This past weekend, the Vassar Quidditch Team was scheduled to go to Buffalo, New York to partake in a tournament that multiple schools would participate in. Due to injury and weather, the team was forced to pull out of the tournament. However, although the Vassar Quidditch squad did not attend the Buffalo tournament, they still have a lot planned for the rest of the year. One of the most recognized sports on Vassar’s campus, Quidditch is a combination of athletic ability and strategic skill that brings the magic of wizard athletics into the real world.
While some people question the authenticity of Quidditch as a sport, co-captain and sophomore Michael Saugstad believes that the team and the sport require just as much athletic ability as any other sport on campus. “Quidditch is just like any other sport,” Saugstad wrote in an emailed statement.
“You can choose to be as intense as you want to be. The sport is full contact, so some teams really emphasize aggressiveness and tackling, while others use bludgers as a defense instead. On our team we have the whole spectrum so no matter how aggressive or passive you are, there are always a few people that you can relate to in that sense and no one’s voice is silenced. That’s what we aim to accomplish.”
Saugstad, who has been on the Quidditch team since the beginning of his freshman year at Vassar College, loves many aspects of the Quidditch team.
“For most people on the team, their favorite part is our friendship. For many, it’s the Harry Potter and magical, whimsical aspect. I love both of those aspects,” Suagstad explained. “I personally am here for the sport. I love the running, I love the strategy, and I love the physicality. It’s really exciting to be part of a sport that has just begun because every team is trying something new and one has the opportunity to make a contribution to that. You can’t say ‘well, I’m sure they’ve thought of everything’ because they haven’t. There is just so much room to improve.”
Saugstad, along with the other current captains of the Quidditch team, were recently voted in as captains for this school year. Junior Gabby Scher, who recently returned from her abroad semester in Paris, was one of the previous year’s captains. Scher remains a loyal member of the team and does her best to attend every practice as well as other scheduled Quidditch get togethers.
“Well, we practice three days a week and that usually involves playing actual quidditch matches and doing drills to work on improving skills specific to our positions,” Scher explained in an emailed statement. “We also hang out a lot outside of quidditch. Every day after practice we have ‘quinner’ where we all go to eat at the deece. We also have bedtime readings on Thursdays where we read Harry Potter aloud and act out the parts. As for dynamic I’d say our team is like a family.”
Scher admits that sometimes the team does not take itself too seriously, but claims that that is one of the best parts of the team.
“My favorite part about Quidditch is probably our team,” Scher described in an emailed statement. “I can’t picture playing for anyone else and don’t really intend to. Our team is the perfect mixture of competitive and silly that this sport should have. We play a good game of Quidditch, but at the end of the day we have to remember that we are running around on brooms and we can’t take ourselves too seriously.”
The Quidditch team holds an annual tournament in the fall where multiple schools from the Northeastern United States come to play the sport. In the spring, the team focuses on attending many tournaments and making their presence known on campus.
“Plans for the rest of the semester include a tournament that we are hosting this spring, as well as at least one more tournament off campus,” Saugstad explained. “We have been invited to one in NJ and one in Syracuse this spring! We are also hosting a floor for 7 Deadly. A potential Quidditch mug night, but that is very up in the air. We will be continuing our usual bedtime readings, practices, quinners, and the like!”
The team also hosts the annual Yule Ball in the fall, one of the few formal events held on Vassar’s campus during a regular academic school year.
According to Saugstad, the team is open to everyone who is willing to play. There is no discrimination based on athletic ability or other factors. And to anyone who is interested in joining, Saugstad wants them to know that Quidditch is one of the most interesting and fun sports on campus and a good space to be part of a family-like organization.
“On the pitch, there’s a lot of fun scrimmaging interspersed with a few drills to work on anything that we see especially needs work on,” Suagstad described when talking about the team dynamic. “Sometimes we even play some non-quidditch games like spud or tag! Then after every practice we have quinner which is always a ton of fun and is a perfect time for everyone (including those that don’t actually want to play the sport) to discuss everything from J.K. Rowling’s latest reveal about Ron and Hermoine to television fandoms to campus climate to the deece food. We also have bedtime readings about every other week (occasionally with snacks) where we work our way through the Harry Potter books in a group reading session.”