The only thing missing was the flutter of crimson and gold robes in the gentle early March breeze. Or perhaps the Boise State blue and orange would have been more fitting for the small group. But, for now, the collection of old gym shorts and t-shirts would have to do for Boise State’s all muggle Quidditch team, “The Boise State Abraxan.”
They were a bit of a rag-tag bunch sporting a collection of metal and wood handled brooms; a mélange of plastic and straw brushes and one startlingly realistic, if shortened, replica of the Nimbus 2000.
“Brooms up,” was the call.
In a mad helter-skelter dash they were off trying to toss a volleyball through plastic rings suspended from the soccer goals and pelt each other with semi-deflated dodge balls.
Though the small crew hasn’t reached club status yet, all the paperwork has been submitted and it should become official within the next couple weeks.
The Abraxan, the large flying horses that pull Madame Olympe Maxime’s carriage in the fourth Harry Potter book “The Goblet of Fire, were selected as Boise State’s Quidditch mascot by majority vote at a team meeting.
Freshman history and secondary education major and Abraxan team captain Stew Driflot said, “We tried to stay close to what Boise State already has with the horse but we also wanted to make our own little thing.”
Driflot has high hopes for what becoming an official club can do for Quidditch at Boise State.
“There’s a lot of advertising potential so we just spread the word and try to get as many new players as possible. And funding is, of course, a wonderful thing that we could have access to,” Driflot said.
Building up team membership is Driflot’s primary concern. He carries his Quidditch broom through campus to entice people into asking him questions so he can invite them to join the team.
“He always walks around campus with the damn broom,” said freshman theater major and Quidditch chaser Robyn Monkarsh. “I always hear people saying, ‘I saw a guy with a broom.’ I’m like, ‘Ah. Yeah. It’s Stew.’”
Despite her chagrin at Driflot’s insistence on the broom strategy Monkarsh also has dreams of building and expanding the team. It is their goal to travel and compete at Quidditch tournaments all over the west.
“I would love to build up this team so we can have our team there (at tournaments) because right now we’re just going as substitutes for other teams. It would be great if by the time I graduate we have a full-fledged Quidditch team with uniforms and real hoops,”
According to Driflot they need 20 players to field a game. Right now, there are 12 members.
Drilot urges anyone looking for a way to be a little more active, grab a broom and head down to the intramural field on Sunday at noon for open practices.
“It’s not just for nerds,” said Driflot. “It’s a full contact co-ed sport.”
Catching the Snitch
In muggle Quidditch, the snitch is actually a person. Someone who has no affiliation with either team puts a tennis ball in a sock and ties it around their waist. The seeker who catches the snitch gets 30 points for their team; ending the game. This shifts a lot more importance to the chasers who score 10 points per goal with the quaffle, a volleyball.
The snitch, who gets a head start, is not restricted to the pitch for the first 20 minutes of play. He could be anywhere: up a tree, or grabbing a quick coffee.
Don’t get bludgeoned:
Each team has two beaters that try to cause chaos with the other team using bludgers. In muggle Quidditch, bludgers take the form of a slightly deflated dodge ball. If a player is hit that player must drop everything until they make contact with their team’s goalposts. Then they can return to play as normal.
It seems simple enough but it can get exhausting.
“You’re on the other side of the pitch and then you get hit then you have to run all the way down and all the way back,” Monkarsh said. “You start thinking, ‘I’m not built for this.’”
Full Contact Chaos:
While muggle Quidditch might sound like something reminiscent of Dungeons & Dragons it is a lot more physical than that. Tackling is legal and players have to be careful of their brooms.
“My broom got broken,” said Monkarsh. “I had to tape it up with a sock so I don’t literally shank people.”
The team has suffered a few minor injuries thus far: a chipped tooth and a broken nose. However, with all the running, throwing, tackling and the constant threat of being gored by a broomstick, Quidditch is not for the faint of heart.