While varsity sports have been underway for the past few weeks, club sports like Quidditch, rugby and Ultimate Frisbee are just now beginning their seasons and recruiting new members. Club sports differ from varsity sports in that they are not sanctioned through the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Club sports, however, provide a unique community on campus for students to try new sports, play competitively and stay active.
The Wellesley Quidditch team, the Whomping Wellesleys, kicked off the season this past weekend with the Southern New England Quidditch Conference Season Opener Tournament. Wellesley Quidditch played Q.C. Boston, a highly ranked team in the conference. Despite being outranked, Whomping Wellesleys captain Brooke Lawrence ’17 managed to end the game with a snatch. Wellesley fared best against Q.C. Boston compared to other New England area colleges.
“At the end of every match, both teams gather to say ‘Thank you! Thank you, refs! Thank you, Snitch!’ and then proceed to hug or give a handshake to every member of the opposing team,” Lu said.
Quidditch also boasts a strong sense of community. Over the past several years, the team has hosted the annual 24-Hour Rowling, where members of the team read all seven Harry Potter books within 24 hours, similar to the 24-Hour Shakes hosted annually by the Shakespeare Society.
Additionally, the team has joined a nine-team conference and hosted tournaments on Wellesley’s campus. Lu appreciates the “athletic safe space” the Whomping Wellesleys provides and anticipates a strong future for Wellesley’s Quidditch team.
“It’s been such an incredible journey and I want to see how far we can take it in years to come. We are a team, a family and a support group for each other,” Lu said.
The Wellesley rugby team dove headfirst into its season, playing a tournament after only two practices and with a new captain. Additionally, the team added 20 “rookies,” or new players, this year, all of whom were first years. Forward captain Nevatha Mathialagan ’15 said she’s looking forward to seeing the rookies grow and spending time with the team.
As for rookie traditions? “Most of our traditions for the rookies are closely kept secrets that only the vets know,” Mathialagan said.
“We also have an end-of-the-year celebration where the rookies officially become vets and secret psychers are revealed! The details beyond that, however, are a tightly kept secret,” back captain Kate Corocan ’15 said.
Like the Quidditch team, the rugby team is close-knit and incorporates non-athletic traditions into its culture.
“We always sing during our weekly socials, and we like to socialize with other teams after rugby games because many songs are universally known in the rugby community,” rugby president Tori Brown ’15 said. Mathialagan also said the great community is one of the team’s strengths.
With around 30 new Ultimate Frisbee players, The Wellesley Whiptails began its fall season this month with four tournaments scheduled for the semester. Veteran players returned from the summer by starting with a tournament at Club Sectionals, held in Portland, Maine.
Like rugby and Quidditch, the Frisbee team has passed down several traditions for new members, whom they call “cookies.” But the Whiptails aren’t secretive about them: They give each other nicknames, which they use both on the field and in everyday interactions on campus.
“You can’t ask for a nickname,” co-captain Dana Williams ’15 said. “They just happen.” Her own nickname? Bucket.
With approximately 45 first-year and sophomore members and only around 15 upperclass members, captains Lulu Ye ’15 (known to the team as Hippo) and Williams are managing one of the Whiptails’ biggest teams yet.
This week, both “cookies” and veterans carried around Frisbee discs to their classes and all other activities, as a shared experience to bond over. Members of the team also look forward to an upcoming scavenger hunt for the new players, as well as a Halloween themed costume tournament at Brown and “Flair Fridays,” in which they don unusual outfits for practice.
“When you’re a Whiptail, you aren’t coming together to play a sport. You’re a part of a crazy family that loves and supports one another to the max,” Williams said.
The Quidditch team will play its first and only home game of the season on October 19.
The Rugby team will be playing three home games this season, the first of which is Oct. 4 against Babson at 10:30 a.m. at the field by the Keohane Sports Center.
The Whiptails will hold a tournament with teams visiting from 10 other schools on campus all day this Sunday on the upper and lower rec fields.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story included Wellesley Quidditch as a club sport in the article “Club sports teams recruit new members and gear up for exciting fall season.” The Wellesley College website lists quidditch as a recreational activity, not a club sport. The Wellesley News regrets this error.