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    « News & Notes: Nov. 30, 2012 | Main | Sqrambled Scuares game show focuses on fun »

    Coastal Carolina Quidditch team flying high

    Students pay tribute to Potter universe with intercollegiate game

    By Heather Gale •

    Coastal Carolina Quidditch team members Steven Rosen (left) tries to throw a ball to Brooke Clark (far right) as Kyle Gobhard and Ian Detweller try to block the play during a recent practice. (Photos by Heather Gale)

    Steven Rosen knows he will never be a wizard and will never fly on a broomstick.

    But that doesn’t stop him from putting a broomstick between his legs and taking off at lightning speed trying to score goals during a Quidditch game, which is in its sixth year as an intercollegiate sport.

    “I wish we could fly. That would definitely make the match even more fun,” the Coastal Carolina University freshman said.

    Twenty-five Coastal Carolina University students have created a top-of-the-line Quidditch team that they call the Chantigriff Quidditch team.

    The name Chantigriff comes from a fictional animal portrayed in the Harry Potter books called a Hippogriff.

    The Chantigriffs won a recent tournament in Chapin.

    The team now holds a 3-1 record for the season with teams from all over the area including the University of South Carolina and the College of Charleston.

    On a recent Sunday, the team met for practice with brooms in hand.

    Ray Taylor, a seeker on the team, said the game can get pretty intense as players dodge the “bludgers” in Beater’s Alley, pass the quaffle for a score and chase the snitch.

    “In order to be a seeker, you have to have very good eyesight and be a good sprinter,” he said. “To be a chaser or a beater, you have to be tough, but it is really fun to play.”

    In quidditch the object is to score through one of three hoops made of PVC pipe for 10 points each goal.What is the game?

    Played like the game created by J.K. Rowling in the Harry Potter books, minus the flying, Quidditch has seven players on the field at one time including three chasers, two beaters, one seeker and one keeper.

    According to the International Quidditch Association, the game was adapted by Middlebury College students in 2005 and is now played at more than 300 universities and high schools in the United States and 12 foreign countries.

    The chasers are responsible for the quaffle, or ball, and try to score goals on the other team by throwing the quaffle into one of three rings held up by PVC pipe. Each goal is worth 10 points.

    The beaters try to protect the goals and the other players from the bludgers.

    The keeper is like a goalie, and the seeker tries to hunt down the snitch.

    A snitch in the Harry Potter books is a golden ball that flies around the Quidditch stadium at lightning speed. Only those with skilled vision can spot the snitch, including the lead character in the books, Harry Potter.

    However, in real life, the golden ball cannot fly around a stadium on its own, so it is attached to a person.

    The snitch is a ball in a yellow sock that is worn on a person, also called the snitch.

    When the snitch is caught, the game is over and the team that caught it earns an additional 30 points.

    A game does not end until the snitch is caught.

    The field for Quidditch is quite small, but the snitch is able to run all around the area in his efforts not to get caught.

    Referee Lauren Szymanski said in New York at the World Cup, the snitch actually left the stadium and took a bus tour of the city before getting caught.

    However, in most games, there is a time limit and space limit as to how long the snitch can be gone and how far he or she can go.

    Ian Detweiler, a keeper for the team, said he would love for the team to compete in the World Cup tournament.

    “We would love to go, but it costs $200 to go, and we just don’t have the money,” he said. “However, we are going to compete in the Carolina Conference in March against 13 other teams.”

    Chantigriff team member Rachel Liming picks up a ball during Quidditch practice at CCU.

    Why play?

    Caitlin Yarowz, a CCU student who plays the snitch, a seeker and sometimes a chaser, said she joined the team to get involved and because she loves Harry Potter.

    “I saw that there was a team and thought it would be something really fun to try,” she said. “I have attended a Harry Potter camp before and played something similar to this, but this is way more fun.”

    Yarowz said running with a broom between her legs was weird at first, but then she got used to it.

    “It takes a bit to get used to, but after a while, you kind of forget about it,” she said.

    Rosen, who also loves Harry Potter, wanted to stay active.

    “I played soccer in high school and thought this would be something really fun to do,” he said. “I am a big fan of Harry Potter and when I saw that people had brought this sport to life, I was very excited.”

    Szymanski said a lot of people were skeptical before they got the team going.

    “People who are fans of Harry Potter were very excited and all in on the game, but those who aren’t were a little confused about the game and exactly what we were doing,” she said.

    In order to be a referee, Szymanski had to study a 300-page rulebook on the game.

    “It can be a pretty intense game and so there are a lot of things we have to do to keep the players safe,” she said.

    Yarowz said she hopes the sport of Quidditch continues to grow.

    “I would like to see it get more recognition, I mean not at the Olympic level or anything, but definitely out there more,” she said. “It is a great sport, and it is a great way to be active and meet new people.”

    Rachel Liming said being a seeker, like Harry Potter was in the books, is cool.

    “It is definitely one of the most challenging positions on the team, but it is cool that the other members of the team put their trust in us to be the seekers,” she said.

    Taylor said he has been able to catch three snitches in his tenure on the team.

    “It is exciting when you get the final points of the match,” he said.

    Find out more about CCU Quidditch on Facebook or follow the team on Twitter.

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