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Quidditch club competes in NY

Photo courtesy of mctcampus.com

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The Ohio State Quidditch League, among other teams around the country, has made the mythical sport a real pastime for students — and for OSU President E. Gordon Gee.

The OSU league, along with 45 teams from across the United States and Canada, participated this month in the fourth annual Quidditch World Cup in DeWitt Clinton Park in Manhattan.

On Nov. 13, the competition began with a round-robin tournament.

After that round, the top 16 teams, based on record and point differentials, moved on to play the next day, said Dan Miller, OSU Quidditch League president and a second-year in math and geography.

The OSU team finished the round-robin portion with a 1-2 record. OSU beat Purdue University but lost to Boston University and Carleton University from Ontario, said Luke Changet, team captain and a second-year in English.

“The quidditch we play is pretty much exactly like the book, only you’re running on the ground with a broomstick between your legs,” Miller said.

During games, there are seven players on the field for each team, and one person dressed in gold, usually a cross-country runner, acts as the golden snitch.

Three players are the chasers. They have the quaffle, the ball used to score, and run it up and down the field trying to throw it in one of the three hoops, Miller said. Each hoop is worth 10 points.

There are two beaters per team and they take the bludger, or dodgeball, and throw it at the other team, he said. Getting hit by the bludger symbolizes falling off the broom. To resume play, players hit by a bludger must run back behind their own goal post.

The keeper is considered the goalie and tries to keep the other team from scoring by protecting the three hoops, Changet said.

The last position is the seeker, who is in charge of catching the snitch, Miller said. When that person catches the snitch, the game ends, and the seeker’s team is awarded 30 points.

The snitch has a sock with a tennis ball in it that hangs from his back like a tail, Changet said.

“The snitch can do anything to avoid capture,” he said, “as long as he’s not breaking the law.”

Miller said the games generally last 20 minutes.

Quidditch is a full-contact sport, so tackling is allowed and happens often, Miller said.

Alexis Nelson, chaser for the OSU team and a first-year in environmental engineering, said she was skeptical when she heard of the sport.

“In your mind you’re just like, ‘Quidditch, flying around on broomsticks, it can’t happen in real life,'” Nelson said. “I feel like everyone is kind of skeptical when they hear about it the first time, but it’s such a fantastic sport, and I’m so glad I started playing.”

The OSU team has participated in and won all five matches this year outside of the World Cup, against Ohio teams such as Denison University, Changet said.

Although no more matches are scheduled for Autumn Quarter, the team is setting up games for winter, including matches against the University of Cincinnati and Miami University, Miller said.

Playing quidditch is not the only thing the league does.  

Members of the club went to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One” on the night of the premiere and again on Saturday with OSU President Gee. Miller not only saw the movie with the university’s president, but also was his escort for the night. While talking about the Quidditch League, they also stopped at a few campus bars and parties.

“It’s really cool because (Gee) says that he loves the Quidditch club,” Miller said. “He’s a huge Harry Potter fan. It’s really cool to see how interested he is.”

The annual Yule Ball, named after the Hogwart’s dance of the same name, will be Jan. 21 in Pomerene Hall and is open to anyone who wants to attend. The cost is $3 per person and $5 per couple.

Pabillano, who is also a transfer student, said the group not only gave him a way to get involved at OSU, but also introduced him to people who share his interest in the magical world.

“It’s been a really good opportunity to express myself,” he said. “Harry Potter nerds are kind of shunned from the rest of the people. I feel really comfortable being immersed in an environment where people appreciate and love Harry Potter as much as I do.”

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