While the world remains in the grip of the pandemic, the Australian Quidditch league is slowly getting back on its broom.
Since the outbreak of COVID19 in 2020, sports fans and athletes around the world have had matches, trainings, and even the Olympics cancelled. In Australia, however, masks are out and sports are in – and this includes even unusual ones like Quidditch.
Quidditch is a fictional sport involving magical flying brooms and enchanted dodgeballs and it was invented by JK Rowlings in the Harry Potter series.
In the ‘Muggle world’, or real life, it is a different kettle of wands.
Western Australia (WA) has three active teams playing in the Perth Quidditch League and their next game on June 20 will see Murdoch’s Mandrakes go head-to-head against Perth Phoenixes at Murdoch University before UWA take on Murdoch 45 minutes later.
According to the West Australian Quidditch Association (WAQA) president Joshua Simmons, quidditch is a very “unique and fast-paced field sport”.
“The objective is to put a volleyball through one of the three goals,” Mr Simmons said.
“The field is set up in a large rectangle and is an ongoing sport similar to how basketball is played.”
“Each team has four people trying to score the ball while the defence tries to block the ball.”
“The uniqueness comes from the two people on the team who have dodge ball[s] and use them to force players back to their own goals. Think of handball but with dodgeballs.”
Quidditch is also interstate and worldwide, with a Quidditch Australia and even an International Quidditch Association body existing.
The 2020 WAQA president Lauren Espinoza says COVID restrictions saw the teams sidelines for months but that WA has been lucky to have a season in the second half of the year.
“For a while we were the only state playing,” Ms Espinoza says.
“Because of that, WAQA games were the focus of a lot of quidditch articles.”
The damage that COVID did to the clubs, however, still lingers.
“Being a very unique sport COVID did have a large impact on our player base. Numbers are slowly growing back to what they were but will take some time to get back to where we once were,” Mr Simmons said.
For many players the best part of the sport is not even playing it competitively.
Murdoch Mandrakes player, Hannah Gunning, described the positive community that quidditch creates.
“The best thing about Quidditch is the people. For me it’s about the fun of the game and getting to meet people with likeminded interests that I otherwise might not have met,” Ms Gunning said.
Teams train across a variety of locations across Perth and more details can be found on the WAQA Facebook page.
Mr Simmons says Quidditch in WA looks to have a positive future because of its tight-knight player base.
“Players are all happy to rock up once a month [to] play against each other and then share a beer and a conversation afterwards,” Mr Simmons said.
“For anyone who is looking to get into a sport, try something new, or just make new friends, this is the perfect sport for you.”