Quidditch isn’t just something to read about in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books anymore.
Thanks to juniors Samantha Sutliff and Alex Locust, who created the Quidditch organization last year, students can now play it here on campus, minus the flying brooms and balls. Last Saturday, the club took off to the University of Miami’s IM fields for the semester’s first practice.
“I was smiling the whole time because there was such a good turnout,” Locust said. “There was a really wide variety, guys, girls, seniors, freshmen [and] all sorts of majors and everyone looked like they were having fun.”
In Rowling’s books, Quidditch is the main sport in the Wizarding world.
According to the Harry Potter Lexicon Web site, “Quidditch is a fast, dangerous, exciting game in which two teams, flying on broomsticks, compete for points scored by throwing a ball (the Quaffle) through hoops on either end of a large grassy pitch.”
Quidditch played by muggles, or non-wizards, looks more like a mixture of dodgeball, soccer, basketball, and flag football.
“What makes it difficult is holding a broom between your legs and only being able to use one hand for throwing and catching,” sophomore Hernan Martinez said.
At Saturday’s practice, players ran drills practicing how to throw the ball with one hand, as well as how to run with their broomsticks.
According to Sutliff, Quidditch motivates people who wouldn’t normally be playing sports to become active.
The idea for the Quidditch team began when, as a freshman, Sutliff posted as her Facebook status, “Who wants to make a Quidditch team?” She received a few joking responses but the next year she and Locust started to get serious about the club.
“No one took us seriously in the beginning,” said Locust, who called muggle Quidditch “a beast of a game.”
This semester they became an official student organization with Locust as president, or “Headmaster,” and Sutliff as captain of the team, or “Head of Gryffindor House.”
Muggle Quidditch (MQUM) is registered with 78 total members on the Committee on Student Organizations (COSO) Web site. The group is still in the process of becoming an official club sport.
They held an open event last spring to gauge interest on campus and were amazed by the turnout. In the summer, they created a Facebook group to get the word out about their organization and, in less than a month, the group had over 200 members.
“I’m shocked at how nerdy this campus is,” Sutliff said.
The Quidditch craze, however, extends further than just the University of Miami.
Muggle Quidditch has been bringing the books to life for fans since 2005.
According to the International Quidditch Association (IQA) website, muggle Quidditch first began as a sport at Middleburry College, in Vermont. Now the sport is active in over 700 high school and college campuses around the world.
At UM, the club is currently working towards becoming an official club sport with the Sports & Recreational Interest Club Federation (SRICF), so that they can have time on the IM fields for free.
They are currently competing for time and space with the already established lacrosse, frisbee, soccer and rugby club teams.
“It’s definitely a hard sell to convince people that we’re a competitive club sport,” Locust said. “But I think with practices like the one we had yesterday we made really good headway. We’re not just a club of people that love Harry Potter, we’re a serious sport and we’re not trying to hide who we are.”
Sandra Montalvo may be contacted at smontalvo@themiamihurricane.
How To Play Quidditch:
Seven members of a team are on the field at all times: three chasers, two beaters, one seeker, and one keeper. Each player must have his or her broom between his or her legs at all times.
Chasers run down the field with the quaffle, or a deflated volleyball, to the three hoops to score by throwing or kicking the ball through the hoops. Beaters throw or kick bludgers, or deflated dodge balls, at opponents to temporarily take them out of play. The seeker chases down the snitch, trying to take a flag or tennis ball in a sock hanging from the snitches waist. The keeper defends three hoops from quaffles thrown or kicked by chasers.
The snitch is a neutral player provided by either team, dressed in yellow or gold, whose main objective is not to get caught by the seekers. As the players line up on either side of the field, the snitch runs away, and the game begins when he or she is out of sight.
Games last between 15 and 20 minutes. Scoring: 10 points for every quaffle that goes through a hoop and 30 points goes the seeker who catches the snitch, which ends the game.
MQUM holds practices from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays on the IM fields. Last Saturday, Sept. 18, was their first practice.