New Muggle Quidditch club flies to new heights

Brooms, flying balls, capes and robes are all one needs to have the magical fantasy world of Harry Potter turn into reality at UC Davis with the newly formed Muggle Quidditch Club.

Adapted from the popular Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Quidditch, the popular sport played by witches and wizards, has taken on a new life on college campuses. A “Muggle” is someone not part of the wizarding world.

Tracey Myint, a first-year biological science major and captain of the UCD Muggle Quidditch Club, assembled the team after reading a discussion topic on a Facebook page discussing a possible Quidditch team.

“I commented on and watched that topic. When I did not see anyone taking up brooms to start it, I made our Facebook group page,” said Myint, who came dressed as Sirius Black to the club’s pumpkin carving themed meeting.

Established in 2007, the Intercollegiate Quidditch Association (IQA) has become an official sports league with over 200 institutions from around the world that have already joined, said the IQA website.

UC Davis is officially listed as one of the teams on the IQA roster.

Melody Zhang, first-year East Asian studies major and Guo Zeng, first-year undeclared, both agreed that Quidditch could get very competitive and said that some teams hold tryouts for potential members.

Tryouts for the UCD Muggle Quidditch team however are not necessary at this point, they said.

“So far practices have been mostly for fun,” Myint said. “I am sure the level of competition will increase as we practice more, although we have a lot of spirit already as we play the game.”

Quidditch is usually played with seven players on each side. There are three players called “chasers” who collect points by scoring goals with a ball called the “quaffle.” Another player called the “keeper” is the goalie, while two more players called “beaters” throw “bludgers” at the opponents.

The last player, called the “seeker,” holds the largest responsibility of locating and catching the “snitch,” a fast-flying ball that once captured, wins the game.

And of course, in Harry Potter’s world, this is all played out while flying on broomsticks.

But as several members of the UCD Muggle Quidditch Club pointed out, “damn gravity” gets in the way and there must be accommodations for playing Quidditch in the non-magical world.

The “snitch,” a ball that alludes being captured by flying around with a pair of magical wings, is a person in Muggle Quidditch.

Nicole Tyson, a senior English major who designed several of the robes and a “sorting hat,” contends that being the snitch gives you a lot of freedom to run anywhere to avoid capture and can be quite a tiring job.

A practice will not only consist of the main players on the team but two players whose job it is to hold up a hoop to act as the goal posts.

Team members must be mounted on a broomstick while playing the game, but are not expected to fly.

“We got ours from Safeway,” said Zhang whose brightly colored broomsticks worked perfectly in a game of Muggle Quidditch on land.

Currently the UCD team is just in its infancy and welcomes everyone to “come and play.”

“Our first practice was a defining moment for us because some passerby just seeing us running around on the field with brooms was enough to get them to join, or at least ask questions,” Myint said. She encourages people to come watch even if they are not playing.

As of right now, the team is working on expanding membership and working on their Quidditch skills.

The team not only meets for practices Quidditch, but also sets aside their broomsticks for other events such as this past Halloween for a pumpkin-carving gathering.

Practices are held every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on the grassy field between the Segundo Dining Commons and the Activities and Recreation Center.

For more information go their Facebook page titled “Muggle Quidditch at UC Davis.”

JESSY WEI can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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