Village One green was host to a strange sight Oct. 17 as UW hosted its first quidditch tournament. The Dragon Challenge Quidditch tournament had 10 teams from Ontario and Quebec take part alongside the Waterloo Ridgebacks. </p>
Based on the Harry Potter books, the sport started in 2005 at the Middleburg College in Vermont. The sport has evolved to have an International Quidditch Association, which governs the rules. The Waterloo Ridgebacks have been a competitive team under the Waterloo Quidditch Program Athletics Club since Fall 2013. According to the team website they are ranked third in the 2014/15 Quidditch Canada rankings.
The Ridgebacks played four games during the tournament ending with a 2-2 record. The first team they faced was Guelph, which took the victory by catching the snitch and scoring 30 points to make the final score 80-70. Their second opponent was University of Montreal (UdeM) who also defeated the Ridgebacks by catching the snitch, making the final score 100-80 for UdeM.
According to Ridgebacks team captain Courtney Butler; “[the] first two games were a learning experience for the new players. There is such a big difference between scrimmaging in practice and actually playing a live game. Both of our first two games were against strong teams, Guelph and the University of Montreal.”
The Ridgebacks turned their luck around against the Maple Rush, University of Ottawa’s ‘B’ team. Maple Rush managed to catch the snitch, but it was not enough as the Ridgebacks had opened up a lead of 80 points. The final score in the Ridgebacks’ first victory of the day was 120-70. Butler noted that the victory was important as it built up the team’s confidence for the last game.
The final opponent of the tournament for the Ridgebacks was Valhalla, a veteran community team from Toronto. It was a close match and the Ridgebacks’ best match according to Butler. The Ridgebacks won the game when they caught the snitch, taking the 30 points with it and making the final score 180-160.
“We wanted the win so badly. Everyone worked very hard, and held the defense extremely well. Our fast breaks allowed us to put up points, but the game was still too close for either team to get ahead by very much. When it came down to it, our beaters were consistent in stopping their seeker, allowing for our seeker, Jon Keates, to really go for it and grab the snitch tail,” said Butler. “It was a sweet win, and a great way to end the day on such a high note. The difference between the first game of the day and the last was a complete 180. Each player learned a lot, and adapted quickly to how quick the game flows.”
Hosting a tournament was an important step in the development of the team. Butler noted that as a relatively new team they are working on becoming known in the quidditch world.
“I think being able to host 10 teams from across Ontario and Quebec showed the Canadian quidditch scene just how far we have come in only two short years. It was awesome being able to have all of these great teams on our home turf, and to be able to expose quidditch to our own campus and spread the word throughout Waterloo,” said Butler. “All in all I think it was a great success, and we loved having everyone.”
Butler was attracted to quidditch by the unique combination of elements that it has, and was quickly drawn in by the competitiveness of the sport and the community.
“Once I was thrown into my first game that I realized just how competitive, aggressive, and challenging the sport really was. It made me want to get better, and build a team that could stay competitive with some of the top teams,” said Butler. “The sport is great, but the community of people who are invested in the sport is what really makes it that much better. Our team is a little family, and we always have each others backs.”