Get your brooms ready: Students play Quidditch as part of course

Deb Fullerton headshot

Quidditch anyone?

Students will have the opportunity to play the quintessential game from JK Rowlings’ Harry Potter series this fall as part of the course, Games through the Ages, being offered by York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science.

“This course is intended to engage students who may become active through non-traditional activities,” says Deb Fullerton, head coach of women’s field hockey who will teach the course for the first time. “I wanted students to become competitive in their own nature through fun and theatrics.”

Students will also play Earthball, Tlachi and Indian Kickball as part of the PKIN 0392 course in the Faculty of Health. But because Quidditch is involved, Fullerton expects there will be a waiting list for the course.

“The way I will start the Quidditch portion of the class is by dividing the class into four groups or houses. Each group will be responsible for coming up with unique uniform choices and strategies they will use,” she says. “They may even want to headshot of Deb Fullertonbring in their own brooms.” Pool noodles will masquerade as brooms to start. Fullerton will also supply six rings on the field, balls and material for capes.

Deb Fullerton

Fullerton says she has researched the history of games through the ages and has a feeling JK Rowlings, the author of the Harry Potter book series which was also made into several films, did the same before she created Quidditch.

Fullerton plans to start the course by introducing some of those fictional ancient games she believes led to Quidditch, a game played by wizards on broom sticks in the air who try and hit a ball known as a “quaffle” through the opposing team’s hoop at the field’s end to score points and catch the “snitch”, a small golden, erratically flying ball, to win. On the ground for mortals, Quidditch is played as a sort of cross between rugby, dodge ball and tag with several different actions going on at once.

Some of the fictional ancient games Fullerton will introduce students to include: Stichstock, where a single wizard acting as a goalkeeper, trying to protect a dragon; Aingingein, an Irish game; Creaothceann, a violent game originating in Scotland involving boulders slingshot into the air; Shuntbumps, which involves broomstick-jousting in an effort to knock the other off his broom; and Swivenhodge, where players hit an inflated pig’s bladder back and forth.

The goal of this class is to engage students to be creative, have fun, follow the rules and show their competitive edge and theatrics, as well as come up with a tournament name, says Fullerton. The students will also need to choose a “snitch” for the game – that being the fastest runner in the class, challenged by a foot race.

Every person in the class will also learn how to referee the game and know the technical terms, such as the following:

Cobbing – Players must not make excessive use of their elbows against

Flacking – Keepers must not defend the posts from behind by punching Quaffles out of the hoops. Goals must be defended from the front.

Haversacking – Chasers must not still be in contact with the Quaffle as it passes
through a hoop (the Quaffle must be thrown through).

Quaffle-pocking – Chasers must not tamper with the Quaffle in any way.

“Through this PKIN class my hope is to create a University Quidditch club team or Quidditch teams within each college and tap into all students on campus to challenge each other in a proper match and eventually challenge other universities involved in the game of Quidditch,” says Fullerton.

Several universities across Canada already play the game competitively as members of the International Quidditch Association.

By Sandra McLean, YFile deputy editor

For more University news, photos and videos, visit the YFile homepage.