Boston’s best quidditch players didn’t need flying broomsticks to become the best team in the country. Unlike their fictional inspiration, Boston’s Night Riders won first place in a national championship competition this weekend without ever leaving the ground.
Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, quidditch is a co-ed contact sport played between teams of seven players, all whom run with broomsticks between their legs. The objective: get a deflated volleyball — or quaffle, in wizarding terms — into one of three hoops at either end of the field.
It’s a combination of rugby, dodgeball, and basketball, according to Jack McGovern, a spokesman for Major League Quidditch, which started in 2015 to give city teams a platform for competition.
Each team in the league represents a city, and players of any age can participate. Boston’s team ranges from ages 18 to 33, said Kara Levis, manager for the Boston Night Riders.
“It’s very, very intense, and people take it very seriously,” said Tyler Trudeau, a 22-year-old keeper, who began playing quidditch as a freshman at Emerson College. He just graduated in May.
“Quidditch is something completely different from what anyone could ever imagine, and I’m just so proud of what this team has done,” he said.
The two-day championship, held this past weekend in League City, Texas, was the second held by Major League Quidditch, a league launched last year for city teams across the country.
Eight teams competed last year, and the number grew to 14 this year, each with about 21 people on roster. The Boston Night Riders, named for Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride, has won both.
With Sunday’s win against the Austin Outlaws, Boston now has an undefeated all-time 28-0 record.
In Major League Quidditch, Boston is widely considered one of the best cities for the sport, McGovern said. With strong quidditch teams at Emerson, Boston University, and Tufts University, among other local colleges, Boston’s players often bring years of experience to the field. And they walk away with first place trophies.
“The team clicked immediately. Everyone got along,” Trudeau said. “It is a group of hard-working athletes that push themselves every day and work their butts off to try to win for their team.”
More than 300 people came out to watch the championship games, Levis said, adding that everything about this year’s national championship was “fantastic.”
“It’s quidditch. It’s goofy, [but] we take it seriously. We’re working to become that professional level organization,” she said. “This is by far the most respectful game of competitive quidditch I’ve ever seen.”