Oklahoma State University
Captain: Mark Woolard IV
President: Ashleigh Cloud
Vice President: Mark Woolard IV
Secretary: Emily Burgard
Treasurer: Laura Ortman
Parliamentarian: Amy Kimmel
OSU Quidditch League gains popularity
An OSU club has taken a make-believe sport and magically turned it into a real athletic contest.
The OSU Quidditch League is in its third year of existence on campus and is growing in popularity. Ashleigh Cloud, president of the OSU Quidditch League, said more people are playing throughout the country, and there is competition between schools.
"We have competed against the University of Kansas, who is currently No. 1 in the country," Cloud said. "Arkansas, Texas A&M, Arkansas Tech and Wichita State. There are other teams we will play soon, and there are more than 300 teams in the U.S."
J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, invented Quidditch as a sport played by the fictional wizard at Hogwarts. The game features seven players riding in the air on broomsticks: Three chasers, two beaters, the keeper and the seeker. The chasers carry a ball, the Quaffle, through the air and attempt to throw it through one of the other team's three hoops, which are defended by the keeper, for 10 points. The beaters knock the Bludgers, which are solid fast-moving balls, away from the chasers, which would otherwise knock the chasers off their brooms. The seeker's task is to catch a little ball called the Golden Snitch. If caught, the game ends and the team who caught the snitch wins.
Because they can't fly, human Quidditch players must modify the rules. Emily Bertels, a business and Spanish sophomore, explained the changes.
"Well, since we can't actually fly...whenever we get hit by the Bludgers, we have to dismount our brooms and go run around our goal post once before we can get back in the game," Bertels said.
Other modifications to the human game involve using a volleyball as the Quaffle and using kickballs for the Bludgers. The snitch is a person who runs with a tennis ball in a sock attached to his or her shorts. The seekers have to get that ball.
Because the Quidditch team plays a sport from a fictional series of books, Cloud said they're subject to stereotype and criticism.
"We don't just get together and pretend to play Quidditch or be at Hogwarts," Cloud said. "We are not playing for pretend. We go to tournaments and compete for cups and titles just like any other team. We play for the sport and for our university."
The stereotype that offends Cloud most is Quidditch players lack athletic ability and are "nerds."
"When you get to tournaments, you quickly realize that is not true," Cloud said. "There are a lot of really athletic people who play."
Most Quidditch players love the physical and athletic facets of the game. Ebony Houston, a hotel and restaurant administration sophomore, said she loves how the game is played.
"I am going to have to say the tackling and blocking are the best part," Houston said. "I mean, it can be dangerous, but it is my favorite."
Austin Ratcliff, a chaser on the team, loves the action that takes place throughout the game.
"It's really action-packed," Ratcliff said. "It involves tackling, and it's your responsibility to make points for your team. Fighting for the Quaffle is fun. I love making goals."
Many aspects of Quidditch are comparable to more popular sports. Running with the Quaffle and avoiding opponents attempting to tackle you is similar to rugby or football. A keeper, who defends the ball from being thrown into his or her team's hoops, is similar to a goalie in soccer or handball. Some of the Quidditch players use experience from other sports to help them play.
"I used to play soccer when I was younger, and I was the goalie," Houston said. "Playing keeper in Quidditch feels a lot like being the goalie in soccer."
Quidditch is one of the nation's fastest growing sports and is played at more than 300 universities and high schools in 43 states, according to the International Quidditch Association. Anyone who wants to start a Quidditch League can register it on the International Quidditch Association's website. The 2011 Quidditch World Cup will feature 100 teams from five different countries. Canada, Finland, New Zealand and Argentina will be represented at the competition, along with the United States. It will be played Nov. 12 and 13, in Randall's Island, New York City.
The OSU Quidditch League practices every Wednesday and Thursday night, and is open to all who want to play. Anyone who is interested in joining can visit the group's Facebook page.
By Blake Zimmerman
By Blake Zimmerman
The Daily O'Collegian