David Danos has always been a die-hard Harry Potter fan. Now a second-year Arts student, Danos heard about the UBC Quidditch team even before he stepped on campus.
When he first joined the team, Danos tried his hand as a chaser, which is an offensive position. But after a number of failed attempts at scoring goals, he found his Quidditch calling in defensive play; he became a beater, throwing bludgers at chasers to prevent them from scoring.
“It’s a heck of a lot easier throwing a ball at somebody instead of through a hoop,” he said.
When Danos joined the team, he had reservations about its level of ability.
“I watched some videos of the east coast American university teams. UBC had a team … ish. We were just a bunch of dorks who were running around with brooms between our legs,” he joked.
But after a strong performance against the UVic team, Danos’s hopes were lifted. Last summer, after he heard about the Quidditch Olympic Expo held in Oxford, England, Danos seized the opportunity to take the sport to the next level.
“We didn’t really have a team for Canada. I started helping out by getting in touch with people to get a Canadian Quidditch alliance together. They were strapped for players.”
When Danos described his international aspirations at a family reunion, his family agreed to pitch in for his trip to Oxford.
“I signed up at the last minute. I can’t thank them enough. It was mind-blowing,” he said.
Danos ended up playing as a beater at the tournament. Though the Canadian team hadn’t even met one another until the day before the tournament, let alone practiced together, the team won against Australia and the U.K. in their first two matches.
The team then faced France in the semi-finals.
“We were very evenly matched with the French team, and we got along very well with them since the entire Canadian team was bilingual. We were the translators between them and the referees,” Danos said with a laugh.
“We were all singing the anthems and especially the U.K. and French ones.”
Canada won against France, but had to play three more back-to-back 45-minute games, where a combination of injuries and exhaustion got the better of them. The team placed fourth, but Danos was all smiles.
“After the day-long tournament, we ended up meeting the lord mayor of Oxford. I played Quidditch with the actor who portrayed the young Lily Evans [Harry Potter’s mother] in the last Harry Potter movie, a year after I met her at the movie’s premiere. It was pretty amazing.”
And since the Olympic Expo, Danos has set ambitious goals for the UBC Quidditch team back home. “We’ve being trying to make it varsity…. We’re playing in regionals and playing in a tournament next weekend in Bellingham. Hopefully, we’ll make it to the Olympic Expo someday.”