U of T is home to a plethora of teams, but there remains a stigma about what constitutes a sport. Earlier this year, we covered Torontula, our university’s very own women’s ultimate Frisbee team who — despite winning a national competition — have had a hard time defending the legitimacy of their sport.
The Centaurs are U of T’s Quidditch team and have faced similar struggles in finding recognition on campus. Captain and president of the Centaurs Sarah Basciano, is in her final year at the Faculty of Music. Sarah spoke to The Varsity about her hopes for the sport, where she sees Quidditch going at U of T, and its place on the world stage.
The Varsity: How does one get into Quidditch? What is the selection process like, and are there any sports that are good precursors?
Sarah Basciano: “I used to play baseball, volleyball, and basketball. I played [baseball] for eight years and it was actually during frosh week [that] my friends sent me an invite on Facebook and on the day of were like ‘yo I’m going to Quidditch tryouts’ and I was like that sounds like the best thing ever, and I went and instantly fell in love with it. [Quidditch is] definitely competitive. We had tryouts… I think we had about 60 or so [students] out [this year]…it’s a fun process.”
TV: Do you find that there’s one position that people are more inclined to try out for, like the seeker?
SB: “No, actually. It’s pretty spread out. Probably the least popular is the seeker, not because its least liked, just because it’s least understood… People love seeking once they get into it, it’s just hard to get into because it it’s hard to understand how it works.”
TV: How is the season going so far?
SB: “So far we’ve played three tournaments. We went to Waterloo for the first, Guelph for the second, and we just went to Queen’s… Quidditch Canada puts on some more official tournaments later on in the season so we have regionals and nationals coming up next semester. Those are in Montreal and Kingston…We’re a very new team this year, we had 17 new people and only 11 vets. I think we have more strength this year and more size, as well as speed — which we’ve had in previous years — so I think we have the ability to be really good. Right now, I just need them to have experience playing together to learn how to work with each other…we’re doing really well but we’re not a top team yet.”
TV: Do you consider Quidditch a sport? Why do you think the broader community largely disagrees with classifying Quidditch as a sport?
SB: “Oh yeah, definitely! How we usually describe it is a mix of rugby, dodgeball, basketball, and wrestling. Nobody really knows what Quidditch is… A lot of people don’t understand, they think it’s just a bunch of nerds running around with a broom between their legs and having fun. It is fun, but it’s also really, really competitive. The first question you always get is, ‘how do you fly?!’”
TV: Do you want people to associate Quidditch with Harry Potter?
SB: “There are a lot of Quidditch players that don’t know Harry Potter, people who haven’t read the books at all, because they just like the sport itself. You get half and half, so some are hard core Harry Potter fans and that’s why they play the sport… and some people are like ‘what’s Harry Potter?’ I’m not like hard core, but I do enjoy Harry Potter. The seventh book and the fourth movie [are my favourite].”
TV: Where does Quidditch go from here? World championships? Olympics? CIS?
SB: “I think it’s going to take a long time, but I think it could happen. Quidditch is only a decade old at this point, so I think it really could get into the Olympics, but there’s a lot that would have to happen. Maybe in like 20 years we can see it there. It should be varsity, I think it could definitely happen, and I don’t know why it hasn’t yet. I guess people are so like weirded out by it, they don’t get it, yet they think of it as a club rather than a sport.”