The weekend of November 19-20, the Fruitland Recreational Park will play host to the U.S. Quidditch Mid-Atlantic Championship. What was once a fantasy sport in the Harry Potter books and movies is now an actual sport. Justin Barnard is a student at Salisbury University and one of the captains of the Quidditch club teams.
WBOC: Why do you play Quidditch?
Barnard: Its fun and I am around great people.
WBOC: How much did the Harry Potter series inspire you to play Quidditch?
Barnard: I do enjoy the Harry Potter series but over the years and this is the 14th year of Quidditch it has shifted less from the Harry Potter stigma to more of a recognized sport. This year was the second year of Major League Quidditch and it has taken leaps and bounds forward and become much more of an athletic competition and less of a group of friends being super into Harry Potter.
WBOC: What kind of skill set do you have to have to be successful?
Barnard: I have played sports my whole life. I have found all of them help me one way or another. Quidditch is such a versatile sport. You have an aspect of dodge ball. If you get hit by the red rubber balls, you’re out. You have the aspect of almost any team sport that involves passing. You pass the deflated volleyball called the Quaffle to score. You can kick and it’s full contact so you have to be able to tackle. I played rugby at Salisbury as well so that kind of shifts over.
WBOC: Does everyone have to have a broom?
Barnard: Yes. The requirement is that everyone must have a broom. At practice we don’t play with headbands but we use headbands during competition. That is how you denote your position. Green is for Keeper who is the goalie. White is for Chaser. There are three chasers and they all try to score. Then you have Beaters who wear black and they use the dodge ball to throw at the Chasers and get them out.
WBOC: What kind of reaction do you get from people walking or driving by your games?
Barnard: We get a mix. Usually before people ever come to a practice will say “what’s that” or “it sounds like it’s stupid.” I have taken people from all over campus and told them to come to one practice and if you don’t love it I will never ask you to come again and ever single person who has come out stays.