Residence Hall Association President Heather McCallister and the rest of the RHA executive board brought the wonderment and whimsy of Hogwarts Quidditch, the fictional sport created by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, to campus Saturday afternoon at the Betty and Bobby Allison Intramural Fields (formerly known as the Taco Bell Fields).
However, it wasn’t the first time the magical sport of Quidditch has stormed the MSU campus.
“Last year, Scholars House did our own little Quidditch tournament, and it was a lot of fun,” McCallister said. “We had a lot of interest from people who wanted to do a Quidditch tournament campuswide. We thought about doing it for RHA Olympics but we figured it might be a better event on its own.”
A hard-fought battle ensued between Scholars House and Sunvilla Tower. But eventually, Sunvilla’s broomsticks ran out of gas as Scholars House swept the three-game series, 2-0 by scores of 70-10 and 50-20, respectively.
The tournament also offered caldron cakes and pumpkin pasties for spectators and players, as well as a raffle featuring various Harry Potter memorabilia.
Saturday’s event originally called for a bracket style tournament consisting of five seven-player teams from residence halls across the MSU campus. But when three teams didn’t show up, McCallister was forced to improvise and used a little magic to make sure the event was still a blast for all who came.
“Obviously, with two teams we had to do a head-to-head matchup,” McCallister said. “There were a lot of last-minute cancellations. I’m always disappointed when people don’t give you fair warning when you’ve been planning really hard for a program. RHA has been working on this the entire semester.”
Even though the turnout may not have been what RHA had hoped for, McCallister said he hopes to parlay the weekend’s Quidditch affair into a budding MSU wizard and witchcraft tradition.
“We’ve already got a few people that said no matter what happens today, they’re wanting to see it in the future,” McCallister said. “Sometimes the first year just doesn’t always end up as big as you plan it to be, but then it grows every year as more people hear about it.
“We’re hoping it can become a traditional program and one day we can join the Midwest League for the International Quidditch Association,” he said.
Of course, the MSU version of Quidditch is more grounded than the high-flying spectacle depicted in Rowling’s seven fantasy novels.
Teams consist of two Beaters, three Chasers, a Keeper and a Seeker who run around the field in an effort to score points by throwing a Quaffle through their opponent’s hoop for 10 points. But teams who want to bring in the big points must capture the elusive Snitch to earn 30 points.
Seekers, or snitch snatchers, must find and capture the Golden Snitch, portrayed by a member of RHA wandering around campus on a bike carrying a tennis ball in a tube sock. Once the Snitch is snatched, it’s game over.
Sophomore marketing major Kathleen Lavallee served as the Snitch for the second game. She took her role seriously and was captured by the Scholars House Seeker behind Hammons House.
“Both Seekers spotted me and came sprinting at me,” Lavallee said. “The Scholar House Seeker leaped and dove at me, fell and got scraped up. Once we found out he was OK we continued, but he caught me before I could get back to my bike. Props to him.”
Sophomore dietetics major Courtney Schneider signed up to participate to even the playing field for the coed event. The Scholars House Beater pelted and pulverized the Sunvilla team with Bludgers in both games.
“The team was all boys so there needed to be some women in there so it gets done right,” Schneider said with a smile. “It’s really fun. I like throwing the Bludgers because it’s funny to hit people.”