CWRUcio holds Quidditch tournament for good cause


Courtesy CWRUico

The winning team, the Mad Mandrakes donated the proceeds to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

On an overcast but warm Saturday morning, three teams participated with the Case Western Reserve University Quidditch Club, CWRUcio, in their second annual philanthropy tournament. Whoever won out of the three teams, the CWRU Swing Club, Phi Kappa Tau/Sigma Psi and the Mad Mandrakes would be able to donate the tournament earnings to the charity of their choice. However, according to CWRUcio member and tournament organizer Maria Vratsanos, none of the teams had decided which charity they would play for yet.

The tournament was decided with three matches. The first two matches were Phi Kappa Tau/Sigma Psi against each of the other teams. After the Mad Mandrakes and Swing Club won each of their matches, it was decided that the two teams would play each other to determine the winner of the tournament. At the end of a close and hard fought match, the seeker for the Mad Mandrakes was able to catch the snitch to win the game.

Although the tournament had a casual and fun atmosphere, all teams played with fierce intensity. Even players who were not currently in the game were passionate, yelling advice and cheering loudly from the sidelines. The intensity of the game was shown when in the final game, an attempted shot at the goalposts hit them so hard that they were knocked off of their stands. The aggressiveness of the players was also demonstrated when in the second game, CWRU Emergency Medical Services was needed on two separate occasions due to player injuries.

A particularly scary incident occurred in the second game when CWRUcio member Natalie Bick was struck in the face with a broom and required treatment. The accident occurred when a CWRUcio member acting as the snitch, successfully pried a broomstick away from a seeker, but accidentally tossed it straight into Bick’s face. Bick needed ice applied to her face, but was in good-spirits after the game. Bick, who is in her first year with CWRUcio, talked about her love for the club and its members by saying, “this is such an amazing group of people and I really feel at home with them.”

Although the primary goal of the tournament was to raise money for charity, CWRUcio members also looked to use it as a way to introduce Quidditch to the CWRU community. “We view this event as a dual philanthropy and community event,” said CWRUcio member Ryan Cleary.

Cleary proceeded to explain how CWRUcio modified the rules to make the tournament easier for first-time players, who made up the majority of participants in the tournament.

In the days preceding the tournament, CWRUcio held information sessions and practices to teach players about the rules and techniques of the sport. The team reviewed the rules with the players again before the tournament, and kept an extra set of goalposts for teams to practice on the side while other games were going on. The team also loaned a few of its own seasoned players on each team to help organize them and create strategy. To prevent a competitive advantage, CWRUcio players always played in positions they didn’t normally play. To prevent injuries, the tournament used “high school rules,” which banned tackles and other forms of aggressive contact.

Overall, CWRUcio members felt that novice players did a good job in adjusting to the rules and pace of the game. Afterwards CWRUcio member David Mayer remarked, “The only thing I noticed people mess up was dismounting accidentally,” referring to the broomstick that all Quidditch players are required to keep between their legs while playing.

First-time players were able to learn a lot about the strategy in the game. Matt Haberbusch, who played chaser for the winning team, the Mad Mandrakes, described his first time playing Quidditch as “a lot of things happening at once.” While playing with CWRUcio members, he said he learned about the best places to be positioned to score as a chaser.

CWRUcio members hope that this event will help to spread awareness for their team before their next home match. That match will be against Oberlin on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 2 p.m.