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Bloody brilliant! Quidditch plays first matches

By Nicole Zhao     1/31/12 6:00pm

Students can add one more item to the list of all things unconventional at Rice: Quidditch.

The Rice Quidditch League played against other teams for the first time on Saturday in a scrimmage held at Rice, hosting teams from Baylor University, Louisiana State University and Texas A&M University.

Quidditch was approved as a year-long, co-ed club sport at Rice in April 2011. Each team in a game consists of three chasers, two beaters, a keeper and a seeker. A snitch runner, who is not affiliated with any team, carries a tennis ball representing the snitch inside a sock tucked into his or her waistband.

The chasers score goals, worth 10 points each, by throwing a volleyball representing the quaffle through a hoop. Beaters throw dodgeballs representing bludgers at other players to temporarily remove them from the game. The game does not end until the seeker catches the snitch, which is worth 30 points.

The Quidditch League members thought the scrimmage was a success.

"Our team did fantastic considering we were playing A&M and LSU, which are [ranked in the] top 10 teams in the country," Quidditch Captain Sophie Bonifaz said. "Publicity-wise, it went really great."

President David Leebron, Dean of Undergraduates John Hutchinson, and KHOU and Houston newspaper reporters attended the scrimmage.

The team intends to participate in several more tournaments this spring, including the upcoming Mardi Gras Carnival Cup, scheduled for Feb. 18 in Baton Rouge, LA.

Bonifaz said she hopes the sport will sustain itself for years to come at Rice and that it will have a stronger presence on campus.

"The main reason it's not taken seriously is that it's from Harry Potter, so people say it's not a real sport," Bonifaz said. "The easiest way to convince people is to have them see the game themselves."

To that end, Bonifaz said she has considered holding more visible practices in the quads or events on campus.

Intramural Sports Coordinator Chris Watkins said he decided to sponsor the team because he believed it would be a good addition to the Rice community.

"It seemed like there were many aspects of traditional sports all rolled into one. I could tell that this was going to be something that Rice community would come to really enjoy seeing, as Quidditch is not a traditional sport," Watkins said.

Jones sophomore Nick Semon, who plays on the team, said Quidditch most resembled rugby.

"In some senses it's true that we're a bunch of fans of Harry Potter, and that tends to draw a lot of bookish people who may not be that athletic, but it's been a lot of fun," Brown freshman Rey Amendola-Mayorga said.

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