Quidditch Flies Into SUNY New Paltz

Muggles can prepare to  man their brooms now that Quidditch is coming back to New Paltz.

Dumbledore’s Army, the official Harry Potter Fan Club at SUNY New Paltz, is planning on re-introducing a competitive Muggle Quidditch team next semester.

“We wanted to bring it back, especially since College Quidditch is becoming more recognized,” said founder and president of the New Paltz chapter of Dumbledore’s Army Beverly Schreiber. “We’re really excited about it.”

In the wake of the “Potter mania” that has swept the world in the past few months with the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” and the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, SUNY New Paltz fans will soon have a chance to show their skills.

Schreiber said that the school had a Quidditch team a couple of years ago, but the team has since disbanded.

Muggle Quidditch (also known as “Ground Quidditch”) has picked up plenty of momentum since its creation at Middlebury College in 2006. The game has since been featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal, ESPN Magazine and CBS.  In 2010, the fourth Quidditch World Cup was hosted by the International Quidditch Association in New York City with 46 schools in attendance, 20,000 spectators and 757 athletes represented in total.

The World Cup was taken by Middlebury College for the fourth year in a row, but neighbor Vassar College was able to obtain fourth place out of the 46 schools.

Of course since all of the players at New Paltz are muggles, Quidditch cannot be played the same way it is in the Harry Potter universe author J.K. Rowling first imagined more than a decade ago.  As in the Harry Potter books, teams consist of seven players: a keeper, three chasers, two beaters and a seeker. The only differences are that players, while they do have broomsticks, run on the ground with the broomstick in between their legs and the snitch is not a golden ball that flies- it is a person. The snitch in Muggle Quidditch is a student, usually a cross-country runner who is allowed to run anywhere he or she wants and is the only person in the game allowed to do so.  The snitch dresses entirely in yellow and the game is over once the seeker from either team playing catches up to them and tags them. Once the snitch is tagged, the game is over.
While New Paltz’s soon-to-be team will probably not be seeing the New York City tournament anytime soon, it is certainly the goal for the future.

“We want to start by having all-campus tryouts next semester,” said Schreiber.  “We’ll play within the campus to start, but we would like to play Vassar soon and ultimately get to the World Cup in New York City.”

Dumbledore’s Army is hoping that students join the team, and are already thinking of ways to get people involved.
“We’re going to try as best we can to get lots of people involved,” said first-year Public Relations Officer Nicole Brinkley. “I would really like to have members of the club walk around with broomsticks for the day so that people will take notice.”

Despite this, the club may not need to do much to get people involved, let alone interested. Harry Potter fans on campus are already brimming with excitement over the possibility of a Quidditch team.

“I know the school had one a couple years ago, and I always thought it was cool watching people running around on the Quad with broomsticks,” said fourth-year art education major Mimi Grossman. “It would be really fun to see it come back.”

First-year undeclared student Lauren Levin already has plans to try out

“I’m looking forward to it,” Levin said. “Count me in!”