This Saturday and Sunday, a group of athletes from Canisius College, Buffalo State College, Daemen College and the University at Buffalo will be competing in a very unique kind of championship tournament: the Quidditch World Cup.
The competition will be held in New York City on November 13 and 14 and includes over 40 schools, from Harvard to Texas Tech. Buffalo’s team, the Ives Pond Quidditch Club, will take on Lafayette College at 10 a.m., East Michigan University at 12:30 p.m. and Yale University at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. Their performance on Saturday will determine whether they move into the next round on Sunday. They expect over 10,000 people to be in attendance.
The Ives Pond Quidditch Club team, which was the first team in Western New York, began with several students from St. Joe’s. After graduating high school, many of the team’s members headed to different colleges and started teams there. Michael D’Angelo and Patrick Daigler, who remained in Buffalo, decided to start a team at UB. According to team member James Maska, the team had trouble gaining interest last year, so they decided to open the club up to students of any of the area colleges. Though they changed the name of the club to QC Buffalo, they compete as the Ives Pond Quidditch Club as a tribute to the first team in Western New York.
The team practices every week, weather permitting, at Ives Park in Tonawanda. This year is the first year that they have started competing with other colleges on a semi-regular basis, going up against University of Rochester, Cornell and Geneseo. They also plan on hosting an eight-team intercollegiate tournament at the Buffalo Flurrious Winter Festival at Delaware Park this coming January.
Despite how unusual the sport may seem to some, it has a certain appeal to these athletes. “Quidditch is not just for Harry Potter fans,” said Maska. “For example, I’ve only read three and a half of the books, but I remembered enough about the sport to give it a shot last year at UB and I’ve been hooked since. It’s rugby and dodgeball with a little basketball, what’s not to like?” Maska added that the team members’ history as varsity athletes in other sports has given them great chemistry as a quidditch team.
Maska gave the following as a description for how the game is played (for those who aren’t familiar with the sport):
“Quidditch in muggle-form requires you to have a broom between your legs at all times. Each team defends a set of three goals of different height at each end. There are three chasers (forwards), two beaters (defense), a seeker (looks for the snitch), and a keeper per team. The chasers’ goal is to move a volleyball down the field and score by throwing it through one of the three goals at the other end. The beaters’ objective is to stop the chasers by hitting them with dodgeballs, and if successful, the chasers have to drop the ball and run back to their goals to become active again. The seekers have to look for the snitch, which is usually a distance runner dressed in all yellow with a sock in the back of his shorts, who is allowed to leave the field as he wishes. If the seekers grab the sock, the game ends. A keeper defends the goals. That’s as simple as I can make it!”
The games this weekend can be streamed live from www.internationalquidditch.org. Those interested in learning more about the sport, its rules and the World Cup competition can visit the International Quidditch Association website or check out the following video. For more information about QC Buffalo and photos from practices, visit their Facebook page. Those interested in joining can contact James Maska, club president Michael D’Angelo.