After being introduced to the Boise State campus in 2012, Quidditch was a popular club sport because of its relation to JK Rowling’s popular book and movie series Harry Potter. But after the 2017 season, the team unfortunately disbanded.
Quidditch in Boise looked promising in 2018 with a community team established but it did not last. Now with former administrator and coach of Boise State Quidditch Kym Couch working to become a new advisor for the team, it looks like Quidditch may get a third chance here in Boise.
Quidditch was created in the Harry Potter series as a sport that involves two teams each with seven players on the field. In the magical world of Harry Potter, they ride on magic flying brooms between their legs.
The different positions in Quidditch include a keeper, two beaters, three chasers and one seeker. There are five balls that include a quaffle, three bludgers and a golden snitch. There are three hoops and each one is at a different height. For the real-world adaptation, the quaffle is a volleyball, the bludgers are dodgeballs and the golden snitch is a runner who wears the “snitch” (a tennis ball wrapped in a sock) in the back of their shorts. The snitch runner is the only player who does not need a broom.
The team was first established in 2012 as the Boise State Abraxans. An Abraxan is a horse-like creature from the Harry Potter series that is similar to a Bronco. In 2014, the team had 100 members and had to split into two teams to manage the large roster. They split half of the roster into the Abraxans and the other half into the Thestrals. The team lost many members over the years due to graduation and after a poor showing in nationals, the team disbanded in 2017.
“We disbanded for many reasons, we had a few players we wanted to continue to play with but they graduated, the competition level in community/club bracket was drastically better and the school was difficult to work with(branding/fundraising),” said former Abraxan player Bryan Bixler.
After being disbanded, the team became a community team and they were known as the Boise Nomads. Couch plans to start a full rebuild of the team and to bring in players by promoting Quidditch in the Quad. Many players believe that the team disbanded while others believe that it just transitioned to a community team.
“The team initially didn’t disband per say, it transitioned into a community team so the players who were on the Abraxans became the Nomads in 2017 and we disbanded earlier this year,” Couch said. “My hope is just to direct the children to start things up, I just need to find players who are more interested in leading.”
Former Boise State Quidditch president Stewart Driflot played at Boise State for four years between 2012-2016 and explained that during the time he played it was the golden age for Quidditch, but he still has hopes for the future. He was directly involved with the team as a leader while Couch served the team as an administrator. He detailed many struggles with the team when he played, but would like to see Quidditch back in Boise since he enjoyed his time with the team.
“It will be difficult, I expect, but I feel like the way Quidditch has been outlined now that with a postcollegiate league it will be way easier for a team to exist and to thrive,” Driflot said. “We were against indomatible odds to ever win anything with Boise State on a national level because teams were good. People would graduate college and play three to four years afterwards and that’s who we played.In the elite eight in our last year we got squashed and we were the second best college team in the U.S. but that disparity is a lot less now and I think the team could pick it up.”
Quidditch hasn’t completely left the campus of Boise State, and with the right leadership it could pick up again. But for that to happen, the team would need some help and backing from the school administration to set those hoops up again on campus.
“I think the ultimate question of Quidditch’s survival depends on understanding. People in the community need to understand what Quidditch is and it has to be accepted,” Driflot said. “When we were a good team at Boise State, people recognized Quidditch, people understood what we were doing and they accepted it.”