Meet the Spitfires.
Founded in 2009, the MSU Quidditch Club has grown and become not only a popular sport, but a way of life for Michigan State students.
“It’s a community, not just a sports team.”, said PR Coordinator Maggie Hermanson.
If you have seen, read, or even heard of Harry Potter, you probably know what quidditch is. Players fly around on broomsticks, hit each other with bats and throw balls into hoops. That all takes place in a fictional world of wizards and magic. In real life, however, quidditch is an up and coming sport played on college campuses across the nation. The players still have broomsticks between their legs, but their feet remain on the ground and the bats are substituted with dodgeballs.
The Spartan Spitfires, are a group of roughly 60 MSU students. A roster of 21 men and women are chosen for each official IQA tournament. Ian Hoopingarner is the head coach, who also plays. Several other players are also members of the coaching staff, including President Mel Walker. Within the Quidditch Club are 5 intramural teams who practice and play regularly, so even if a player is not selected to be on the roster for a particular tournament, everyone gets to play.
After seeing some footage and watching them practice, it is clear that this game is no joke. The game is similar to hockey and lacrosse, as it is full contact, with the same amount of running as a soccer game. Playing quidditch clearly puts some physical strain on athletes. Although there is a charming sense of camaraderie amongst the MSU Quidditch Club, the sport is surely competitive. The Spitfires are affiliated with the International Quidditch Association (IQA) and play in tournaments against other colleges and community teams across the country. Last year they were even invited to play in the Quidditch World Cup in Florida.
Maggie Hermanson, a sophomore double majoring in Professional Writing and Arts & Humanities, is in her second year of Quidditch. At Sparticipation her freshman year, she learned met some quidditch players for the first time. Maggie was a fan of Harry Potter growing up, so she left her email at the quidditch table on a whim, and once she showed up to practice she felt right at home.
“We are definitely not a Harry Potter fan club, but we can’t deny the fact that [quidditch] was spawned from Harry Potter,” said Hermanson.
She added that the unique origin of the togetherness and competition of quidditch is something that cannot be replicated.
“It was such a powerful book for us growing up, and the way that the sport came to be was awesome, something that has never happened and will probably never happen again. And we all realize how special that is.”
In her first year playing, Hermanson traveled with the team to Ohio for an official IQA tournament.
“It was eye opening because it showed me how real this sport is and how people are so dedicated to it.”
An upcoming event for MSU quidditch is a Yule Ball that will be this January. Also in the works is a Relay for Life event hopefully to take place this spring.
If there is anything to say about the Quidditch team it is that they surely know how to have fun. They are also all-inclusive and accepting of everyone. You can learn more about MSU Quidditch at MSUQuidditch.weebly.com, follow them on Twitter @MSU_Quidditch and at facebook.com/michiganstatequidditch.
Bradley Allen is a Multi-Media Journalist for Impact Sports.