Quidditch takes flight at CMU

The Carnegie Mellon Quidditch team holds practice on the Cut. (credit: Alan Vangpat/Layout Staff) The Carnegie Mellon Quidditch team holds practice on the Cut. (credit: Alan Vangpat/Layout Staff)

The CMU Marauders are Carnegie Mellon’s newest club sports team on campus — Quidditch. The game of Quidditch is based off the game played in the Harry Potter series. Quidditch consists of players flying on brooms and shooting at hoops high in the air for points, while players hit balls at each other, and one player attempts to catch the Snitch.

The Carnegie Mellon Quidditch team was founded by senior computer science major Shashank Pradhan on the predication that Carnegie Mellon students do not have enough fun. Over 100 colleges across the country have Quidditch teams. Right now the Carnegie Mellon team has about 125 members, although only about 18–20 of them are active participants in the organization.

The game of Quidditch is played very similarly to how it is played in the Harry Potter series. The only real differences are that players in this version do not have the ability to fly, the Golden Snitch is a player, and the bludgers do not fly. There are 14 people on the field, seven per team; the positions are one keeper, one seeker, two beaters, and three chasers. The chasers throw the quaffle, which in the muggle world is a volleyball. They try to throw the quaffle through various hoops that are attached to poles in the ground. The beaters throw bludgers (dodgeballs) at other players, who must freeze if they are hit by one. An adjustment to the scoring of the game is that the Golden Snitch is worth 30 points instead of 150. Instead of a winged ball, the Snitch is a person who wears a flag belt like in flag football and is allowed to run absolutely anywhere. However, they must return to the pitch every five to ten minutes.

The team is currently training for the World Cup in New York, which takes place from Nov. 12–14, in which over 100 teams will be participating. The Carnegie Mellon team plans to have a match against the University of Pittsburgh Quidditch team, which was ranked the No. 7 team in the world at the end of last month.

Captain Don Hood discussed the team’s development: “We are still a really young team,” he said. “We’re working on getting more athletic and strategic. Because it is such a young sport, there are not a lot of strategies in the game yet, so we are trying to figure out what our team dynamic is and getting that team together. We are really just hoping to get our name out there and stick our foot in the door.”

A typical practice for the team includes conducting skills and agility drills with brooms, as well as open scrimmages on Fridays for both members and newcomers.
The team practices from 4:30–6:30 p.m. twice a week out on the Cut.