On campus, there are many club sports that are well-respected – their successes are celebrated, and their losses are mourned. However, the quidditch team is relatively unknown, and the attention paid to it can be negative.
Coach Bo O’Connor, a senior, is aware of the campus's perception of the team. The team has attracted negative Yik Yak posts over the years and members have become used to students making comments during their practices.
“I have realistic goals,” O’Connor said. “I just want it to be seen as equivalent to all the other club sports.”
The quidditch team is an underdog – not when compared to competing quidditch teams, but when compared to other club sports on campus. Few Yik Yak posts are ever directed at other club sports, and almost none question the validity of the other sports.
Despite the sometimes negative public perception, the quidditch team has thrived in competition this year. At the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament, the team advanced to the semifinals and qualified for the United States Quidditch National Championship, the tournament that replaced the previous championship called the World Cup.
The team has been preparing for Nationals, which will take place on Saturday, April 16, and Sunday, April 17, in Columbia, South Carolina. Although it will be a challenge, the team has high expectations. U.S. Quidditch ranked Richmond's team No. 42 nationally.
The team's success on the pitch is impressive, and its members have also formed an incredibly close-knit group that enjoys spending time together even when they are not practicing.
“Quidditch is the friendliest group of people that you’ll ever meet,” sophomore Jayson Vivas said. Many of his teammates agree, citing the people as the best part of quidditch.
Through its successes and the friendliness, the quidditch team is slowly succeeding in getting the sport more positive recognition.
“Even though it is nice to bring a little bit of Harry Potter into the real world, we know that you don’t need potions and wands to create a world of magic,” senior Dan Waddell said. “I feel like that’s what we have done here.”
Richmond's quidditch team has created its own community within the school, one that prides itself on inclusivity, care for others and competitive drive. The question of how the rest of the students receive this community is one that may say more about campus than the game of quidditch itself.
Contact sports writer Lauren Onestak at firstname.lastname@example.org