Here's What You Need to Know About the McGill Quidditch Team: An Interview with McA Chaser Captain Catie Upton

Catherine Ke for HerCampus McGill (HC McGill): A lot of us have heard of the sport Quidditch before but we don't know what it is for sure, could you explain to us what it is?

Catie Upton: Muggle Quidditch is kind of like an adaptation of the Harry Potter sport, you know, minus the flying. It’s an adaptation in that it has been modified, it is a co-ed, full-contact sport. The rules are similar but the seeker is not the only player that matters on the team anymore. The chasers, are the ones that score points, beaters take people out of play, and the seeker still catches a snitch to end the game, but there are definitely differences in that we aren't magical folk and we don’t go around beating people with sticks, like in the movies, you know.

Chasers’ roles are similar in the movies, differences are mainly in beaters and seekers. The beaters carry the bludgers (minorly deflated dodgeballs), if any player gets hit by a bludger you have to go back to your hoops before you can return to play. Seekers try to catch the snitch which is a tennis ball in a sock that's tucked into the back of a player whose dressed in all gold or all yellow's pants. The seekers don’t come onto the pitch until 18 minutes into the game, and the snitches don’t come on the pitch until 17. It’s just a sport adapted from the books, full-contact, co-ed with gender roles, which is still fighting to become a legitimate sport. Like, there are formal rules, you’re required to be athletic, to run, to tackle and to think strategically, a lot of the times people just don’t take it as seriously because it’s adapted from a fictional novel series.

HC McGill: That actually sounds like a lot of fun! So, what do you do as chaser captain of a team?

CU: Because we’re not a varsity sport, we don’t have a coach. So as a chaser captain I act as captain and coach of the McA chasers (there’s two teams, McA and CFQC - Canada’s Finest Quidditch Club). I help organize practices, there are 6 captains in total, two separate ones for the beaters and for the chasers for the two teams respectively, also a seeker captain, who captains the seekers for both teams and a snitch mother. I also organize drills and rosters for tournaments, run scrimmages, organize bonding events for chasers. Captains are responsible for a lot of little things. It’s fun, time-consuming, but definitely worth it. Because the team is my team, if they succeed, I succeed.

 

HC McGill: If you were to describe Quidditch in 3 words, what would they be and why?

CU: A close family. Because the sport attracts such a diverse group of people, especially because it’s one of the only few co-ed sports. You get all these different people and you spend the season getting to know each other, we also have bonding events and more casual nights where you just hang out. You spend so much time together at tournaments because they’re usually outside of Montreal, or outside of the McGill bubble at the very least, you spend car rides with these people and you stay the night on a floor in someone’s house with them. You just become a family, I know that if any of my chasers needed anything I would be there for them and if I needed anything they would be there for me. I don’t think I would have survived first year of university without my team, for some reason Quidditch just worked for me and was a fit from the get-go. Win or loss we’re always there for each other.

HC McGill: I'm sure there's a lot of things that are amazing about the team, but what would you say is the best part about being on the Quidditch team?

CU: Honestly, just being able to hang out with a bunch of people that have the same interests as me. To be on the Quidditch team you gotta be somewhat open to new ideas and to trying new things. And to be part of a team that’s not considered a “real sport“ just yet, the team is made up of a bunch of people who are strong enough to take negative feedback, which unfortunately happens more often than not, which also makes them interesting people in different ways. So my favourite part of Quidditch is being able to hang out with these people but also to watch them grow. It's so great watching people grow more and more confident and watch them start taking on guys that are twice their size, especially because a lot of people that newly join the Quidditch team are first years. Because a lot of them think: you’re in a new school looking for a team to join, why not try something new?

HC McGill: What’s one thing that people probably don’t know about the Quidditch team here at McGill?

CU: The biggest thing I think that people don’t know about the Quidditch team at McGill is that we’re a high-performing team that achieves internationally. In the past, we’ve frequently placed and competed in tournaments internationally - both in the US and Canada. We also have had players that have gone on to play for Canada’s national team.

If you want to know more about this fun and diverse team at McGill, like their Facebook page (McGill University Quidditch Team) and follow them on Instagram (@mcgill_quidditch)!

 

Images: Courtesy of interviewee.