Quidditch takes off at Santa Rita

Courtesy of Pearl Garvin
A Santa Rita student speeds down the pitch – quaffle and broom in hand – to make a goal while beaters take aim with bludgers to try and stop him. Mountain View’s quidditch team, the Silicon Valley Skrewts, taught students to play the Harry Potter-inspired game Oct. 26.

Mountain View’s Silicon Valley Skrewts quidditch team – a sport inspired by the Harry Potter books – visited Santa Rita School last week to lead a lunchtime scrimmage in which every grade could participate.

“Traditionally, the fourth- through sixth-grade students play quidditch for PE class every year around Halloween time,” said Pearl Garvin, the PE teacher at Santa Rita.

While she usually teaches a modified version of the sport, modeled on ultimate Frisbee, this year Garvin brought in the pros from the Skrewts, named after the Blast-Ended Skrewt, a hybrid creature featured in the Harry Potter series.

After modifying the rules to better suit their audience – competitive quidditch is a gender-integrated, physically demanding, full-contact sport, featuring players galloping around on broomsticks – the Skrewts explained the basics.

Shooting the quaffle (a slightly deflated volleyball) through any of the hoops is worth 10 points. But getting hit by a bludger (a dodgeball, for the Muggles out there) means dropping your ball, hopping off your broom and touching your own hoops before being able to rejoin play.

While the Skrewts previously played on household brooms, the sport has since evolved to using sleek PVC piping.

Starting with the first-graders and moving up, each grade had the opportunity to pick up a broom and shoot some hoops. The younger students’ games played out like peewee soccer matches.

“It was delightfully chaotic,” said Kyle Pickett, a chaser for the Skrewts.

The older students, however, picked up on the nuances of quidditch.

“It was so fun to see the progression of their understanding of the rules,” Garvin said.

The quidditch exhibition was a big hit with students, who were initially expecting to observe.

Students were pleased to

note that the Skrewts’ version of the sport mirrored the game they were familiar with from J.K. Rowling’s classic series.

“Just like Harry Potter!” one of the third graders said. “When you get hit by the bludger, you drop the quaffle.”

While this was the first time teaching quidditch for some of the Skrewts, they were impressed by the students’ performance.

“They have a sense of what should be happening,” said Willis Miles, the Skrewts’ veteran beater. “The older students have the coordination to play with a decent amount of skill.”

While the Santa Rita students are still too young to join the Skrewts – players on U.S. Quidditch club teams must be 17 or older – there’s a team waiting for them once they’re of age.

“One of the great things about quidditch is that anyone who wants to play can,” Pickett said. “If you want to grow up and play quidditch, it’s open to everyone.”

Town Crier Schools Editor Elizabeth Barcelos is a beater on the Skrewts.

For more information on the Silicon Valley Skrewts, visit siliconvalleyskrewts.

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