Wednesday, November 24, 2010
As Harry Potter fans everywhere prepared to watch the release of the latest installment of the film series, The Deathly Hallows, students on Rider’s Lawrenceville campus geared up to play a rousing game of Harry’s primary athletic activity, Quidditch, on Saturday, November 20. College campuses around the country have been embracing this increasingly popular “muggle” version of the fantasy-world sport, and Rider’s own Quidditch match was organized by Recreation Programs and took place one week after the International Quidditch Association’s World Cup, in which 47 teams – composed of some 700 students – participated.
“We saw how much fun so many other colleges were having with Quidditch and decided that, with the new movie coming out, it would be a great way for students to get excited,” said Diana Clauss, assistant director of Campus Life for Recreation Programs. “We took the official rules and guidelines from the International Quidditch Association and modified them to keep the game non-contact so it would fun and safe for everyone.”
The sport, as popularized in J.K. Rowling’s bestselling series of books, is a crossbreed of handball and dodgeball, with some wizarding twists thrown in. Four balls are used in play: the quaffle and three bludgers. “Chasers” must try to get the quaffle and score points by throwing it through one of three hoops. “Keepers” act as goalies, preventing chasers from scoring. “Beaters” throw the bludgers, dodgeball style, and attempt to hit players of the other team, removing them temporarily from play. Each team also has a “seeker,” whose job is to catch the “snitch,” a runner who is not a member of either team.
“I think we played a good game today and everyone had fun,” said Neil Rasbury, a freshman Journalism major who played as a chaser. Rasbury has been reading the Harry Potter series since the 6th grade and believes that the match “was a really great time for all of us who love the books and movies.”
The nearly 30 students who participated were organized into four teams, each representing one of the four houses of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw. Potter enthusiasts from around campus came to support their favorite teams, filling the bleachers of the turf field.
“I’m so excited about this game,” said Carrie Drake, a junior English major who was there to watch. Drake even invented Potter-related cheers to encourage her friends on Slytherin team.
After the game, the players and fans, along with more than 200 other students from the Lawrenceville and Westminster Choir College campuses, loaded onto buses to watch a private showing of The Deathly Hallows at a nearby cinema.
“The Quidditch game seemed like a great prelude to the movie, so we decided to make it a Harry Potter weekend,” Clauss said. Recreation Programs, the Office of Campus Life, the Student Entertainment Council, and the Residence Hall Association on both the Lawrenceville and Westminster Choir College campuses pooled their resources to sponsor the rental of an auditorium at a local movie theatre.
“Harry Potter is a kind of cultural institution for this age range, so it was something we really wanted to do,” Clauss said. “So, we joined forces to create an event that we knew students would really enjoy.”