By: Sacha Sulaiman

Photos by: Kay Kelly

 

You’re on a wooden broomstick, a hundred feet in the air. As you lunge forward, the wind flutters through your hair and gently brushes against your face. The audience bellows and cheers you and your teammates on, but you are not focused on their roars. Your eyes are settled straight ahead on a small, shiny, spherical object with wings flapping at great speed – the golden snitch. One hand tightly grasps your broomstick, while the other hand extends outwards with pronounced anticipation – your fingers only inches away. You grab the snitch with all the strength in your body, but not before you lose balance on your broomstick and fall onto the fresh, crisp, green grass below you. The audience is silent as you get up and open your fist – revealing the golden snitch in the palm of your hands. You did it! You and your team have won the Quidditch match!

One can only imagine that true, die-hard Harry Potter fans have dreamed of playing in a Quidditch match like this one. And while reading about Potter’s Quidditch matches are quite entertaining, actually participating in one is beyond imagination – but in fact, quite real. Although not completely identical to J.K. Rowling’s account of Quidditch, Muggle Quidditch is as close as mortals can get – assuming that flying broomsticks are not deemed a practical invention in the near future. A typical Quidditch team is comprised of three chasers who score points with the quaffle, two beaters who knock players out of the game with the bludgers, one keeper who serves as a goalie, and a seeker who attempts to catch the snitch – an unbiased individual on neither of the teams – all the while running with a mimicked broom balanced between their legs!

Founded in 2005, Muggle Quidditch has become immensely popular, allotting to “nearly 4,000 athletes on over 150 teams nationwide,” as recorded by US Quidditch (USQ), a nonprofit national organization that governs the sport of Quidditch. Among these teams, is CUNY’s very own Macaulay Marauders.

Kay Kelly, a sophomore here at CCNY and an active member of the Macaulay Marauders team, describes her experiences with this unique sport and the new-found family that she has gained in the process of being on this team. “Sometimes I wonder, ‘What am I doing here? I am walking around on a fake broom playing an imaginary sport that looks ridiculous. And yet, I take it so seriously.’” Kelly continues, “Playing as a beater is quite an aggressive position. It involves one-armed tackling and throwing bludgers at people to eliminate them. I think that it’s the most strategic position on the team – where your initiating plays to get chasers to score, while also watching opposing beaters trying to knock you out. So, we manage plays that are both defense and offense. I love it.”

Just last year, the Macaulay Marauders flew out to Texas to compete in the national competition. “I did not roster for regionals in the fall because I was not experienced enough as a player” says Kelly, “but because I was actively involved, showed interest in wanting to learn more, and put in the extra effort – I made the roster for nationals and was able to watch and play on a national scale. That was a great feeling. When our first game started in Texas, and someone handed me a broom and I stepped on pitch, I was like ‘I’m playing against a team from Ohio. On a national level. In Texas. I never thought I’d be here.’”

When asked about how the Macaulay Marauders will do this coming year, Kelly showed no hesitation in her answer, “Between our executive board, which manages a lot of the club and club events, and our captains, who operate the team and our game strategy, we have a really strong leadership this year. Not only do I feel prepared to be led by them, but we’ve also had a ton of new freshman players this year with lots of athletic ability and willingness to learn which allows us to develop our team at a faster rate than ever before.”

The Macaulay Marauders Quidditch team encourages individuals – Harry Potter fans or not – to try out for their team. To find more information, check out their Macaulay Marauders Quidditch Team Facebook page or email them at macaulayquidditch@gmail.com. With recruitment lasting all year long, it may be your turn to hop on a broomstick and catch your very own snitch, throw your very first bludger, or score with a quaffle for the very first time.

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