Quidditch team rides brooms to unprecedented heights

Colin Francis (left) and David McCarthy Moyer (right) play muggle Quidditch. The match tookl place April 7 at the University of Miami. Vincent Fung//Staff Photographer

The UM Quidditch team is the real deal. It is ranked second in the International Quidditch Association, just under Ball State University in an association currently composed of 66 teams.

Alex Locust, a senior and co-founder of the club, is the headmaster of MQUM, which stands for Muggle Quidditch at the University of Miami. It is based on the game from the Harry Potter series.

“I am speechless to see the progress that we’ve made,” he said.

Locust, “an avid Harry Potter fan,” started MQUM with fellow classmate Samantha Sutliff. They thought it might be a fun idea, so they held meetings and received a surprising amount of interest.

The club was initially envisioned as a relaxed recreational club that would play pick-up games on the weekends. Instead, the team competed in the 2011 World Cup in only its second year of existence.

“I thought this would be a fun way to blow off some steam,” he said. “We were approved as a club sport last semester.”

The team has about 15 members competing and 25 students that come for the fun of the sport. MQUM is beginning the process of dividing the club into two teams, one competitive and one recreational so that more people can get involved.

Freshman Michelle Lock first joined MQUM because of her love for the Harry Potter series.  She likes the idea of two teams because she enjoys playing Quidditch for fun.

“The recreational league opens up the group more. They can get more people to play,” she said. “Quidditch is intense because there are so many things going on at the same time. It’s difficult to watch, but once you know the rules and get used to it, it’s really fun.”

Lock described Quidditch as a combination of dodgeball, hide-and-seek and basketball.

Sophomore David Moyer, a seeker on the team, joined MQUM because he wanted something fun and athletic to do. After watching a practice for the first time, he was convinced.

“This is too ridiculous for me not to be a part of,” he said.

As a seeker, his job is to catch the snitch, who is a neutral player dressed in yellow who runs around the field waiting to be caught. The team that catches the snitch is awarded 150 points and the win.

Moyer describes the team as “an awesome combination of athletic and nerdy.” As for learning to run with a broom between their legs, he notes that it takes a brave individual to be able to do that regularly.

“It takes a specific type of person that has the guts to do something like that,” he said.

Once Locust graduates in May, he will leave behind a legacy through MQUM.  He accomplished one of his main goals for the club when Quidditch became an official club sport. His other goal is ongoing.

“Convincing everyone else of the legitimacy of our sport is another goal,” he said. “A lot of people find it easy to point and laugh. Honestly, I see the difficulties of it when we’re running around on brooms and playing a sport derived from a children’s book.”

But, he said, “Quidditch has been an integral part of my time here at UM.”