By Jeremy McDonald
I believe that the sport of Quidditch will become the next big thing like MMA.
Yeah that’s funny to say considering we’ve seen it in Harry Potter and we imagine the traditional ‘nerd’ to play it, and I had those some thoughts about it.
Or at least this past weekend when I went, observed and talked to people playing the sport during the Northwest Regional Tournament in Salem, Oregon.
When I first got there, I have to admit I wasn’t impressed as I saw the Rain City Raptors dominant another team in near-shutout fashion and thought ‘this sport lasted this long?’
10 years to be exact and still going strong.
But here’s what got me to buy into the sport.
Having to change the format of the tournament because of people sinking in the mud and worried about athlete safety, US Quidditch personnel decided to split it up for those wanting a bid to the National Qualifying Tournament and those just wanting to have fun.
Watching and covering the Qualifying Bracket, these guys were going after it. Talent was equal, aggressiveness was there, team’s had to scout and come up with strategies on the run as everyone tried to beat the setting sun to get a tournament winner and the three teams to go on to the next bracket before the sun set.
Imagine the basis of Rugby, the tackling and shedding of tackles. Mix that with dodgeball as your trying to stiff arm a tackler and avoid a dodgeball.
Add the element of soccer with athleticism and sprinting if you do get hit by that dodgeball and running to your post and back before the other team drives your way. Not to mention the element of a goalie from soccer that you have to work around to get the ball into a hoop.
All of this with one hand on a small pole, a ‘broomstick’, and your essentially playing with one hand for the most part.
Still nerdy? Yeah perhaps. But a lot of these guys were part of other sports before joining Quidditch, i.e. football or a traditional sport, or have been playing this sport at a traditional sport-clip for years and want this sport to grow into a serious thing.
I found myself entering the Championship match between the Rain City Raptors and the Boise State University Abraxans talking strategies and very interested in seeing two well-matched squads go to war with each other.
During the match I was even on the edge of my figurative seat as I was taking notes, taking pictures, watching these teams trade blows in goals and trying to knock each other out of the game physically.
The game was even stop for several minutes because of a hard hit by goal to a BSU player and the refs debating how to penalize Rain City for it.
Ultimately Boise State won the battle by 60 points (each goal is 10 points and to end the game you have to catch the snitch which is 30 points.)
Speaking of the snitch, imagine trying to play flag football with all of this chaos going on. Youtube a match and see what I mean with all of this.
So, going back to what I mention to start. Quidditch will be like the MMA and maybe as big as our traditional sports in the years to come. It’s just in it’s 10th year and growing rapidly, (the NW Regional Tournament is in it’s second year and slowly getting better from what I’ve heard with better competition).
Though I went in there with one opinion, I came out with another. Go support local Quidditch and keep an open mind.
If you’ll like to read my story on the Championship Story to see how intense some of these games were here is the link to that: https://jmcdonaldmedia.com/2016/02/06/boise-state-universitys-abraxans-wins-nw-quidditch-regional-tourney/