Forget Quidditch. Get to know quadball | cbc radio

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day 69:29Quidditch is being renamed. But the sport will never lose its magic, players say

Three of the sport’s governing bodies recently announced that they will officially change the name to “quadball”, both due to trademark concerns and a desire to distance themselves from Harry Potter author JK Rowling in light of her controversial comments.

The word most often used to describe real-life Quidditch games is “chaos,” according to the person who oversees much of their play in Canada.

The sport came to life in 2005 when two college students decided to see the magical game described in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books brought to life. But while Harry Potter and his classmates soar through the air on flying brooms, the real-life players remain firmly on the ground, “mounted” on three-foot-long PVC pipes.

“Dodgeballs are flying through the air. People are being tackled to each other. Yeah, it’s a chaotic game,” said Yara Kodershah, executive director of Quidditch Canada. day 6 guest presenter Saroja Coelho.

But for many players around the world, including those in Canada, Quidditch won’t be “Quidditch” for much longer.

Three of the sport’s governing bodies recently announced that they will officially change their name to “quadball”, both due to trademark concerns and a desire to distance themselves from Harry Potter author JK Rowling in light of her controversial comments on the internet. last years.

Yara Kodershah, CEO of Quidditch Canada, said the “continuous transphobia” expressed by Rowling in recent years “really contradicts our own values ​​as an organisation”. (Submitted by Yara Kodershah)

The name of the sport will change in 2023

Warner Bros., the studio behind the Harry Potter films, owns the trademark for the word quidditch, which limited the sport’s ability to expand or seek “sponsorship and broadcast opportunities,” according to Major League Quadball (MLQ) and US Quadball (USQ).

In addition, LGBTQ advocacy organizations have accused Rowling of transphobia after a series of inflammatory statements about gender identity, which the leagues feel go against Quidditch’s “reputation as one of the most progressive sports in the world in gender equality and inclusion.

Quidditch Canada says it “strongly supports” this decision by other governing bodies and has announced that it will also seek a name change from January 2023.

She pointed to Rowling’s “ongoing anti-trans comments” as the impetus for change, as well as claims of cultural appropriation by indigenous scholars in Rowling’s writing.

Whereas Quidditch involved flying brooms and enchanted balls, real-life players straddle PVC pipes while chasing a dodgeball. (Joseph Verschuuren)

“There is ongoing transphobia that has been expressed in JK Rowling’s comments over the years. […] that really contradicts our own values ​​as an organization,” Kodershah told Coelho.

“I would say that once those statements became popular was really when there was a kind of unbridgeable schism between our sport and its histories.”

‘Anger and disdain’ at Rowling’s comments

Michael Howard, head coach of Canada’s national Quidditch team, said “anger and disdain” at Rowling’s remarks have long been present in the Quidditch community.

“There’s a sense of liberation, that this community that has been a super welcoming environment, especially in the sports world, can move away from that,” he said.

Michael Howard, head coach of Canada’s national Quidditch team, said “anger and disdain” at JK Rowling’s controversial statements have long been present in the Quidditch community. (Submitted by Michael Howard)

The International Quadball Association (IQA) has worked to affirm gender inclusivity with an official “gender rule”, which states that a team cannot field more than four players who identify as the same gender at the same time.

Each team has six or seven players on the field in total, depending on the phase of play. The rule is enforced based on players’ self-identified genders, according to Kodershah.

“It has nothing to do with assigned sex, it has nothing to do with your physical body. It has to do exclusively with how people identify,” Kodershah said.

“What this rule has allowed us to do is be a sport designed explicitly for trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people.”

Quidditch’s approach to gender, or quadball, is part of a growing movement in sports to consider gender in a more inclusive way.

Howard acknowledges that the sport’s gender-inclusive rule could end up being a barrier to Quidditch being accepted at international sporting events like the Olympics.

Players take part in an Eastern Divisional Quidditch game in Ottawa in 2021. (Joseph Verschuuren)

But she suggests that governing bodies like the International Olympic Committee should review their rules on gender.

“I’m excited to see the rise of co-ed sports competitions and to see events with less rigid gender categories,” he said. “But there are a lot of things that will have to change before that.” [quidditch at the Olympics] happens”.

A sport like no other

Middlebury College students Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe were the ones who originally adapted Quidditch to play in real life. They were curious to see how the magical game described in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books would play out in real life.

The sport initially spread across university campuses but, as its popularity increased, high-level leagues, national teams, and governing bodies were established. Today, Quidditch is played by “nearly 600 teams in 40 countries,” according to the IQA.

Howard says that while “most people think of it as a live-action RPG, [quidditch is] a real sport that requires athletics”.

“From the first open practice, I fell in love with the chaotic nature of the sport and have been playing ever since,” he said.


Written and produced by Mickie Edwards.

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