April 09, 2015 - 7:00 AM
MAGICAL SPORT GETS CANADIAN MAKEOVER
KAMLOOPS - Once a year Owen Paetkau and his buddies run around their university campus with plastic shovels between their legs as they throw dodgeballs and handballs around. One guy has a tennis ball hanging from his pants while another player chases him.
At first glance it might look like frat house antics, but Paetkau’s group at Thompson Rivers University is playing quidditch - a game invented and made famous by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
Just like in the series, there are chasers, beaters, keepers and seekers. Players each have different roles, with some tossing the dodgeballs to hit other players, others trying to get a ball through one of three hoops and goal tenders. The guy chasing the guy with the tennis ball is the seeker whose only motive is to get the ball which results in enough points to change the game. According to Paetkau, the “golden” snitch - better known as a student dressed in yellow - was really fast this year which changed up the game.
The group decided to make the game non-contact, but didn’t have to do much rule making themselves. The hardest of diehard fans helped them out.
“There’s a website for quidditch with a 200-page rulebook,” Paetkau says. “We kinda dumbed it down a bit."
The players face a couple of disadvantages — there’s no magic and little funding. But with a bit of innovation, bike tires become hoops and snow shovels become flying broomsticks.
“It’s very Canadian,” the third-year physics student says in reference to the shovels. He says sometimes if players aren’t careful when they run, the shovels will catch the ground and they’ll bail.
The tournament happens once a year and just wrapped a few weeks ago. Paetkau was able to fund it through the campus’ physics group and hopes to host another one this fall. He also hopes to get better hoops so they don’t get knocked down as easily.
“It sounds a little ridiculous, but it’s a lot of fun,” he says.
He’s still considering if the event could be Kamloops-wide some day, but says there’s more to being a kid on campus than running after a guy with a tennis ball hanging from his pants. There’s some studying to do, too.
Player Katie Bieber sets up the bike tire hoops on the makeshift quidditch field
Image Credit: Owen Paetkau
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015