Texas Quidditch: 4-time champion makes magical sport physical

Adam Ogburn

A sport that combines the physicality of football, the shooting of basketball and the game of dodgeball is a crazy proposition for most, but for the Texas Quidditch team, it is something they have mastered to the tune of four national championships in 10 years.

The team is broken up into four positions: keepers, beaters, seekers and chasers. The keepers protect the hoop, beaters use bludgers to delay their opponents and chasers try to throw or kick the quaffle in the hoops. The game has its origin in Harry Potter, which is what first drew many players to the game.

“I love Harry Potter,” freshman beater Purvi Mujumdar said. “I had a Harry Potter-themed birthday party in elementary school. I was that into it.”

Other team members found the game by chance.

“They were having a party,” senior keeper Spencer Forbes said. “(My friend and I) went. We did not know it was a quidditch party. It was a cool group of people, and they invited us out to tryouts and we ended up going and going until we made the team.”

Senior captain and beater Tate Kay’s journey was just as unlikely as Forbes’.

“Some of my friends, as a joke, were like, ‘Let’s do quidditch,’” Kay said. “I actually went out to the tryouts. My friends ditched me. I went through it by myself. The next year I made (the team), and I’ve been on (Texas Quidditch) since my sophomore year.”

As each member found their way to Texas Quidditch, the foundation for the highly successful program was being built. Texas won national championships in 2013, 2014 and 2015 before claiming their fourth national championship after a 150-40 win over the University of California, Berkeley in the US Quidditch Cup 12 championship game this past April. 

“It’s mostly our work ethic and dedication to the sport,” Grayson Briggs, sophomore chaser and club president, said when asked about the key to the program’s success. “We work day in and day out on the pitch and watch film to make sure we are constantly getting better. We never settle. That’s one of the big things that (captains) Tate and Kasye (Bevers) push around here.” 

As they aim to go back-to-back this year, the experiences learned from last year will be valuable.

“Last year I was captain as well,” Kay said. “Just knowing what it took to get there last year — for me (we will need to) at least just bring that.”

During the championship run, two freshmen started along with several others who played significant minutes. That youthfulness has provided a good blend with the experience the upperclassmen bring to the program.

“Our physicality and experience show even though we do have still a young team,” sophomore Bevers said. “Our chasing game, our quaffle game is one of our strengths. Our chasers really stepped up with our offense and locking down on defense.”

As the season kicks into high gear, however, there are still misconceptions about the game many on the team want to correct.

“Whenever I tell people I play quidditch, they just laugh because they immediately attach it to Harry Potter, which is what it’s based off of, but they don’t understand the physicality,” Bevers said. “They don’t know that we tackle. They don’t know that there is a defensive aspect, and that it’s a physical game. They just associate it with flying on brooms.”

For Texas and its players, the validation came with the championships. 

“(My family) made fun of it until they came to nationals, and now my mom is the biggest fan,” Forbes said.