In passing, you may have noticed a group of students running about on the UREC turf, shouting at one another, while holding brooms between their legs. It’s JMU’s very own Quidditch team practicing their sport. An international phenomenon amongst college campuses and communities, the game is a sight to behold; Dodgeballs are flying, broomsticks are colliding and a real, human snitch runs around while each teams’ seekers are not far behind them. Unfortunately, when Quidditch players say “leviosa” to their brooms, it does not make them rise off the ground. However, the JMU Marauders prove that any sport, whether created amongst wizards or muggles, can be played exceptionally when one puts their mind to it.
Quidditch came to JMU in 2010 and thrives as a year-round club. With 30 students on the roster, the team competes against fellow Virginian schools as well as schools from neighboring states (although, sadly, they do not travel by portkey.) To prepare for the tournaments, JMU Marauders have grueling practices that demand much of their team members, both mentally and physically. “Its much more intense and physically demanding than many other sports out there,” JMU Marauders Captain Bennett Morrow informed me.
At this point you may be wondering, how do you play Quidditch if you can’t fly? How could it possibly be physically demanding? If you’re a little hazy on your Quidditch knowledge, feel free to watch this clip of the one and only Oliver Wood explaining the rules. The game is similar to the books, but with necessary muggle replacements. For example, dodgeballs for bludgers, a slightly deflated volleyball is the quaffle, and an agile, zippy human is the snitch, who carries a ball in a sock on his/her person for the seekers to attempt to grab as s/he runs about. The hoops are to be 3’, 4.5’ and 6’ respectively and can be made out of any material. While playing the game, players are to keep their broom between their legs at all times and wear different colored headbands that reveal their position.
Bennett reports that as a team, the Marauders finish mid-table in games and tournaments. “…Because our club is only a couple of years old, we have yet to hit our stride in winning a lot of games,” he explained. If you think you could be the Marauder’s secret weapon, please note that this game is not for the faint of heart. “Just ask anyone on my team, if I don’t think they’re trying hard enough in practice, they better be prepared to run multiple sprints on top of the workout I have planned for each practice. That being said, we allow anyone who wants to be on the team to come and play with us, regardless of how athletic they are or if they’ve played a sport before.” Bennett revealed.
As they are a club, the Marauders do a whole lot more than suicides. “I’ve been a part of many teams in the past, but this one is one of the closest-knit teams I’ve ever seen,” Bennett said. This past December, they held a Yule Ball to raise funds for the team. They also share meals often and have movie nights – similar to any JMU organization.
Seem like the sport for you? Participate in one of their practice sessions. The Marauders do not have tryouts and no one is cut from the team, so come on down to the Hillside Field and show them what you are worth. For specific practice times, contact any of the exec members by email. You can also like their Facebook page to stay up to date on the team.
Contacts for More Information:
President: Brian Donovan, email@example.com
Vice President: Bennett Morrow, firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary: Jessica Torres, email@example.com
Treasurer: Sarah Erlemeier, firstname.lastname@example.org