By Miharu Sugie, News Correspondent
For the Greater Good, also known as the Hungry Hungry Hippogriffs, defeated Granger Danger in a display of what could be described as expert wizardry last Saturday during a Northeastern intramural quidditch match.
The two teams played in the Cabot Center, and For the Greater Good won in a rout, with scores of 30-0, 90-10 and 50-0.
“The match was great because we all had a lot of fun, got to become accustomed to how quidditch is played at Northeastern and we learned all of the rules and regulations,” Daniel Flannery, a sophomore behavioral neuroscience major, said. He is a chaser of For the Greater Good.
Quidditch is the sport made famous by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Flannery, an avid Potter fan who played quidditch in high school, scored six goals in total, earning 60 points for his team.
The human, or muggle, version of the game involves brooms, but no flight.
The field is relatively small, with volleyballs and dodgeballs lying in a line in the center and three hula hoops dangling on a rope attached to the soccer goal posts on each end. Just like in the Harry Potter books and films, quidditch players have brooms between their legs. Two players are clad in gold uniforms: they are the snitches.
The actual game is a hybrid, looking like a mix of lacrosse, football, dodgeball and cross-country. During the 15-minute frame, chasers, keepers and beaters fight for the balls while seekers chase the snitches.
Northeastern Campus Recreation director Jack Butler said there was “a lot of student interest” in quidditch, so officials in the Campus Recreation Program decided to create a league this fall.
Many students, like sophomore behavioral neuroscience major Meghan Davis, stepped forward to compete. Davis is a manager of one of the 12 teams, Son of a Snitch.
“My friends and I were joking about how funny it would be to be on a quidditch team,” she said. “It turned out to be a lot easier to recruit people than we expected, and within a week we had 10 members on our team.”
Like other squads, Davis’ team chose a name alluding to Potter.
“I think that Quidditch is such a fun game that it’s only fitting to have a clever team name,” Davis said. “We just threw names around one night and looked at some of the teams in the International Quidditch Association [IQA] for inspiration.”
Sophomore chemistry major Samantha Morrill, who plays for Son of a Snitch, said playing quidditch is a rare opportunity.
“For all of the kids who grew up loving Harry Potter, this is a chance for us to actually have an experience straight out of the novels,” she said. “It may be adapted, but it kind of gives us all a chance to pretend that we also got Hogwarts letters at age 11.”
Although this is Morrill’s first experience with quidditch, and she said she is “a little afraid to make a fool of [herself],” she is looking forward to meeting new people with whom she can share a new experience.
Though it originates from a fictional book, quidditch has proven to be a legitimate sport among students.
“Intramural quidditch is different from Harry Potter quidditch in many ways; the most significant being the lack of people flying around on brooms,” Flannery said. “There are also only two chasers instead of three, three bludgers instead of two and the snitch is only worth 30 points instead of 150.”
College quidditch contests, even without airborne acrobatics, pose a formidable athletic challenge.
“Basically, you take all the skills you would need to play football, lacrosse, dodgeball, cross-country and wrestling and just add a broom,” said Bridget Hess Mahan, a junior writing, literature and publishing major at Emerson College, and a chaser for that school’s Jamaica Plain Jaguars.
The broom “takes the game to a new level,” and mastering the sport despite the handicap makes one into an “ultimate athlete,” Mahan said.
Some colleges in Canada, Europe and the Boston area, like Emerson, have already advanced to the IQA’s yearly World Cup. In fact, Emerson placed second in 2010 and fifth in 2011. In 2012, Emerson placed first in the Quidditch Champions Series and Massachusetts Quidditch Conference Championship.
At Northeastern, the sport is still in its intramural infancy. To see it, check out Big Broom Full of Bad Snitches against the Baby Basils, and The Wheezing Weasleys against Fortuna Major on Oct. 13.
“When quidditch was created by the students at Middlebury College, it was an act of pure genius, creativity and innovation,” Mahan said. “Quidditch is just one manifestation of the sheer volume of greatness our generation can achieve.”