Last year, the UBC Quidditch team finally achieved a goal that it had been gunning for since its inception in 2010 — They made it to the Quidditch World Cup in South Carolina.
With third position in the Northwest division and ranked first in their region, the UBC Quidditch team snagged a spot amongst 80 teams beating a sizeable amount of American teams for it. They went on to represent UBC and the rest of Canada for the first time at the World Cup. Western Washington, UBC's regional rivals across the border, was the only other team from the Northwest that competed in the World Cup.
This was a considerable achievement for them considering that only five years ago they were still a fledgling team struggling to achieve recognition within the UBC community. Only a few people showed up to practice and hoops were duct taped to the ground. Now they are about 70 members strong with two competitive playing teams striving for international and regional prominence.
The team does not play in the Canadian Quidditch League though mostly because of a need for exposure and a lack of strong competition in Western Canada. Instead, they choose to play in the US Quidditch league (USQ). There are a few teams in Alberta, the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University that compete in Western Canada, but UBC “routinely squashes them” according to this year’s Quidditch Club President Elizabeth Benoy.
“In American Quidditch, there are four other teams that are right across the border. We decided it would benefit us in terms of our understanding of Quidditch and playing style to play with American Quidditch [teams],” said Brandon Rivas, the beater captain for the A-team roster.
Benoy said that the team is “arguably the best” in Canada. This is arguable because a sanguinary decider match between the UBC and McGill teams ended in a tie. The Canadian nationals were happening in Burnaby and both teams, eager to show off their skills, organized an exhibition match to see who was the best once and for all.
“Both us and McGill really wanted that title of ‘best team.’ We were willing to do anything for it,” said Rivas. “A nice friendly match was the intention but it got physical really quick so we called it.”
Many people would scoff at the thought of playing J.K. Rowling’s made-up sport from a fictional book series featuring Triwizard tournaments, wizard duelling and a Hungarian Horntail dragon. In fact, watching several twenty-something year olds run around in the rain with broomsticks tucked in between their legs would make anyone pause. But after watching a little longer and seeing the fierce tackles, heavy body checks and dodgeballs received squarely in the face, one would realize that it is a full-contact sport that requires just as much exertion as traditional sports.
Quidditch is the wizarding-child of basketball, flag football and dodgeball. It's a full contact co-ed sport — possibly the only one in existence.
Not only that, the team also prides itself on its sense of community and inclusiveness.
“Quidditch itself is a co-ed sport and it is inclusive of all genders. There are strict policies in the rule book that insure that everyone is included. No one gets discriminated or left out so we really work to support that,” said Benoy.