Quidditch team makes magic on the field

The University of Miami Quidditch team meets on the Intramural fields next to the Stanford dorms, and practices for two hours. They shout and run, sweating in the hot sun with a stick between their legs, as they prepare for their next tournament.

The team has about 30 people, according to team captain German Barrios, an electrical engineering major. Though the team has more than the required 21 members, Barrios says that they are always open to new people.

Their next tournament will take place at 9 a.m. Oct. 4 on the IM fields.

Inspired by the fictional sport from the hit Harry Potter book and movie series, Muggle Quidditch is a full-contact sport, and has resulted in some “collar bone injures and a few concussions,” Barrios said.

Despite the absence of magical elements of the sport found in the books and films, real-life players of Quidditch have still been able to improvise to make it a functional sport.

“We take everything that’s based on the book and then [use] our knowledge of other sports, and try to combine them,” said Bridgette Foster, a psychology major.

An example of this improvisation can be seen in the handling of the snitch. In the Harry Potter books, the snitch is a magical, sentient ball that flies around the Quidditch pitch during games. Catching the snitch is an essential part of Quidditich because a game cannot end until the snitch has been caught. So the question is, how do you have a snitch without magic?

The Quidditch players have found a solution: Have a person play the snitch.

“The snitch is a third-party,” Foster said. “There’s like a snitches union … and there all like trained. Usually it’s a big guy or a really fast guy.”

Just as in the films and books, the length of the match is determined by how long it takes for the seeker to catch the snitch.

“The snitch comes back after eighteen minutes,” Barrios said. “Depending on how good the snitch is [the game] could last anywhere from 25 to thirty minutes.”

The UM Quidditch team has previously won the Swamp Cup Champion by the International Quidditch Assocation and the Athletic Achievement Award by the University of Miami.

To play along with the team, dues are $20 a year. Practices are from 8 to 10 p.m., Mondays and Thursdays, and from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sundays on the Intramural fields.