just flights. It's during a time for spring break for lots of colleges and we are going to Florida. That's an expensive time to fly.
We have lots of different fundraising opportunities/we're really up for anything. We have a crowdfunding page right now where people can donate different amounts and get different rewards; things as simple as a Cal Quidditch jersey or shirt, but also some fun rewards like cutting my hair or choosing any tattoo design you want for one of our players to get. Yup, that's a real thing. We really want to go and are willing to put permanent ink into our bodies for it.
Have children? We put on birthday parties for all ages. We can do anything you'd like, from real competitive quidditch matches and tutorials, to a magical spell-binding party for the younger crowds. It's a lot of fun.
What would be your sales pitch to a student on joining Cal Quidditch? What's the best way for an alumni or someone older to play quidditch?
Its a pretty easy pitch, to be honest. Who wouldn't want to play? Want to live out you Harry Potter fantasies? Join us. Want to throw dodgeballs at your friends and tackle your enemies? Join us. We have something for everyone.
If you're an alumni/middle aged/retired/old as heck, still come out and play with us! Our practices are open to anyone--we have some Cal alumni who already play. We'd love to see some more people out there!