Quidditch season takes off

The Syracuse quidditch season kicked off this past weekend with a loss against RIT. But their spirits remain sky high, even though they can't fly on those broomsticks.

Senior Drew Shields was one of the founding members of the Syracuse quidditch team in the spring of 2009. But it wasn’t Shields’s idea. His friend started playing to impress his girlfriend.

"His girlfriend was obsessed with Harry Potter and so he wanted to make it happen,” said Shields. “He grabbed a bunch of us, threw us in a public park, told us how to play and we made her dreams come true and we ended up having fun in the process.”

Photo: Alyssa Greenberg
Freshman Nelson Abrams from New Jersey blocks a shot at quidditch practice on Sunday Sept. 25.

In the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, Quidditch is the sport of choice at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It’s played by witches and wizards flying on broomsticks. 

"We just thought it would be a fun thing to bring to campus here because a lot of other colleges were playing it,” Shields said.

For the first game of the quidditch season, Syracuse surrendered to the Rochester Institute of Technology Dark Marks on Oct. 9 with a final score of 110 to 80 in overtime.

The RIT quidditch team has only been going for a few years as well. Dark Marks President John Goinn founded the club back in 2008. 

“It’s their first game and they did really well,” Goinn said. “We got destroyed our first game and they definitely did not.”

Broadcast and digital journalism freshman Momin Sherazi is familiar with protecting a net from his days as a basketball player and soccer goalkeeper, so he chose to play the keeper in quidditch, which guards the three hoops at either end of the field. 

"I love Harry Potter and I love sports in general so it was the perfect match," he said.

Sherizi knows he would be a Ravenclaw if he went to Hogwarts. Shields doesn’t know what house he would be in. He never read the Harry Potter books.

“When we play, it's not solely based on Harry Potter,” Shields said. “It’s very inviting. What we say is you have to come with an open mind and be able to laugh at yourself.”

Nonmagical quidditch is played with variations on the original game:

  • The Quaffle: A deflated volleyball
  • The Bludgers: Two dodgeballs
  • The Broomsticks: Each player must run around the field with one between their legs 
  • The Hoops: Six hula hoops taped to poles 
  • The Golden Snitch: A ball in a sock hangs from a runner’s shorts and looks as much like male genitalia as it sounds


Donate to Syracuse Quidditch!

You have until Nov. 1 to help get Syracuse Quidditch to the World Cup!

Donate here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rebekahjones/syracuse-quidditch

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