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Quidditch team hits the field

By Hensley Carrasco
On September 30, 2011


A seeker, three chasers, a goalie, two beaters and a human snitch dressed in gold make up the players on a team during Quidditch matches at universities worldwide, including the University of Rhode Island's Rhody Ridgebacks.

Quidditch has begun to make its way around the country, and not in the form of Harry Potter books. Muggles, a word used in the series for people lacking magical abilities, from all over campus have grabbed their brooms in anticipation of playing their favorite fictional wizarding school's prime sport.

Running around one corner of the Quadrangle, players with brooms tucked between their legs tossed dodgeballs back and forth, eventually breaking out into an in-team game amongst themselves.

The rules of Quidditch are rather complex to those who are not familiar with the Harry Potter series, but are well known among those who have read the books.

Goalkeepers are in charge of protecting two sides of three hula-hoops, propped up on a variation of PVC pipe, adjusted to various heights, on each side of the field. Chasers are able to score when in control of a ball. The beaters on the field are the defense, throwing dodgeballs at the opposing team which leaves players immobile for a set period of time. The seekers in the game try to catch the snitch—a person dressed in gold with a tennis ball hanging off their waist. The snitch is required to avoid the seeker at all costs.

President of the Ridgebacks Zara Collier and her friends thought of starting the team during an astronomy class last year. From there they began to start the process of creating the club, which eventually became recognized by the university's Student Senate. Harry Potter is the main reason she and her friends were able to come together to create the club.

"I really love it," Collier said. "It's definitely giving me something to do that's a lot of fun for me."

Collier does not get to play, so instead does most of the managerial, behind-the-scenes work.

"I like my role, running around and doing the paperwork," Collier said. "I know it sounds crazy. Keeping organized is what I do."

Funding for the Ridgebacks come from what the Student Senate has appropriated for them for the year. To get more money , Collier said the team is having a fundraiser on the quad on Nov. 4, the first day of the university's family weekend.

The team, which Collier said is "hovering around 20 to 25 [members] between people who go to practices and meetings," has not played a game to date, but has been training in anticipation for a game. The Ridgebacks haven't played an official game because the numbers of members in the club increased after the cut-off date for registration had passed.

That is not to be overshadowed by the fact that there are other Quidditch teams in Rhode Island, which are among the more than 300 official and unofficial teams around the world, according to the International Quidditch Association's (IQA) website. Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island are both recognized as unofficial members.

Johnson and Wales University's team, which is not yet recognized by the IQA, has contacted Collier in hopes of scheduling a potential scrimmage between the schools. Collier said it is currently in the works.

Ridgebacks player Colin Sheehan said he thinks joining the team has been "cool" especially because he is a physical education major. He said it's an activity that "is out of left field" and most people won't expect someone to say they are a part of it.

"It's really hard to tell [why I joined]," Sheehan said. "I just like the whole concept behind it. How it's all of these sports together. You don't have to be really athletic to be a part of it."

Sheehan said he has not been assigned a position but said that he wouldn't want to be a seeker.

"I'm not up for running around," he said.

Contrary to Sheehan, senior environmental science major Nicholas Kozlowski, who helped Collier form the group, said he would like to be the seeker.

"It's a lot more running," Kozlowski said. "Seekers are the only ones that can shove players. It's like playing rugby, I guess. I would probably suck at being a beater because I suck at throwing dodgeballs."

Collier said she and the Ridgebacks are looking forward to playing official matches by the beginning of next year.

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