They are neither witches nor wizards, but the Texas State Quidditch team has mastered the game, representing the U.S. in a globally loved sport.
Two students and an alumnus went from playing quidditch together in San Marcos to representing the U.S. during the 2018 International Quidditch Association World Cup. The World Cup was held June 30 and July 1 in Ireland. Team U.S.A. included economics senior and Texas State Quidditch President, Bailee Fields ,and Texas State alumnus Jackson Johnson.
Quidditch has become popular since the 2010 nonprofit organization of U.S. Quidditch was established. The sport gained supporters overseas and in 2012, the first international tournament was held, which led to the biannual IQA World Cup. This year, the U.S. National Team won its third IQA World Cup title.
Fields said she admits those who are unfamiliar to the sport may laugh and question how serious it actually is.
Johnson said it is sometimes easier to say they play soccer, but for those who have seen a quidditch game and know the rules acknowledge it as a major sport.
Quidditch is the mixture of rugby, dodgeball and tag, with the added element of broomsticks. It is as close to the “Harry Potter” movie version as possible in a world without magic.
Each team is co-ed with seven players on each team. That includes one seeker, three chasers, two beaters and one keeper. The seeker is identified with a yellow headband and is after the snitch, who is a runner with a tail all dressed in yellow. Upon catching the snitch’s tail, the seeker gains 30 points.
The chasers are identified with white headbands and try to get the quaffle, which is represented by a volleyball. If they get the quaffle in one of the three hoops of their opposing team, the goal is worth 10 points.
The beaters are identified with black headbands and aim to set back the other team with three bludgers, represented by dodge balls. The last person on the team is the keeper, guarding the hoops, similar to a soccer goalie.
“Just try (quidditch) and you will see how fun it is,” Tim Nguyen, player for Team Vietnam, said. “There are so many elements to it and the people are great. If you gave it a try you’d probably really love it, and it’s very inclusive.”
This year was Vietnam’s first time participating in the Quidditch World Cup. It had three Americans on the team, Nguyen included. He was recruited by Team Vietnam’s captain. They ended up being the placing 15 overall.
The U.S. team is slightly more competitive to join. It requires an essay, letter of recommendation and footage. According to Johnson, a year round standing U.S. team is in the works, and both Johnson and Fields said they hope to be on it.
“We get to play with the people we normally compete with at the national level, and it was really cool to be on the same team and put our differences aside,” Johnson said.
This summer, Johnson and Fields will continue playing Quidditch with the Austin Outlaws in Major League Quidditch.
Johnson said he plans on starting in his club team, composed of Texas State alumni in the coming year. Nguyen said he is planning on joining the team.
Fields said the central Texas area is known for having a strong Quidditch scene and plans on continuing the sport because of the positive impact it has on her life.
“It has provided me with all my closest friends, travel opportunities, job opportunities, leadership opportunities and has brought me a community I am very grateful for,” Fields said.
The next World Cup will be held in 2020, and all three players are planning on earning spots on their respective teams again.
To keep up-to-date with Texas State Quidditch, check out their Facebook page.