Support us with Kachingle!
October 7, 2011 | 6:53 p.m. CST
What sport involves volleyballs, dodge balls, PVC pipes and brooms? If you walk through Francis Quadrangle on a Wednesday afternoon near sundown, you’ll know the answer is Muggle Quidditch, the real-world version of the beloved, magical Harry Potter sport.Related Articles
Twelve MU students are going to represent Missouri for the first time at the Midwest Cup against 14 Muggle Quidditch teams in Connor Prairie, Ind., this weekend. The tournament is hosted by the International Quidditch Association, which includes 319 teams in the United States.
But this ragtag group is not an official member of the IQA, which only accepts university, college and high school teams. Last fall, MU Student Organizations would not recognize the team as an official organization because they failed the risk management requirements. Without membership in the IQA, the normal $5 fee to enter the tournament goes to $100, and this hefty toll comes out of the students’ pockets. So does the gas money for the six-and-a-half hour drive to Connor Prairie, hotel rooms for the weekend and the cost to replace the Bludger (dodge ball) that broke during team scrimmage last Wednesday.
“We paid over $300 for our jerseys, and after this weekend, we’ll have to buy new brooms because they break a lot,” said sophomore Erin Weinrick, team coach. “If we got org status, we could at least fundraise.”
Weinrick has been with the team since they started requesting to become an organization last August. They are currently meeting with the Organization Resource Group to try and get org status by next semester.
Becoming a student organization would also give the team access to art studios for making their own uniforms and fliers, as well as the ability to recruit and officially ask for club dues. These perks come after a lengthy application process that ends with a review by the Committee on Student Organizations, Governments and Activities.
“Already this semester, SOGA has reviewed 27 potential student organizations,” Stefanie Zimmerman, Graduate Assistant for ORG, said. “For the 2010-2011 academic year, the ORG received approximately 150 organization requests.”
Since ORG does not provide funding, the team is also applying to become an official MU RecSport. If they are successful, the Department of Recreation Services and Facilities would match every dollar the team raises, Weinrick said.
“I know from guys on the team that RecSports does that for the Ultimate Frisbee Team,” Weinrick said. “The Ultimate team is a Tier 1 RecSport, so they get matched up to $7000. That’d be awesome for us because the hoops we have now cost $150, and they’re not even regulation size. Those will cost more.”
And the team isn’t just feeling the financial pressure — they’ve also had a rough time on the playing field. On Sept. 18, the team returned to Columbia battered and bruised from their first match ever in Lawrence, Ks. Even though they didn’t officially represent MU, freshman Daniel Shapiro said the school rivalry against KU still exists out on the playing field.
“I found out later from the guy we supplied as the Snitch that the KU seeker ignored some of the official IQA rules,” Shapiro said. “We protested it, so the game started over.”
Shapiro said the second game was restarted twice because the KU team had different rules on how to appropriately catch the human snitch [see interactive graphic for more information on how to play the game].
“The Snitch KU supplied for the third game was a wrestler in high school,” Shapiro said. “He would just grab the girl who was our seeker by the head and shove her to the ground.”
This show of force is completely legal. Quidditch is a full-contact sport and is called “rugby on brooms” by some players. Though they lost the tournament 2 to 1, the Columbia team ended up winning the last game when their seeker captured the Snitch while he was in a wrestling match with another player.
“We’ve been really lucky this year,” Weinrick said. “We have so many naturally-athletic people on our team who can run and are flexible and can take a hit as well as they can dish out one.”
Weinrick is currently trying to set up a rematch against KU in Columbia next semester. The team’s future goals also include playing as many of the seven other schools in Missouri with Quidditch teams.
Since most tournaments are in the north-eastern U.S., the next competition will most likely be the Hogs Head Invitational in Arkansas next April.
In 2012, the team hopes to make it to the World Cup in New York, which includes teams from Europe.