FGCU Quidditch hosts intercollegiate tournament
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 20:09
Tension mounted as each squad awaited the start whistle. Supporters from Florida Gulf Coast University and the University of Central Florida anxiously sipped their frozen butterbeer (homemade, $3 a glass) on the sideline, wondering which school would capture the Golden Snitch first, and ultimately, victory.
Members from each team, grasping their “Broomsticks” in one hand, were in sprint position near their respective goals. The whistle sounded, the game began and each team bounded toward the…Quaffle?
Yes, the Quidditch match signifying the start of the 1st Annual Eagle Cup had begun.
Founded in spring 2012, the FGCU Quidditch Club has come a long way in a short time. Schools from all over the state, including University of Florida, Florida State University, South Florida, Central Florida, Miami, University of Tampa, Florida Atlantic, and Ringling, traveled to Estero last Saturday for FGCU’s first-ever Quidditch tournament.
“We officially became a sports club at FGCU this semester,” said sophomore marketing and management major Mikail Brito.
Brito, the team president, is extremely proud of the club. “Sports club helped us out a lot. They gave us the field to use, set up some tables for us. We couldn’t have done it without them at all.”
The game itself is a full-contact, modified form of what was famously invented in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
“We’re a unique sport; it takes an open mind to accept our sport,” Brito said. “A lot of the people who come out are genuine, nice people.”
First, and most importantly, the participants cannot fly. They do, however, substitute the broomstick each player uses in Rowling’s Quidditch with a PVC pipe, required by all players to be held in one hand.
The Quaffle, or volleyball, is used by each team’s Chasers to score goals by throwing it through their opponent’s three goals, good for 10 points. The goals are three hula-hoops suspended above the ground by a post.
Each squad’s Beaters carry around a dodge ball, also known as a Bludger, used to hit players and send them out of the match until they touch their team’s goal post, bringing them back into play.
The Golden Snitch, the ball caught to signify the end of play, is a story of its own.
The Snitch is attached via Velcro on a neutral player. The Snitch player runs around, attempting to evade each team’s Seeker.
The Seeker who captures this ball can score 30 points for his or her team and end the game.
Brito, FGCU’s Seeker, caught the Snitch after a heated chase in their only match of the Eagle Cup. FGCU defeated a team consisting of players from UCF and University of Tampa, 90-0.
“We’re as serious as any other sport,” Brito said. “We had everyone cheering for us at the tournament; it was special.”
Only four matches were completed all day; luckily, FGCU got to put on a show for their fans.
“Only four games were played, but fortunately FGCU got to play and win,” Brito said. “It was really nice because we had a great turnout from FGCU supporting us and cheering.”
President Wilson Bradshaw made an appearance.
“Having President Bradshaw come see our event, congratulate us on how organized we were, it was a personal high note for me,” Brito said.
The tournament had to be called early due to lightning.
“It’s sad the tournament got canceled. On the bright side, it got our name out on campus, and we showed we could put on a tournament,” Brito said. “The Florida Quidditch Conference congratulated us on how organized our tournament was.”
Jacob Barrett, Team Captain and Vice President of the club, was proud of his team’s event and believes it has grown in popularity.
“We’ve already had four new players come out,” said Barrett, triple majoring in political science, psychology and legal studies. “We know it’s because of our tournament.”
The most profound theme present at last weekend’s tournament, however, was the sense of family.
“We’re all one big family in Florida,” Barrett said. “It wasn’t random people staying in our apartment. We made dinner, talked about how everyone’s been doing.”
“We housed a lot of the players in our own personal houses,” Brito said. “It was a lot of fun. All the teams in Florida know each other really well. It was almost like a family reunion for us.”
“We don’t have any problem with rivalries. We leave the anger on the pitch. Off the pitch, we’re a family.”