Emerson, BU Students Are Raising Money for a Trip to the Quidditch World Cup

Yes, colleges have Quidditch teams. And yes, there's an international championship title on the line.

Photo via Emerson College Quidditch

Photo via Emerson College Quidditch

They did it last year, and they are hoping to do it all over again.

Members of Emerson College’s Quidditch team—yes, Quidditch is a sport played by hundreds of schools across the country—are looking for the public’s help raising money so that they can fund a trip to this year’s World Cup event in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Last year, the team, made up of about 21 students, was able to secure roughly $7,000 to help cover the costs of travel and lodging so they could take on dozens of other students from colleges and universities around the country—and the world— including Boston College, Harvard, and Boston University.

For this year’s competition, they are looking to raise about the same amount. To do it, the team launched an Indiegogo.com fundraising account on Friday, asking anyone with a vested interest in seeing them advance in the tournament, for a chance to clinch a title, to toss them a few dollars if possible. So far they have raised just $275.

“If we don’t raise the money we can’t go—unless we find the money in our own pockets, but it would be hard for all of the players to pay the costs to get down there. If we can’t get everyone to go, we could end up being stuck with just a small amount of kids that would be able to go,” said Carlyle Thomes, a junior, who has played on the team since his freshman year.

Quidditch as an actual sport, outside of the world of the Harry Potter novels, was first created at Middlebury College in Vermont, in 2005. Since then, it has become an internationally recognized activity with rules and guidelines. The International Quidditch Association was also formed and is responsible for regulating tournaments like the World Cup, and governing the more than 300 teams around the world. Emerson’s team, the Lions, was formed in 2008.

Teams qualify for the World Cup by competing in one of the many regional championship tournaments held during the regular season, according to the IQA’s website, which details the rules of the game. Eighty teams have been picked to play at the World Cup this year.

In order to be able to play during the World Cup, Emerson needs to have at least seven players ready to hit the field. But because of how active and aggressive Quidditch can get—it’s a full-contact sport with no pads—the team needs a few extras so they can substitute players in when they become exhausted. “Having all 21 people there makes a huge difference, because it gets tiring due to the fast paced actions on the field,” said Thomes.

The World Cup event is happening in April, and because the team isn’t recognized by Emerson officials due to liability and injury issues, and doesn’t receive funding from the school, they have to rely on outside contributions to secure a spot in the games by March. “In the regular season for fundraising we would do it by throwing parties and having people pay at the door, and then we had bake sales and stuff like that,” said Thomes. “Nothing that made us a substantial amount, but it was enough to sustain and get us to small tournaments along the way.”

Because Emerson is seen as a top contender in the World Cup, Thomes and his teammates think it would be a missed opportunity if they couldn’t show off their skills in South Carolina.  “If you really want to make it, you have to put in a lot of effort,” said Thomes. “We have the skills and players to make the run for the cup, and we’re hoping we can make it all the way.”

Boston University students have taken a similar approach to try and raise money to make an appearance at this year’ tournament. According to their Indiegogo.com fundraiser, getting to Myrtle Beach is an expensive endeavor. “In order to pay for the necessary transportation and lodging expenses, we have organized t-shirt campaigns, sweatshirt campaigns, and a bottle drive. But so far, it has not been enough,” the team wrote. “This season, BU Quidditch has fought its way to an undefeated tournament record, earning two titles, including its third straight Northeast Regional Championship. We don’t want to stop there.”

In 2012, in London, students from Boston University and Emerson were picked to represent the U.S. at a tournament during the Olympic Games.