BYU students live their quidditch dreams

Ben Kocher chases the snitch, which is UVU student Kraig Hendricks with a tennis ball strapped to his waist. Photo courtesy Tim Mason

Some BYU students find relief from the stresses of school and work by working out, eating out or hanging out out with friends. Now, however, students can de-stress while simultaneously turning their “Harry Potter” dreams into a reality by playing quidditch.

“I feel like I’m in the books a little bit,” said Sara Pennepacker, a BYU student and the equipment manager for her quidditch group.

Though some may think quidditch doesn’t exist outside of the “Harry Potter” world, the International Quidditch Association, or IQA, has been hosting quidditch competitions around the world since 2010.

One day, Casey Beres, a teacher at the BYU English Language Center, got the idea to start her own quidditch club.

“I had nothing to do today except chores and work and I figured, ‘You know what I need? A break from something,’ and (quidditch) sounded fun,” Beres said.

Getting the quaffle, or a volleyball in this team’s case, through one of the three elevated rings turns out to be easier than the movies portray.

“It’s not a sport you have to train months and months for like football or basketball,” said Garrett Wilkes, a BYU student majoring in communication disorders. “It’s just something that everyone can do.”

Quidditch players have the chance to prepare for these events by taking on one of five roles or positions: chaser, beater, seeker, keeper or the snitch.

Players fight to get the quaffle into one of the three elevated rings
BYU student Ben Kocher fights the keeper, Tim Mason, to get the quaffle into one of the three elevated rings. Photo by Natalie Stoker

Julie Hammari, an elementary education graduate and current teacher, shared the reaction of her sixth grade class when she first told them about her passion for quidditch.

“They were like, ‘What, you’re really playing that? How do you play?'” she said. “They wanted to know all the rules. They wanted to know how we were going to do it, because they just don’t think it’s possible to play because it’s a book, it’s a story, it’s a movie and now it’s real life for them.”

Ben Kocher, a communications graduation student, expressed why he started his quidditch group.

“It’s different, and I have always been a fan of different sports. I’ve kind of been lured into these non-popular sports and sports that don’t really originate from this continent,” he said.

Even though quidditch is a fairly young sport, players who attend to the official rules set by the IQA can qualify for a chance to be seeded in the annual Quidditch World Cup.

When asked if he would be interested in joining existing quidditch groups or trying to get his team to the Quidditch World Cup, Kocher said, “This is just for fun.”

According to the International Quidditch Association’s website, “The IQA was founded in 2010, and annually hosts or sanctions around 25 events, including nine regional championships, the World Cup, International Open, Global Games and QuidCon.”

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