This past weekend, Wizengamot at VCU, the university’s official Quidditch team, mounted their brooms and took to the skies as they participated in the fifth-annual Quidditch World Cup on Randall’s Island, Manhattan, N.Y.
As witnessed by the crowd at the tournament made up of “muggle” Quidditch teams from universities across the U.S., as well as spectators from the New York City – VCU’s World Cup competitors displayed not a shred of restraint on the field in their quest to obtain the World Cup.
“We made one team cry,” said Wizengamot Chasers Nicholas Alexander and Kevin Hill of the teams last match against Texas’s Sam Huston State University. With the score 60 to 30 in favor of VCU’s Wizengamots, SHSU had caught the snitch, signaling the official end of the game; however, with the score tied, the game went into overtime, and the Wizengamots stole the match.
“There were a couple girls that were just sobbing. And then their Keeper … his hand was just in a fist. We thought he was gonna punch somebody … (because) he hit somebody the day before,” Alexander said.
One opposing player took a ball to the face with such force that her nose proceeded to bleed. Another girl got knocked flat on her face after a collision with a VCU player, who proceeded to straddle and force her to surrender the ball.
“People don’t like it when you hit girls,” commented Alexander of the incident, “but they gotta realize that girls are choosing to play this full contact sport.”
Reportedly, the World Cup announcers nicknamed the Wizengamots the “Hoochie Smoochies” because, according to Hill, “they thought we were the most attractive team. But really they were just hitting on Nikki Curtis (Wizengamot Beater).”
Quidditch, the most popular wizarding sport in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter fantasy series, requires a total of seven active members per team at a time to fill the positions of one Keeper, two Beaters, three Chasers and one Seeker. The Keeper of each team acts as goalie guarding three large hoops through which the Chasers attempt to shoot one large ball, the Quaffle, in order to score.
Meanwhile, it is the job of the Beaters to deflect two aggressive and nondiscriminatory balls, called the Bludgers, from battering their own teammates, redirecting the assaults towards opposing team members. As all of this is occurring, the Seekers race one another in their search for the Golden Snitch – a small and agile winged ball – the capture of which signals the end of the game and the generous reward of an extra 150 points to that team.
Of course, for the purpose of making this magical sport muggle (non-wizard) friendly, the Quaffle has been replaced by a slightly deflated volleyball and the Bludgers, of which there are three, have been replaced with dodge balls.
The Golden Snitch is embodied by a tennis ball secured within a tube sock attached to the pants of a particularly fleet individual dressed in yellow. Additionally, instead of 150 points, the securing of the Snitch only awards an extra 30.
With nine fields active at once, 12 brackets overall and five teams per bracket, each team at last weekend’s World Cup played a total of four games, with the top three teams from each bracket advancing to the next round.
Despite the weather being “balls cold,” according to Alexander, and the portable restroom facilities running out of toilet paper on the second day of matches, the Wizengamot deemed the tournament an overall success.
Regardless of Vermont’s Middlebury College taking the World Cup for the fifth year running, the Wizengamot of VCU made it to the second day of competition for the first time in their history and was the only Virginia team to advance as far.
Overall, the Wizengamot made it into the top 20 out of 100 teams; however, the official rankings have yet to be released.
“We’re best friends with all the Virginia teams, especially Tech,” Hill said. “Their team is really hot. They’re all just really attractive.”
The team arrived back on campus at 6:45 Monday morning – just in time for classes.
“Except me,” Alexander reported. “But I heard everyone else went to class.”
Despite falling short of actually obtaining the World Cup and the glory that comes with it, the Wizengamot’s performance in New York was undoubtedly a step toward achieving it in future years – and a triumph of which all VCU can be proud.
Photos courtesy of Wizengamot at VCU