balls, bludger, brooms, feminism, gender equality, global games 2014, Harry Potter, lgbtq, muggle quidditch, quaffle, quidditch, seeker, snitch, sports, trans equality, transgender, transgender rights, Vancouver
We found out about it totally by accident.
We were at an indoor play gym as part of our constant battle to keep our little extrovert entertained on the weekend. PH picked up a local paper to flip through while we sat in the overwhelmingly loud atmosphere.
“Hey, the Quidditch Global Games are in Vancouver,” he said.
“Like, where people run around on brooms?” I said.
“Oh, we need to see that. When is it.”
He scanned the article. “Today!”
So we packed Owl in the car and headed down to see.
It took us a while to find it. International competition not withstanding, the Quidditch Global Games had not attracted a large crowd. Most of the spectators were family and friends of the players.
We were geeking out.
“They have MERCHANDISE!” I said, running over to the booth. There were shirts from many of the international teams. After much hemming and hawing I bought shirt from the Mexican team, where were newcomers this year and could only afford to bring half of their team.
The shirt says “Viva Quidditch, cabrones!” and really, how often do you get a chance to buy a shirt that says (loosely translated) “long live Quidditch, bitches!” in Spanish?
We showed up at the perfect time, because Canada was just starting their match against Australia. We watched as all players bowed their head while the “Snitch” – a heavyset dude in yellow with a sock hanging out of the back of his pants – ran off of the field to hide.
When the Snitch was out of a sight, a whistle blew and all hell broke loose. The players grabbed their brooms, mounted them, and then fought to get a “Quaffle” (which, confusingly, was white) through the other team’s hoops. Since they were all holding onto their brooms, all throwing and catching was done one handed.
It all sounds pretty silly, until you watch it played.
This sport is FULL BODY CONTACT, guys. They were tackling each other like mad. We saw at least one person carted off of the field in a stretcher, and several more down for a good 5-10 minute count. This isn’t about some silly geeks LARPing in a soccer field. It’s like Rugby with extra balls and literary roots.
While Chasers fought one-handed over the Quaffle, Beaters were throwing dodge balls at the players. Whenever one of them got tagged by a “bludger” they had to dismount and run back and touch their hoops before they could re-enter play.
After 18 minutes the Snitch returned to the pitch and then the play became (if possible) even more intense. The seekers tried to tackle the Snitch, who wasn’t afraid to knock them down repeatedly, while opposing team members tried to interfere with play. Meanwhile, the Chasers are still trying to get the Quaffle through the hoops while also helping out their Seeker.
You don’t even know what to watch – keep your eyes on the Snitch and miss another incredible goal? Or watch the Quaffle and miss the capturing of the Snitch?
We were able to stay long enough to watch Canada come in third. We had to take Owl home to bed before the final match, which the USA ended up winning (Muggle Quidditch originated in the U.S, and the page for the international association is actually called USquidditch.com, which bothers me. Hopefully as international teams increase, there will be a truly international page set up).
Some friends of ours who are both sporty AND geeky also came out to watch.
“Why don’t we play this?” one of them asked.
PH has been missing sports in his life for many years.
In his high school yearbook, you can find his face in pretty much every team photo. Soccer, baseball, football, curling… he did it all.
In University he refereed several sports. But it’s surprisingly hard to get involved in sports here. There’s a big population and a lot of demand. When we moved to B.C. he tracked down the local baseball league and was rejected several times – they just didn’t have room for more players.
He did curling for a year or two, but since he had to take what he could get, he was shunted onto a team of lackluster players who he never quite jived with. He gave up in frustration after two seasons.
So then he decided to try refereeing. He got qualified as a soccer referee, but was only every called out to a few games, earning a grand total of a hundred dollars over a whole season. The next year they only called once. He didn’t bother re-certifying the next year.
Last year he decided to get certified as a softball referee. It cost us $150 and they never called him at all.
Quidditch, on the other hand, could be a whole other ball game.
PH tracked down a Quidditch referee to ask how he could get involved and they practically leaped on him. Turns out that there was a team in Burnaby that was looking for players, and they are short on referees.
By the time we left the field he had exchanged emails with several people and they were hoping to see him on the Quidditch pitch next Saturday. Today he downloaded the 150 page rule book and began memorizing it.
Quidditch rules, by the way, are awesome.
Not only is it a delightfully geeky and yet truly challenging sport to play, it is also heartwarmingly unlike other sports.
Besides being the only sport to involve multiple balls in play at once, the International Quidditch Association is dedicated to inclusivity and equality.
Teams MUST be co-ed, and it specifically addresses transgender issues in the rulebook. The co-ed rule reads:
Each team [is] to have at least two players on the field who identify with a different gender than at least two other players. The gender that a player identifies with is considered to be that player’s gender, which may or may not be the same as that person’s sex.
That is AWESOME.
The rule goes on to acknowledge that some players may not identify as male OR female, and that is okay, too.
If that rule wasn’t enough to make Perfect Husband and I fall head over heels in love with Quidditch (we consider ourselves ardent LGBTQ allies), our hearts were entirely won over when we learned that Quidditch also had a decree called Title 9 3/4 (a play on Title IX) which is devoted specifically to gender equality in the sport.
It’s so awesome, and I’m proud that PH is getting involved. I can cheer on Quidditch in a way that I just can’t with other sports. The literary roots of the sport generate some interest in me, and the gender-equality factor makes me want to support it.
I can’t wait to attend more games.
Nicki Hunt said:
This is wonderful, I genuinely believe and hope that this could be the first step in PH’s recovery from his recent sadness. Something new like this sounds just the ticket to get him feeling positive again. I also hope you are beginning to recover from your strange illness. I have my fingers firmly crossed for both of you xxx
THIS.SOUNDS.AWESOME. Why would it be so hard for most major sports to adopt the same rules about inclusivity? It’s not that hard- and these people do it while playing everything one-handed!
You could say that made a massive strike for equality SINGLE HANDEDLY
This sounds awesome and fun. Rugby with extra balls and BROOMSTICKS? FUN!
Sounds absolutely fantastic! 🙂
So much win! 😀 It would be awesome if PH could get something sporty to do, because from what you say, it sounds like he really misses it. Hope everything goes really well and good luck!
Next month, I’ll be attending an IRL-gathering for an online HP roleplaying game, and we’re supposed to be playing quidditch there. 🙂
Be prepared to be body slammed!
Nah, we’ve done it before, it was pretty tame. 🙂 I’m also not planning on playing, because I hate sports … and I have a foot inflammation, which gives me some kind of legitimate excuse to abstain. 😉
Eh yup that would be a good reason
I play quidditch in the US, and I’m pretty sure the reason the IQA webpage is under US quidditch is because they just changed the way administration worked. I don’t follow quidditch politics very closely, but, from what I understand, the European teams were feeling ignored by the IQA, so a separate administration was set up to govern quidditch outside of North America.
It’s gratifying to see someone appreciate the physicality required to play quidditch 🙂 It’s hard to recruit serious athletes, because so many people think it’s a bunch of nerds goofing off, and not a real sport. University of Texas has the most dominant team because every player is in crazy good shape.
You would need to be!
Yep! The international quidditch association is currently going through a transition. There will hopefully soon be international stuff available! (The new iqa is currently in the process of forming… who knows what’s going on with that) Meanwhile, I encourage your husband to check out @quidditchcanada on twitter and refdevelopment.com
(I’m a ref in the states, the international referee development program (irdp) know their shit. So of course, the states does their own thing)
This is a brilliant and positive article, thank you! 🙂
As mentioned above, the iqa site is under construction and should be out within days.
Quidditch has a beautiful, involving and rich community – I’m very glad you want to become a part of it. Welcome!
It’s an awesome sport, I play in the UK. The previous comment about the international page being a US page is because we’re in the middle of a transition. The old International Quidditch Association (IQA) was found to be too US centred so they have no become the USQ, and a new IQA has been founded with a new logo and new website, which has a congress of players from around the globe. The websites are confusing at the moment as the transition is ongoing. So Quidditch is growing on the global stage, in fact you’re seeing it happen right now!!
As a Canadian quidditcher/coach who follows/is marginally involved in the politics, the USQ and IQA split on July 1. The old IQA was basically functioning as the USQA anyways, and they ignored not only the European teams but also to some extent the Canadians, so the system of a true international body with representation from all countries then national bodies governing the sport will hopefully solve a lot of those problems. The IQA is currently in the process of creating its constitution and getting members organized into its congress. Until July 1, the USQ website was actually the IQA’s website so all the information remained on that page (it bothers every single international person I talked to on the weekend, too, so I’m glad that’s not just us!). I really, really hope the IQA will be able to get their own website up and running soon.
Also, thanks so much for coming out and supporting the team, we all appreciated it so much, having everyone cheering for Canada was PHENOMENAL and we couldn’t believe the support we saw 🙂
Sounds awesome – I know My husband would love to get involved in the international body. He’s a genius (like got into Mensa level) and good at rules. Hopefully he’ll be able to help build the brave new world of Quidditch!
A good first step would be to contact the membership department or the director of Quidditch Canada (find it on facebook, people are still working on the website!) and go from there – Quidditch Canada is just starting out as a national organization and would love to have some dedicated volunteers on the west coast 🙂
Gorik Verbeken said:
This article is heartwarming ^^ not sure if you know this, but a ton of the GG players and players here in Belgium find it a good and positive read 😀 Ty for coming out! See you next time! 😀
Belgium has AWESOME jerseys. Definitely the best outfits. If they had had a black shirt I would have bought theirs in a heart beat. But the only Belgium one was red and if I bought it I would look like a tomato.
Make sure your PH gets some playing experience, but most of our referees are players (though some are not) so his background could be really helpful! When he is ready to learn more, have him email chris(dot)beesley(at)quidditchcanada(dot)com and I am sure his input will be appreciated!
I think he and Chris are already in touch and he’s looking forward to attending a practice in Burnaby this weekend!
I’m surprised Chris didn’t let him goal ref!
Kym Couch said:
Hey! Just wanted to explain the USQuidditch thing for you.
Up until July 1st of this year, USQ was known as the IQA. However, non-American players had difficulty being involved and felt that they were not properly represented. Because of this, the IQA was renamed to USQ and a new entity known as the IQA was formed to better foster non-American quidditch. The IQA does not yet have a website, but they were the ones running Global Games (for the most part) and will have a stronger presence as quidditch builds in other countries.
Other countries are also forming their own quidditch associations such as the Australian Quidditch Association and Canada Quidditch. Some of these associations are just getting on their feet, so they aren’t seen too much yet.
Hope that clears it up! 🙂
We’d love to be on the ground floor of that!
Kym Couch said:
I recommend you start joining some quidditch facebook groups immediately! 🙂
The IQA website turned into the USQ website because the former IQA now USQ staff all live in the US. If you put countless hours into making that website, wouldn’t you want to retain that work as your own? Of course you would. Now the new IQA will form and they will make their own website. You can’t complain about the USQ making the website theirs if they’re doing all the work with quidditch. If it wasn’t for the US, no one would be playing quidditch today because the people who made it a reality are all from the US. So please, give credit where credit is due.
I am in no way decrying the work done in the US for Quidditch. It’s just confusing when you live in Canada and are trying to find non-us information but keep getting redirected to something named US Quidditch. Until last weekend we didn’t even know that you could play it outside the US. I am sure the new iqa will help clear up the confusion.
Also usq’s tech person who made the website quit….
Also the writer knew nothing about the split until literally our comments. USQ didn’t handle this transition in a particularly sane manner, leading to confusion such as this.
It sounds like it is all still in the process of being worked out. The global games still looked great to me!
Yep, it is.
I’m glad it looked great!
I definitely am not denying anyone any credit. I just found it confusing. Did you see how much I love the rules? No blame game happening here.
US Quidditch is actually new, to replace the IQA in order to promote a truly international organization (which the IQA wasnt) so now there’s the USQ and the IQA, separate things, they just haven’t changed the website all the way.
So I’m gathering! Nice of everyone to come help clear up the confusion.
It’s an awesome post, and we’re all sharing it on Facebook!
Apparently! My stats are booming here but my actual Facebook page is silent so I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from!
This is the best post on quidditch from someone outside the quidditch community that I’ve ever read!
USQ used to be the International Quidditch Association, actually. But the international teams have separated because it was very hard to represent everyone well since there are so few international teams in relation to the number of US teams. But Canada has a pretty solid community, so they’re probably the most organized and team-populated country outside of the US.
Calvin Ng said:
Hey! I was one of the people who spoke to your husband! We missed you guys today! The Burnaby Boggarts practice out of Central Park by Patterson Skytrain Station from 11-1 every Saturday. Join our Facebook group too (Search “burnaby boggarts”)!
Thanks we have! We couldn’t make the practice today – something came up – but he’s looking forward to next week!
Calvin Ng said:
There is actually a tournament happening down in bellingham on August 16th. Search “Northwest Fantasy Quidditch Tournament” for details. Another chance to catch the game in action, even if you come for the day!
As awesome as the gender-inclusive rule is, the way it’s phrased ended up shutting down women-only teams, such as the one at Wellesley, a women’s college: http://onlyslightly.tumblr.com/post/33119930573/quidditch-gender-problems
Since women-only teams are canon, and the original intent of the IQA ruling was to stop men from dominating the sport, the rule is really creating problems.
Worth it, in my opinion.
Wow. So you think it’s worth it that a policy that was supposed to bring MORE women in to the sport has resulted in women’s teams being shut down?
I am willing to sacrifice women-only teams in order to eliminate men-only teams. It sucks for your particular group of women but overall has a more gender positive attitude.
There are lots of sports that have women-only teams and lots of sports that have men-only teams. And you know who gets coverage? The men teams. No one thinks women can do sports. By enforcing a rule that makes sure that there are SOME women on EVERY team, women overall will get more coverage than if you divided the genders.
Besides, I am a true feminist in that I believe in equality of the sexes, and that means that I would prefer NO division of the sexes.
A women-only teams is as sexist as a male only team and if I want to eradicate male only teams I am willing to sacrifice women only teams. Yes, there are woman only teams in Harry Potter but on the other hand, sexism doesn’t seem to be as much of a problem in the potter verse. They judge people based on birth, not gender. Here in reality, there would be far more man only teams than woman only teams formed and women would once again be a minority.
I am sorry your university is women-only but I am sure you can find a couple of men to join your team and play on non-college ground.
Furthermore, I know Wellesley probably isn’t booming with them, but you could probably find a couple of students who is gender neutral or a trans man (according to this article, there should be several at Wellesley: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/06/transgender_students_at_women_s_colleges_wellesley_smith_and_others_confront.2.html ). They could then all come from your university but still qualify to play according to the wonderful inclusive Quidditch rules.
And again, if you can’t drum up enough trans men, find somewhere off campus to play and recruit a couple of men, trans or otherwise.
It’s not causing problems worse than the problem we’d have if the rule didn’t exist. The team is gonna need male players obviously from outside of the school. Other schools recruit players all the time who don’t even attend the school. Unless the problem is that they want an all girl team as well, in which case sorry not sorry.
See, if you’d bothered to read the discussion, you’d have seen that the team in question is at an all-women college. If they wanted to use college grounds to play, they had to be a registered student organization, meaning that only students could be members. So now, the rule that was created to bring MORE women in to the sport has resulted in women being thrown OUT.
Hattie, I have edited out your last sentence and ask you to keep any further comments you make respectful and hate-free.
It’s okay to be angry but I don’t like hate speech in any form.
Pingback: Mommied-Out, Or, Someone Needs To Grow Up And That Person May Be Me | If By Yes