Quidditch Takes Off at UM


UM’s Muggle Quidditch team is a fast-rising force.

 


The magical world of Harry Potter is coming to life at a field near you.
Quidditch, a popular sport in Potter’s J. K. Rowling-created universe, is traditionally played on flying broomsticks, with players covering the positions of chaser, seeker, beater, and keeper.

First adapted for Muggles, or non-wizards, at Middlebury College in 2005, Muggle Quidditch can be described as a mix of soccer, flag football, dodgeball, and basketball. Though earthbound, it still requires the use of broomsticks.

“It’s not as easy as it looks,” says sophomore Ally Levy, a seeker on University of Miami’s team. “Try tackling someone with a broom between your legs.”

In this version of Quidditch, a deflated volleyball serves as the quaffle, deflated dodgeballs are bludgers, and a neutral player is the snitch.

Founded in the spring of 2010, the UM team has quickly found success on the field.

“The first couple practices were just learning people’s names,” recounts team captain Hernan Martinez, one of the earliest members. “I played everything and so did everybody else. Then we saw what everybody’s strengths were.”

Their first matchups were against Florida International University. “They had fewer members, so we won all four games,” Martinez says.

UM’s next stop was the Swamp Cup, a six-team interstate tournament held in Gainesville this past March. Despite falling to the Gator team in the first game, UM went on to beat Ringling College of Art and Design in a deciding contest and brought home the cup.

“It was intense,” says Levy. “We came in not having any ideas, and we hadn’t practiced that much. I realized how out
of shape I was.”

This year Muggle Quidditch teams from UM and three other schools launched the nonprofit Florida Quidditch Conference to help plan matches and an annual FQC Championship. “We take all the knowledge we have and help other clubs get started faster,” explains Martinez, who also serves as director of gameplay for the Florida Quidditch Association, the sport’s statewide governing body.

With the team’s Swamp Cup victory in tow, UM competed for the 2011 Quidditch World Cup, sponsored by the International Quidditch Association. Going in, UM Muggle Quidditch was ranked 18th by the IQA, with a 21-9 record of wins and losses. The team hopes to climb into the top ten following its performance at the World Cup, which took place November 12 and 13 in New York City.

Meanwhile, at UM, the Committee on Student Organizations awarded the team’s outstanding athletic achievements.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” says Martinez. “We created so much out of nothing. All of us are so devoted to the sport.”

Alysha Khan, ’14

   Click here to watch UM Quidditch team in action.