The University of Toronto consistently tops intercollegiate rankings as one of the world’s best places to study. Studying, however, isn’t all we do. A large portion of the student body is unaware of the variety of non-varsity sports that are available to them.
WIZARDING GAMES ON FRONT CAMPUS
Not many people have heard of The Centaurs who regularly practice at U of T’s St.George campus. The Centaurs play quidditch; a muggle adaptation of the sport from the wizarding world of Harry Potter.
Much like in J.K. Rowling’s fantasy series, and according to the International Quidditch Association (IQA) rulebook, there are seven players on each side — three chasers, two beaters, a keeper, and a seeker. Three kinds of balls: a quaffle, a snitch, and bludgers. The chasers try to get the quaffle, a slightly deflated volleyball, through one of three hoops guarded by keepers. Beaters throw the bludgers, dodgeball-style, at the chasers. Seekers chase the runner, who has the snitch — a small ball — tucked into a sleeve attached to their shorts.
Quidditch is not yet allowed to join the ranks of more traditional collegiate sports such as varsity swimming or varsity football. The quidditch community continues to lack support and recognition from students as well as the university. Former co-captain Matt Korda contends that recognition remains one of the team’s biggest challenges. “I do think that one of the toughest things about Quidditch is moving the game away from the books,” he said in an interview with The Varsity last year.
The Centaurs, however, have made impressive strides since the club’s inception in 2009, and they have inspired teams to form on the UTM and UTSC campuses. But the team still needs more: more resources, more participation from the student body, and more recognition from the university and the media.
EMBRACING YOUR INNER LEGOLAS AND YOUR INNER KATNISS
The Hart House Archery Club owes some of its popularity to various fantasy and sci-fi series like The Lord of The Rings and The Hunger Games franchises.
Prospective archers need not fear — the stakes of the club aren’t life or death. Due to the rise in the popularity of archery, the club is growing faster than ever, so much so that former Varsity writer J.P. Antonacci described the space as crowded. “Eight spots was fine for training day, but during the weekday free shoots… the small space gets pretty crowded,” he explained.
At a closer glance, however, the possibility of growth for the club is immense. Archery is an Olympic sport, with events lasting as long as seven days at the 2012 Games in London. Historically, Canada’s achievement in archery has been almost nonexistent, but an investment in infrastructure and development for the fast-paced and growing sport within Canadian universities could change that.
Correction (October 29, 2015): A previous version of this article mistakenly referred to the Centaurs as the Nifflers. The Varsity regrets the error.