The name doesn’t draw from some storied past, the school was only founded in 1965, but rather from a student body vote in which the runner -up was “none of the above”. But California is known for being new and bucking convention.
Walking around campus I never saw the school’s three Nobel prize winners, they were likely busy in labs somewhere, but I did see lots of students. They milled about on lawns, on paths, and brutalist styled libraries and commons. It is easy to notice students at UC Irvine, there are almost 30,000 of them.
But on this fall day what made these students stand out was what they were doing.
After watching what was obviously a game of Quidditch (there was no announcer or stadium to help me realize this) and understanding that I am of a different generation than these students, I rushed home to share my experience with someone who is more in tune with today’s college kids; my 9 year old daughter.
I came in the door, pulled the picture up on my phone and said, “Hey 9 year old daughter, look what I saw today!”
“What is that?”
“What do you mean what is this? It’s kids playing quidditch!”
Without a smile or even a nod of appreciation she stated as fact, “That is not how you play quidditch.”
“Come on, I know they have to pretend a little, but this is real life. Look they figured out how to play it in real life. You don’t think that’s cool?”
Her reply came immediately and at a rapid fire pace:
“No. For quidditch in real life you need a stage. The brooms are connected to a series of ropes and pullies that allow them to move both up and down as well as slide across to the other side of the stage. Bludgers are hung from ropes in different places so they can swing around hitting people or getting hit by players with clubs….” She kept going for a minute or so more without breathing and in an indignant tone. I had no idea what she was talking about but it was obvious she had thought this through in detail.
I have learned that when in conversation with someone who knows a lot more about a subject than you do, it is best to just shake your head and listen.