There are more than 200 clubs and organizations on Creighton’s campus. While these groups encompass a wide range of interests — from Greek life to politics — here are a few sports-related activities that may surprise you.
The Golden Snitch
They don’t fly, they don’t wear robes, they don’t even have real brooms. They’ve heard all that before.
On the surface, there’s nothing magical about the brand of quidditch — the flying-broom sport detailed in J.K. Rowling’s popular Harry Potter series — played by Creighton’s very own team. But hang around the game’s players long enough and there’s certainly something enchanting at work.
“Most people have heard of quidditch, have associated it with Harry Potter, but they’ve seen it in movies with players flying on brooms, so they don’t know exactly what it looks like in real life,” says Xavier Imperial, a senior from Mililani, Hawaii, who is president of the Creighton club quidditch squad.
Sanctioned as an official club sport in the fall of 2016, Creighton’s team plays in matches and tournaments throughout the Midwest.
The game features four balls — three playground dodgeballs and a volleyball. The volleyball serves as the “quaffle,” which players attempt to toss through one of three hoops for 10 points, while the dodgeballs, called “bludgers,” are used to harass opposing players.
All the while, players must maintain a straddle over “broomsticks” resembling slightly bent hockey sticks.
“It’s demanding,” says Ben Gribben, a senior from Mason City, Iowa. “It was hard to get used to at first, as much movement and activity is going on all sides of the field, but you gradually start to see the strategy. It’s full contact, all-out running. It’s a workout, both physically and mentally.”
To start a game, there are six players to a side: three chasers whose job it is to get the volleyball through one of the three hoops; two beaters, who fend off the opposing players with the bludgers; and a keeper, who provides a defense of the hoops.
At the 18-minute mark of a match, the Golden Snitch is introduced, along with a seventh player for each team — the seeker, whose job it is to corral the Snitch and earn his team 50 points.
And, absent magical properties, just what does a Golden Snitch look like in earthbound quidditch?
The Snitch is a person, preferably a deft, quick one, dressed all in yellow, with a yellow tube sock stuffed with a tennis ball, tucked into the waistband of his or her shorts and dangling from the back like a tail.
“The Snitch can do whatever he wants,” Imperial said. “All part of the basic randomness of the game.”
Throwing the Rock
“The most important aspect of the game is being able to have a consistent delivery when you’re throwing the rock,” says Blake Anderson, a junior from Mequon, Wisconsin, and president of the Creighton curling club.
After playing with the Aksarben Curling Club in Omaha, Anderson was able to connect with other students to form Creighton’s own curling club. The club competes with other collegiate teams, and hosts an annual tournament in February.
Curling can be best compared to shuffleboard. One team member throws or slides the rock — a stone made of granite weighing about 40 pounds — as two other team members use brooms to hastily sweep the ice out in front to assist in the rock’s trajectory toward a target (or house) on the other side of the playing surface.
Each team throws eight rocks, trying to get them to stop at the target’s center circle, also known as the “button.” Gameplay lasts around two hours.
Curling is a popular sport in the Northeast, as well as in Minnesota. And it’s growing in popularity in Omaha. The U.S. Curling Olympic Trials are underway now at Baxter Arena.
Curling was officially sanctioned as a club at Creighton in 2016. This season began in October, with tournaments lasting through March.
“You don’t really need to be athletic at all, you just need to be willing to learn a new sport,” Anderson says.