Cal Quidditch League Holds First Tryout

Photo: Aspiring Quidditch team members play on Memorial Glade during Thursday's tryouts. Cal joins over 200 schools with Quidditch teams.
Alexander Ritchie/Photo
Aspiring Quidditch team members play on Memorial Glade during Thursday's tryouts. Cal joins over 200 schools with Quidditch teams.

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UC Berkeley quidditch team forms

The Berkeley Quidditch League came together for their first meeting on Thursday the 18th at Memorial Glade.

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"Muggles" took over Memorial Glade Thursday as onlookers, athletes and fans of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series gathered to try out for the UC Berkeley Quidditch league.

Quidditch, originally a fictional game where players fly on broomsticks, has slowly captured the attention of college students nationwide. To date, there are more than 200 Quidditch collegiate teams in the U.S. alone, according to the the Intercollegiate Quidditch Association Web site.

UC Berkeley is the third UC campus to develop a Quidditch league. Campus rival Stanford University also has a team.

A total of 36 students braved the cold weather and fog to try out for the inaugural squad, composed of the four positions of Seeker, Keeper, Chaser and Beater.

Team co-founder Charlie Strauss, a junior at UC Berkeley, said he decided to start a team after witnessing a Quidditch match on the East Coast.

"I knew people here were dorky enough to join," he said.

Strauss said he was surprised by the large turnout of hopeful teammates, as well as their willingness to employ their imagination to play the game.

"They are definitely enthusiastic," he said.

Quidditch has become a popular sport since its introduction in the Harry Potter series in 1998. The Association was formed in 2007 to help support and organize competitive play, according to its Web site.

Vermont's Middlebury College started a collegiate Quidditch team in 2005, according to the Association. Due to the pioneering work done on the campus for the sport, the Quidditch World Cup, which is supported by the Association, is currently held in Middlebury.

UC Berkeley sophomore Hana Kwon, co-founder of the campus league, said her decision to help Strauss start a Quidditch league came out of her love for the Harry Potter series.

"(Charlie and I) both really like Quidditch and Harry Potter," she said. "A lot of my friends are on teams on the East Coast. We figured 'Why not start a team here?'"

Freshman Julie Ray said she was excited to hear about the opportunity to return to competitive Quidditch.

"I've been wishing (for) a Quidditch club for a long time," she said. "I played in high school. I was usually a Chaser."

Once the game started Thursday, passersby and students gathered to watch the event unfold. Despite the whimsical atmosphere, participants said they were aware of the seriousness of the tryouts.

Freshman Michael Fresh said he came to the event not only for fun but also for the physical intensity of the game.

"(I was told) I'd get to tackle people if I came, so I came," he said. "But I really want to make the team. If I got denied from this, I'd feel pretty shitty."


Kelly Strickland covers student life. Contact her at [email protected]

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