The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Muggle Quidditch ‘clean sweeping’ the nation

The golden Snitch is inches away from his fingertips … the deafening crowd is roaring in the background … Chasers are trying to catch the Quaffle midair as the opposing Seeker is on the heels of his broomstick …

No, it’s not a spoiler for tonight’s premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I” – it’s Muggle Quidditch. And while players may not be able to hop on a broom and speed off to catch the golden Snitch like J.K. Rowling’s infamous Harry Potter, students at more than 400 colleges across the world are getting close.

According to the International Quidditch Association website, there are hundreds of college-level Quidditch teams in the United States, and several dozen international Quidditch teams from Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America and Asia.

“It’s just like in the ‘Harry Potter’ books,” said Nikki Powers, a co-founder of the Quidditch team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “There’s even someone who’s the Snitch, so instead of having a magical, flying golden ball, there’s a person dressed up in gold who runs around the field.”

Kevin Dalrymple, a freshman at Loyola University Chicago and a member of the Thrashing Thestrals Quidditch team, said the rules – which the IQA posts on their website – are rather complicated, but likened the game to rugby on broomsticks.

There’s a Quaffle (or deflated volleyball) that players throw to each other. Three players are Chasers who try to get the Quaffle into one of three hoops made of PVC pipes and hula-hoops, and two are Beaters who throw Bludgers (dodgeballs) at members of the other team. If someone gets hit, he or she has to run around the field. There’s also a Seeker who tries to steal a sock with a tennis ball attached to it from the Snitch, ending the game, Dalrymple said.

“It is like a combination of basketball, hockey, dodgeball and football all happening at once,” said Diana Broberg, a senior at Long Island University-C.W. Post Campus, in an e-mail. “And all this has to be done with a broom between your legs!”

Quidditch may seem easy to establish and play, but team founders such as Powers and Broberg stressed the intensity of the game and various issues with the sport.

“(After) we practiced for an entire semester, we were told (by our student organization association) that our game is too much like Dodgeball, so we were banned from playing,” Broberg said. “I highly recommend you check into your schools rules on the types of sports than can be played before you get too invested.”

Marquette has liability waivers that students involved in recreational sports must sign, making the students themselves responsible – not the university – for injuries incurred while playing.

While Marquette doesn’t currently have a team, students could start one by filling out a “Request to Organize” form with the Office of Student Development and having at least five interested members. Once they have preliminary approval, students can contact the IQA to set up games with other schools in the Midwest region.

Dalrymple said he almost received a concussion and had teeth knocked out during his first game, and warned anyone playing Quidditch to be aware that it’s a high-contact, injury-prone sport. He also said to start a team, it is important to have safety rules in place, and safety gear like goggles and mouth guards are essential.

Despite issues with maintaining interest and avoiding injuries, some students can’t deny the “enchanting” thrill of the game.

“I loved how intense the game is, both physically and strategically,” Broberg said. “The people who started the league did a really good job at making the game true to the books, but exciting and challenging for us Muggles.”

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  • W

    WelchNov 21, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Can’t wait for the movie!