Marquette Quidditch stays grounded

Video by Connor Basch

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Photo by Austin Anderson

Before 2005, quidditch was a word that was most associated with the Harry Potter book and movie series. Harry and Draco Malfoy would duke it out in the air throughout their time at Hogwarts, leaving the crowds to look up in awe as Gryffindor took down Slytherin.

Now, quidditch is different. The action doesn’t take place high up in the air at quick speeds on magic broomsticks. The passing of a decade has seen the game transition from the big screen to college campuses, including Marquette. Since its formation in 2011, the Marquette Quidditch Club has worked to assure people that this sport is more than just a fad from a movie anymore.

“What most people are surprised by is they think we’re a Harry Potter club on campus,” said club president and head captain Nathan Digmann. “We’ve had people sign up and they’re ready for book club. That’s not what it is. We do tackling drills for a half hour of practice … that’s what you have to be able to do in a game.”

This is a real sport now. No, it isn’t Division I and played at the highest level in front of thousands of cheering fans, but it is in terms of the sense of family and camaraderie it upholds.

“It’s kind of like a big family,” junior Cammy Lang said. “Everyone has so much fun together. We spend so many weekends together, and so much time practicing together that it’s hard not to get super close. It’s been a great experience and it’s definitely the best decision I’ve made at Marquette.”

Three times a week, the Quidditch Club gathers on Humphrey Field to run through drills and strategy just as any other athletic program would. The squad runs through tackling and shooting drills as well as footwork before they dive into live-action scrimmages.

On the weekends, its off to tournaments in other college towns. So far in 2016, the team has participated in four tournaments – including one which they hosted and won at Lake Park Oct. 1. In November, they will be off to Ames, Iowa, to participate in this year’s regionals. They finished in a tie for fifth in the same tournament last season.

No more flying brooms. No more small, flying, gold balls (although they do play with a human snitch). No more spells. This game is real now, and it’s hard-hitting than you’d expect.