Quidditch Casts Spell Over Intramurals

If you see students strolling around campus with brooms on their shoulders this fall, don’t fear for your sanity just yet. Believe it or not, Intramural Quidditch is a real sport, and it’s coming to Seattle University in a matter of weeks.

Intercollegiate Quidditch has gained popularity across the nation since its creation by a group of students at Middlebury College in Vermont.

Complete with chasers, beaters and a real, live golden snitch, the game is a unique spin on the magical sport from J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series. In the muggle version of the sport, the chaser’s job is to run up and down the field, scoring 10 points, all the while keeping a broomstick between his or her legs. The beaters stall the other team by using bludgers to temporarily remove opponents from play. In this game, the snitch is not a magical flying ball, but rather a player designated as the snitch runner, whose capture signifies the end of the game.

According to the International Quidditch Association (IQA), a nonprofit founded in 2010, Quidditch is currently played in over 300 universities and high schools throughout North America. Quidditch World Cups were held in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013.

Quidditch has caused quite a buzz among Seattle U students, but it’s just one of many thrilling new additions to the University Recreation Program (U Rec). Intramurals offer Seattle U students, faculty and staff the opportunity to challenge each other in fun and competitive sports. This year, Seattle U added several new sports to the Intramural list, such as Battleship, in which players sit in canoes set up in a pool and try to ‘sink’ opposing ships. Like Quidditch, Battleship is not unique to Seattle U but is one of many trendy sports popping up in colleges across the nation.

According to Blake Simpfenderfer, assistant director of U Rec, the goal of the recent additions to the program is to meet the demands of all students.

“We would love for everyone to participate in some way, shape, or form,” Simpfenderfer said. “We really wanted to try to reach out to the student populations that we weren’t serving, or that maybe aren’t interested in participating in traditional sports.”

Amina Kapusuzoglu, a sophomore at Seattle U who has participated on basketball and Wiffle ball intramural teams, has great things to say about her experience with U Rec.

“It’s nice to have something lower than club just for fun,” said Kapusuzoglu, alluding to the dedication that club and Division I sports require. “There are so many different intramural sports and lots of different tournaments, and there are a lot of opportunities to play.”

In addition to intramural sports, U Rec facilitates club sports. Sport clubs are more competitive teams formed with the goal of competing against other colleges. Seattle U offers 19 club sports, including soccer, rugby, and ice hockey.

Last year was especially exciting for Seattle U club teams. The cycling club, in its second year as an official team, was invited to nationals and the men’s crew team also sent athletes to nationals. At the American Collegiate Rowing Association National Championship Regatta, the Seattle U men’s pair took first place in their heat. Dan Harrison and Chris Schultz, the two athletes in the pair, graduated last year. Both began rowing as freshmen and had attended the national regatta before. Their legacy lives on in the enthusiasm and competitive spirit of the men’s rowing team.

Whatever students might be interested in, Simpfenderfer hopes that everyone will be able to find something that suits their interests through U Rec this year.

“There is literally something for everybody. It doesn’t matter if you played sports your entire life, or never played a day in your life. We have competitive leagues and we have recreational leagues and it’s really about getting out and answering. We realize that we may not offer everything that everybody wants. Intramurals are completely free for faculty, students, and staff to play in. It’s really about getting out and answering the question: ‘How do ‘U Rec?’”