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Quidditch creates competitive community beyond Potter


CMU Quidditch teammates pose together after their last practice before regional games in Ohio on Nov. 3 at the IM Fields. From left to right: Canton MBeater Jack Slater, Rogers City MWing Nate Hilla, Grand Haven FBeater Maris Enos, Grand Rapids FWing Michaela Riley, and Mount Pleasant MWing Taylor Felton.

They don’t fly on broomsticks, but there is still a competitive Quidditch club team at Central Michigan University.

Quidditch is a sport in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books where people fly on broomsticks and score points by throwing balls into hoops. Even though the sport is based in Rowling’s fantasy creation, universities around the country adapted the sport so muggles can play it too.

The club team at CMU became an official club sport in 2012 and has 40 active members this year. Every year, CMU has made it to the regional and national competitions. Most outsiders have misconceptions of Quidditch, which is a hybrid of rugby, dodgeball and handball, said David Wier, the team co-captain.

The muggle version of the sport is full contact and more competitive than most newcomers realize, explained the Muskegon graduate student.

“There are two people who play Quidditch,” Wier said. “There are people who are athletic and like sports, and the people who really just like Harry Potter. I think they both have a place in our sport, but to be taken seriously I definitely want people to see the more athletic side.”

One of the defining aspects of Quidditch that set it apart from being a modification of rugby is a player must run while holding a “broom” between their legs. This is either a PVC pipe, wood rod or some other broom like object and serves as a handicap to add difficulty to the sport.

“It’s definitely fun to play. People make assumptions of it a little too early,” Wier said. “If you give it a chance, get familiar with the rules and watch a few games, it’s fun.”

Another cornerstone of the sport is that a player from each team, called a seeker, joins the game 18 minutes in to try to catch a player called the snitch. The snitch is a neutral third party player that seekers have to pull a flagfootball like golden “tail” off of in order to earn 30 points and end the game.

“I know Rowling has stated she purposefully wrote Quidditch to be ridiculous,” Wier said. “In our sport, (the snitch) is worth 30 points instead of (150 like in the books), so it is a way you can win the game if you’re down 20, 30 points but it’s not a single defining factor.”

Snitches are known to wrestle players and don’t play by the same physical contact rules as other players, Wier said.

Three chasers on each team can score 10 points each time they throw a volleyball into one of the other team’s three hoops — guarded by a keeper or goalie. In addition, two people on each team are “beaters” who throw dodgeballs at players, who must drop a volleyball and touch the rings once hit.

The club team at CMU puts in four practices a week and competes almost every weekend, which requires traveling long distances and sometimes venturing out of state to play.

Being aware of where her players are when she’s on the field is one of the most essential parts of playing chaser, explained CMU alumna Morgan Bethann.

Because she is no longer a student, Bethann helps out at practice and subs in to give other players a break. She said she is grateful she joined the team because of the sense of community.

“I was anxious about being good enough and making friends with people I don’t know, but everyone was very accepting and it’s the best thing I’ve done in the last year,” she said.

Canton sophomore Morgan Crawford plays beater and is grateful she joined the club team even though she wasn’t expecting the intensity of the sport to be so high.

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“I honestly was not expecting the amount of times you get knocked on the floor,” Crawford said. “I knew it was full contact but wasn’t expecting people to charge me.”


About Kate Carlson

Editor-in-Chief Kate Carlson is a senior from Lapeer who is majoring in journalism with a minor in ...

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