Brooms up, QuidKids!

Quidditch has become decidedly un-magicalised

Image: Quidditch has become decidedly un-magicalised

From quaffles to snitches, beaters and keepers, the Harry Potter sport of quidditch has taken off around the world. In the lead up to this year’s quidditch World Cup in Germany, we talk to Australian captain, James Mortensen, about his love for the game and its place in the sporting community.

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Image: Dropbears captain James Mortensen practices in Melbourne

1. What attracted you to quidditch initially? Were you a Harry Potter fan or was it more about the sport itself?

When I first played, it was about the complexity and the inclusivity of the sport. I loved the fact that people of all shapes, sizes and skill levels were able to make a worthwhile impression on the field, and that captured my interest and made me want to continue playing. I had actually not read or watched Harry Potter at all when I first joined.

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Image: Nicholas Albornoz charges through the Victorian defense in the NSW vs Vic game

2. What’s the biggest misconception you feel people have about quidditch?

That the sport has nothing to offer a serious player, just because it comes from a children’s fantasy novel. The tactics, the physicality and the skill required to play quidditch are on par with any established sports that people play in a mainstream capacity.

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Image: Dropbears player James Williams practicing in Melbourne

4. For those who have never seen it, what’s a general quidditch game like? What can both players and spectators expect?

For a spectator, quidditch can be a challenge. While there are only 14 players on the pitch at any one time (7 from each team), there are essentially 3 games being played at the same time.

For both players and spectators, seeing how those 3 games interact is both a great challenge and a great joy, equal only to the finest of wines and the unbridled ecstasy of a sunset experienced with a cherished friend!

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Image: Old Town, Frankfurt

5. How excited are you to be travelling to Frankfurt, Germany, for the 2016 World Cup? Have you/the team ever been to Germany before?

Quite excited. I, in fact, have not been to Germany before.

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Image: Dameon Osborn, Luke Derrick and Carolyn Themel play in the recent New South Wales vs Victoria game

6. What does it take to win a game at the World Cup level? Is it more about tactics and strategy or is it more about relying on the skills/experience of the players?

Because of the nature of the game, individual effort won’t get you far. Without cohesive teamwork that can draw together the 3 different elements of quidditch, a team will likely suffer and individual players will not be able to reach their full potential regardless of their level of skill. So, winning at this level, or winning any game for that matter, is really about working together both on and off the field. That’s what makes it such an awesome sport.

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Image: James Mortensen at QuidCamp (an annual conference of quidditch players were tactics, gameplay and refereeing are discussed)

7. What are the biggest obstacles the Dropbears need to overcome to be successful at this year’s World Cup? Who’s going to be the hardest team to beat?

The US Team are heavy favourites as they are yet to be defeated at an international level. We can also expect tough competition from France, the UK and Canada. Being on the other side of the world means it’s hard to gauge where we stand. But we have worked as hard as we can and we feel like we have a good chance coming into the competition.

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Image: After a Victoria victory over NSW

8. Personally, how has quidditch inspired or changed your life? What has it opened your eyes to that you weren’t aware of before?

Because of the inclusive nature of quidditch, it’s a fantastic opportunity not only to meet new people from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives – but to face and overcome challenges together by drawing on the strengths of those diverse perspectives and abilities.

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Image: A seeker going for the snitch

9. What advice do you have for any newbies looking to get involved in quidditch?

First step – Google it.

Once you’re there and you take the pitch, don’t worry about the broom between your legs. Just sweep the doubts aside and try your best to have fun!

If you want to see what all the fuss is about, you can watch the Dropbears take on Belgium live this Saturday at 6.45pm (AEST): https://www.facebook.com/events/252367068481321

Places: Australia, Germany