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Quidditch 'takes to the sky' over WSU

Broom sport flies over from Hogwarts to Detroit

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Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 11:27 am, Fri Apr 5, 2013.

Mount your brooms, Wayne State. Quidditch has come to campus.

The Quidditch season took flight Oct. 6, uniting Harry Potter fans and sports enthusiasts to bring the once-fictional sport to life. Organizers were “basically trying to capitalize on the Harry Potter momentum,” said Mort Harris Recreation and Fitness Center Intramural and Club Sport intern Jeff Taylor.

“The last movie came out in July. We’re just trying to make sure we capitalize on that while having people come out and have fun and enjoying the outdoors,” he said.

As participants took the field, they donned black capes and ran while holding brooms between their legs to make the experience more authentic; in the book, the sport is played on flying broomsticks.

“It’s a combination of tag, dodgeball and some soccer,” Taylor said.

In the game of Quidditch, which was first seen in J.K. Rowling’s novel “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” seven-player teams are divided into different positions: Keepers, Chasers, Seekers and Beaters.

Chasers attempt to score by throwing volleyballs through three rings located on each end of the field, which are defended by the Keepers. Beaters play defense for their team by throwing dodge-balls at opponents. If hit, the player must freeze and kneel on the field for a few seconds before continuing play.

The Seekers attempt to tag the Snitch, which must be “caught” in order to end the game, and earn their team 150 points.

Taylor, who also doubles as the game’s Snitch, can run around and outside of the Quidditch pitch where the game is played.

In order to bring Quidditch to WSU, Taylor said he had to read through a standardized packet of rules and regulations on the game. Then, he adjusted them to exclude certain rules acceptable at other schools, such as pushing down the Snitch, to make the game safer.

Some Harry Potter fans have taken their enthusiasm to the next level. Taylor said during the first practice session, somebody offered to buy a broom with Galleons, the fictional currency used in “Harry Potter.”

“A guy last week actually brought a Harry Potter authentic broom and that was hilarious. I had to shake his hand,” Taylor said.

Tyler Keith, a freshman accounting major, said he heard about the Quidditch match via email.

“It sounded pretty fun, and I saw it on “Harry Potter,” and just thought I’d come play,” he said.

He played Chaser at the first practice and is an avid “Harry Potter” fan.

However, the game isn’t only aimed at wizard wannabes. Yash Parekh, a freshman at WSU, was drawn to Quidditch out of curiosity.

“I haven’t read all the books or anything, (but) it seemed like a legit sport,” he said. “The rules, when they explain it, seem complicated but... it’s not that hard once you start playing.”

The magical pastime has grown in popularity in the United States, with more than 300 official teams certified by International Quidditch Association, and 10 teams in Michigan.

Taylor said he hopes the sport will become a league next semester or next year to join the ranks of other Michigan universities.

“We try to branch out and do different sports for different people,” he said. “We usually have basketball, volleyball, soccer, athletic sports for our usual, casual fans. So this is something different and outside the box.”

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