University of Calgary

Join The Club

Submitted by alumni on Wed, 05/20/2015 - 10:00.

Join The Club

Some 17,000 students currently participate in UCalgary’s “club scene.” From Quidditch teams to origami groups, discover what’s driving this boom.
by Mike Fisher | Photography by Jim Wells

Brains meet brawn at the Quidditch Club

How to join Quidditch ClubCheck the university club calendar:

It’s a brisk sunny day on the Quidditch pitch for the Mudbloods, as students run and shout with brooms between their legs, making the growing sport look almost graceful.

“You want to make sure when you pass to a person that it’s in front of them and easy to grab,” says Mudbloods Head Coach Karissa Nyman (fourth-year BSc student), trying to catch her breath after running a catch-and-pass drill near the Olympic Oval. “I have to concentrate on which arm I use to catch. It’s a lot harder than it looks.” Behind her, teammates try another drill, but it goes sideways and they break into laughter.

The Mudbloods are the competitive team representing UCalgary’s Quidditch Club, one of a handful of such teams in Alberta.

Born from the Harry Potter universe, but now played at colleges and universities across North America, Quidditch matches two teams of seven players riding flying (well, tucked between their legs — no magic is required in this version) broomsticks. There are four balls in play (a Quaffle, three Bludgers and a Golden Snitch) and the object is to score with the balls through three hoops placed at either end of the field.

If it sounds complicated, that’s because it is, so it is no surprise that the sport often attracts intellectually minded students who can embrace both athletics and, well, their inner nerd.

“There’s an aspect of fun nerdiness here that’s hard to find with other sports,” says Nyman, a neuroscience major headed to medical school who is an accomplished athlete in rugby and basketball. “It’s co-ed, too, so there are elements of gender equality and inclusivity that I really like. Both the Mudbloods and the sport are super-accepting.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Quidditch Club grew out of a Harry Potter club two years ago, starting with a few Mudbloods players and now numbering more than 20, says founding member Nyman. It has a Students’ Union side with social events weekly or biweekly throughout the term, and it’s been involved with the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, doing panels and demonstrations where they rub shoulders with the occasional film-series cast member.

“We have an open, accepting community where we can just be ourselves,” says team member and master’s student Michael Wanless. “We’ve been able to make a lot of friends here.”