Attention Muggles

Quiddich players grab brooms, head to lakefront

[Image] Attention Muggles

By Brittany Radakovich

When you see a beach, you usually see people playing volleyball, jogging or sunbathing. The last thing you would expect to see on the beach is a broomstick.

Students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have brought to life Quidditch, the fictional game played on broomsticks in the popular Harry Potter novels.

 Braving the wind and cold temperatures, students met up for a match at Bradford Beach Saturday. The Team-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named faced off against The Tipsy Trolls.

 The game is played completely on broomsticks like those you would find in your household closet. There are four different positions: the Keeper, who guards his team’s three hoops, a Beater, who tags people out by throwing balls at them, a Chaser, who scores the goals, and a Seeker, who searches for the Golden Snitch.

 In this case, Jon Pedigo, a freshman at the university, is the Golden Snitch. Dressed in bright yellow, he begins the game by taking off down the beach. Amid the stares from passerby’s, he makes a sharp right and heads straight for the freezing water of Lake Michigan.

 As he emerges from the water, an unexpected Seeker grabs a sock from the back of his shorts. The game is over and The Team-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named has won.

It’s Just so Weird

 Pedigo started the idea of an intramural Quidditch league at the university. He played the game at his high school in Illinois and wanted to bring it to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

 “I like Harry Potter, but I think I really started it because it’s just so weird and I liked that,” Pedigo said. “It’s just a lot of fun. When the game gets going and the Snitch gets going around, I’m just really happy. It’s a great experience playing.”

 Right now, Pedigo is just trying to get the word out about Quidditch, but he hopes to take the team international one day.

 “We would end up joining the International Quidditch League, which has World Cups and other tournaments,” he said. “They have magical things that happen, like Dementors come onto the field during the games and a lot of other quirky stuff.”

 Pedigo plans on applying for a grant next year at the university. He wants to upgrade the equipment, which currently consists of hula-hoops duct taped to PVC piping and jammed into orange traffic cones. He would also like to get matching uniforms and yes, matching broomsticks.

Dreams do Come True

 Charlie Jones, a UWM sophomore, is a Keeper on the team. He found out about the league from Facebook and said he has always wanted to play Quidditch.

“It’s always been a dream of mine, ever since I was a little kid,” he said. “When I read the Harry Potter books, I instantly fell in love with the sport and I just knew I wanted to play it someday.”

 Jones hopes that the league will continue to grow throughout his time at college.

 “I hope it lasts all summer,” he said. “I actually hope it expands quite a bit. It’s a great sport, great team building and a lot of fun.”

 Theresa Gamble was a spectator at the game. She saw a sign on campus and wanted to check out a match before she considered joining the league.

 “Quidditch is one of those things I read about in the books and I thought it would be really interesting to try,” Gamble said. “Then I saw that they had it at UWM and I just thought awesome!”

 Pedigo and his teammates hope to make the league a legitimate club next year. They plan on taking their team on the road to play other universities, such as UW-Madison, UW-Whitewater and UW-Stout, which also have Quidditch teams.

 “We want to get to some tournaments,” Pedigo said. “Hopefully we can make it all the way to the World Cup, we’ll see.”

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