By Junette Reyes/Entertainment Director
A group of students on campus add a little bit of magic into the mundaneness of life with a sport inspired by none other than the Harry Potter series: Muggle Quidditch.
You read that right, FIU has its own Quidditch Club and it’s a sport as serious as the rest.
“The way I try to explain it to people just like a ten second explanation it’s that it’s like a game of rugby with a game of dodgeball and capture the flag going on in the middle of it,” said Casey Lamrouex, a senior majoring in architecture and the captain of the Quidditch Club.
Lamrouex explained that the rules of the game are basically the same as depicted in the novels and movies, with the obvious exception of wizardry.
Each team is comprised of seven players. Three people are labeled as the “Chasers.” Chasers are the players within the teams that score all of the points in the game by throwing the “quaffle” – a partially deflated volleyball without all of the movie magic – into the opposing team’s goals. Each goal scored is worth 10 points.
The two defensive members of the team are called “Beaters.” Beaters attempt to hit the opposing team’s players with “bludgers” – a partially deflated dodgeball – and attempt to block any “bludgers” that are thrown at their fellow team members. Once a player is hit by a “bludger,” they are considered knocked off their broom and must immediately drop whatever ball they might be holding and run back to touch their team’s hoops before being allowed to get back in the game.
Another defensive player on the team are the “Keepers.” Keepers essentially act as the goalkeepers and must block all attempts from the “Chasers” to score points when throwing the “quaffle” into the hoops.
“That’s the people on the field, that’s your six people. Now what really makes it Quidditch for most people is that you have the ‘Seekers’ and the ‘Snitch,’” said Lamrouex.
Each team has a “Seeker” that must catch the “Snitch.”
“We don’t have any possessed balls that I know of, so the ‘Snitch’ is usually like a track runner or sometimes we’re actually getting a lot of wrestlers doing this now,” said Lamrouex.
The individual acting as the “Snitch” dresses all in yellow and wears a flag hanging off the back of their shorts. “Seekers” need to capture this flag cleanly without tackling the individual.
A game is not considered over until a team’s “Seeker” catches it. However, so that the game does not end quickly, “Seekers” are not allowed to go after the “Snitch” up until the 10 minute mark. From that point onwards, the game may continue for up to 20 or 30 minutes, depending on how quickly the “Seekers” are able to catch the “Snitch.”
The “Seekers” and the “Snitch” are not required to stay on the field. The coaches agree before the game what the extended boundaries of the field are. Depending on this, that is how far the “Snitch” and “Seekers” are allowed to go.
“Eventually, they do have to come back and most people don’t catch the snitch until they’re back on the field,” said Lamrouex.
Due to the nature of the sport, the Quidditch Club does deal with several reactions from members of the FIU community.
“The thing that people usually ask when they’re just laughing about it is “How do you guys fly?” And yeah, I’d love to fly if I could but I’d rather have the magic that fixes all of your injuries first since that’s a little bit more relevant to how to play,” said Lamrouex.
On the other hand, the team has gained full support from the Athletics Department.
“They’ve actually been really supportive. We’re classified as a sports club under the rec center. Some of the employees when they hear it’s Quidditch, they just laugh. But among the people that actually set things up in the staff, they’ve been really supportive,” said Lamrouex.
Lamrouex explained that what is unique about Muggle Quidditch, besides the use of brooms and the influence from the Harry Potter series, is the fact that the teams are completely co-ed.
“It’s co-ed. There are no pads but there’s full contact; it’s basically rugby contact where you take people to the ground,” said Lamrouex.
“A guy can hit a girl or vice versa. There are girls that hit guys that are three times their size and they take them down one handed and put them on the floor. It’s embarrassing,” said Steven Paisley, a senior double majoring in criminal justice and physical therapy and a “Beater” in the team.
The intensity of the game does allow the possibility of injuries, which is why members of the Quidditch Club note that it is important to be a part of the team not only for the Harry Potter fandom but also out of love for the sport.
“If you want to train and work at it, it’s a sport that will take in your strengths and give you a position to play those strengths and develop them,” said Martha Diaz-Ossa, senior English major and “Beater” on the team.
“We’re not going to throw anyone without knowing anything into a game and have them get all beat up. The commitment is needed because we’ll do things to practice tackling, how to fall, how to avoid breaking a rib, how to do all of that. And the commitment needs to be there, people need to come to practice to learn all of these things. It really is great because of the inclusivity with the people from the fandom and the people that come to watch but when it comes to playing, everyone kind of needs to be on the same level of knowing what’s going on,” said Diaz-Ossa.
Above all else, members of the team are glad they joined due to the relationships they have formed.
“The first impression was horrible. I was like ‘This is ridiculous, this is dumb.’ I see people on brooms catching a volleyball and I see three hoops. I’m like ‘Whoa, this isn’t good.’ But then after a while, you start to see more, you start practicing, you start to meet the cool people. And then we just started becoming a family,” said Paisley.
“I joined Quidditch because I think it’s a really great group of people. You get to meet new amazing people who have a common interest both in Harry Potter but also in sports,” said Diaz-Ossa.
“Whether it’s focused around Harry Potter or just bonding with each other, it’s always a big experience,” said Lamrouex.