GVSU Grindylows make the World Cup

Katelyn Mudd

Some students may think Quidditch is just a fictional game that is confined to J.K. Rowling’s popular “Harry Potter” books, but to the students on this year’s Grand Valley State University Quidditch team, it is their passion.

“(Quidditch) is definitely a very physical and active sport,” said junior Samantha Hageman, club financial officer and one of the team’s keepers. “It keeps me very busy, fit, and active. I’ve made a boatload of friends all over the country that I would have never met without Quidditch.”

The “muggle” or non-wizard version of Quidditch is an adaption of the fictional sport. It is seen as a cross between rugby, dodgeball and lacrosse. There are four main groups of positions for the sport: chasers, keepers, beaters and seekers. And although the participants can’t physically fly, players run around the field with their broomsticks ready.

This year’s team, the Grand Valley Grindylows, had such a successful season that it is planning to head out to the World Cup in 2014.

“Most recently, the team went to Midwest regionals and qualified for (the) World Cup for the first time in team history,” captain and head coach John Alexander said. “The World Cup is taking place at Myrtle Beach, SC, April 5 and 6 of next year.”

Members stress the legitimacy of Quidditch as a challenging, physical sport.

“What people don’t realize about Quidditch is that it is a club sport at Grand Valley,” Alexander said. “We play other universities, and many people on the team haven’t watched or played Harry Potter at all. It’s a hard, athletic, full-contact sport. We are spending the winter doing conditioning and training so we can prepare for tournaments in the spring as well as for World Cup. We are also doing a bunch of fundraisers so we can raise money to go to World Cup.”

For those unfamiliar with the Harry Potter version of the sport, the World Cup is the Quidditch version of the Super Bowl.

“It is the biggest competition of the year,” said Amber Eaton, one of the team’s beaters. “It’s where teams from all over the world come and strut their stuff. It’s the biggest one of the year, and it’s what we work so hard for.”

The team members have been fundraising and planning future fundraising events to make their dream of World Cup a reality.

“We are fundraising through an Indiegogo account, where you can donate money and then we can give out perks like ‘thank you’ cards,” Hageman said. “We had a dunk tank fundraiser that went well. (We also) have an upcoming Pokémon tournament and are making T-shirts.”

The Grand Valley Grindylows are excited about making it to the World Cup.

“Five months ago I broke my ankle, so my personal goal is to get back on my feet and surpass my past ability,” Eaton said. “Personally, I am super proud of my team. Since I’ve been out so long, they have really carried the team to the World Cup, and it gives me a vengeance to want to come back and make the team even stronger.”

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