By: Adriana Skaljin
The name Harry Potter is one familiar to most, given its prevalence in pop culture. The Harry Potter franchise’s beloved sport, Quidditch, has made its way into the Muggle (non-magical) world, having become a semi-professional sport.
On March 23 and 24, Quidditch Canada held their 2019 National Championship at Ron Joyce Stadium and Alumni Field. Fifteen teams from across Canada, coming from Ontario, Montreal, Edmonton and British Columbia, participated in the two-day tournament, bringing the sport to life.
“This is the second time that we’ve held the Nationals in Hamilton,” said Bethan Morgan, events manager for Quidditch Canada. “Last year, we held it at Tim Hortons Field. It is exciting to be back in Hamilton for a second year in a row.”
Morgan has been playing the sport for eight years, and has loved watching the sport grow. She began getting involved with Quidditch due to her love for the fandom and the impact that it had on her life.
“It makes me really happy to see [Quidditch] turn into a competitive sport… [one that] has become international,” explained Morgan. “It has grown a lot in Canada and it is cool seeing people come from all over to play.”
It is amazing to see the ways in which a community of Harry Potter fanatics has turned into a community of athletes. The sport encourages players from all backgrounds and demographics to participate, creating a diverse and welcoming environment.
“There are people that love Harry Potter and then people who have never even watched the movies,” said Morgan. “People from all different backgrounds and genders are welcome. I love how gender-inclusive the sport is, in comparison to others.”
This combination of community and a genuine love for the series and its fictional world is what drives the existence of Quidditch competitions, such as the one just held at McMaster.
“It is a very supporting and welcoming community of people and I think that is what motivated me to stay the sport, and become a better athlete,” said Morgan.
The game is made up of several positions: chasers, who drive the ball and get them through the hoops, beaters who combine tackling with strategy, and seekers. Each position appeals to different strengths, allowing people to excel and specialize in different areas of the sport.
“This is a sport that anyone can play,” said Morgan. “Our athletes train as though it is a professional sport, and I think that a lot of people are surprised when we tackle because it is a very physical game. We are trying to show that we aren’t just a book, we are a real sport with real rules and intense athletes.”
At the 2019 National Championship, the Ottawa Otters and the University of Guelph faced off in the final match. The Otters won the tournament, with a final score of 250^ to 200*. The Vancouver Storm Crows placed third, beating Valhalla Quidditch, a team from Toronto, in the bronze medal match, with a score of 100* to 50.
— Quidditch Canada (@QuidditchCanada) March 25, 2019
The Canadian National Championship is a prime example of the ways in which the combination of passion, community and athleticism can bring magic out from the pages of books and into the lives of fans and athletes.
Quidditch is definitely a sport to watch and one that deserves recognition in the world of international sports. This sport is definitely a ‘keeper’.