During Navigating Rensselaer & Beyond, a group of first-year students got to experience what it’s like to play a game of Quidditch. The event, Catch the Snitch! An RPI Quidditch Experience, was put on by RPI’s own Quidditch Club. The club was formed by people who were interested in playing Quidditch. Since then, the club has evolved into a highly competitive team.
The team practices five times a week, conditioning, running, and stretching, regardless of the weather. As competitive as the team is, it is very open to newcomers. Senior Patrick Martin, president of the Quidditch Club, said there are pickup Quidditch games behind Commons Dining Hall at times. The game is fast-paced, fun, and open to anyone who is curious.
For NRB, the first-year students received first-hand experience on just how fast the game can be. The team explained some important rules set by the International Quidditch Association, and followed up by showing which moves and plays did and didn’t work. Then, there was a short demonstration of the game by the RPI Remembralls. After seeing the team play, the first-years got eager to start playing. Freshman Erik Bergland said, “I’m ridiculously excited.” Many of them have never played Quidditch before; they don’t know whether they will join after playing Quidditch. Freshman Brandon Weller said he’s not good at one particular sport; however, “Quidditch seems to combine techniques. So hopefully [he] could be a good player.”
While watching the Quidditch team show how the game is played, some freshmen commented about how high contact the sport is. “I think I’m going to take off my sunglasses,” said Weller. Martin stated, “It’s a very high and full contact sport.” Team members can tackle each other between the neck and the knees. If two Chasers from opposite teams are fighting for the Quaffle, the ball that is thrown through the goal hoops, a Beater from one team will quickly try to throw a Bludger at the other team’s chaser, like throwing dodgeballs at the opposite team to get them out.
After understanding more about Quidditch from the RPI Remembralls’ short demonstration, the freshmen split into groups to practice for each position: Chasers, Keepers, Beaters, and Seekers. After playing for a bit, Bergland came back to say that Quidditch felt “dare I say magical.” Freshman Cammi De La Cruz said that after the game she was a bit tired, but nonetheless had fun. Freshman Joanna Ewen thought the game was fun, but felt weird with a broom between her legs. “You have to keep your legs together,” she said.
A majority of freshmen chose Quidditch as their NRB event because of the Harry Potter books. They love the series. Martin said that Quidditch was his NRB event too, but not because of Harry Potter. In fact, he hasn’t read the books yet, even after being part of the team. He became interested after joining one of the pickup Quidditch games. He was the Seeker of his team when the Golden Snitch climbed up a nearby tree. A cool fact about the RPI Remembralls is that they are both a competitive team and a school club. Students can join for competitiveness all-around the world or just join for a day of fun. For more information, visit http://quidd.union.rpi.edu.