Students Form Intramural Quidditch Team

Twenty-six Andover students immersed themselves in the magical world of Harry Potter this past Sunday in Andover’s first campus Quidditch match. Quidditch is a magical sport depicted in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” book series, in which students fly around on broomsticks and try to score on the other team’s goal. In Andover’s version of Quidditch, students mounted broomsticks and ran instead. In Quidditch, each game involves two teams consisting of seven players: three Chasers, two Beaters, one Keeper and one Seeker. Chasers must travel up and down the field and try to throw a Quaffle into the goal, which is guarded by Keepers. During Sunday’s game, Andover students replaced Quaffles with volleyballs. The two Beaters on each team attempt to strike the Chasers with Bludgers with the intent of forcing them to drop the Quaffle. Andover Beaters used dodgeballs instead of Bludgers. The game ends with the capture of a Snitch, a winged golden ball. However, in the Andover adaptation, the Snitch is replaced by a fast player running around campus. It is the Seeker’s responsibility to capture the Snitch. Christopher Manshel, Teaching Fellow in English, and Hayato Lee ’12 organized the people and equipment necessary for the game to take place. Lee said that he plans to showcase Quidditch to the Andover community. According to Lee, the Andover Quidditch players will play a game during Thursday’s conference period “in order to show Andover that Quidditch has arrived. After that we plan to just play pick-up games,” he said. “Personally, I don’t like the idea of [Quidditch] becoming a club,” Lee said. “We just want to spread the love and the joy of playing it.” Luke Hansen ’11 said, “I thought the first Quidditch game was very successful. I was surprised because I didn’t think many people were actually going to show up. I, myself, thought about not showing up.” “Everything was really organized last Sunday. I’m really happy I went, I had a great time,” he added. Manshel said that he is not a faculty advisor for the Quidditch program at Andover, but rather someone who simply helped Lee and other students organize the first match. “I wanted to be there [on Sunday] to make sure that it was fun and safe. The last thing I want is to see an athlete, or any student, impaled on a broomstick,” he said. “Safety is my number one priority.” “For now, we just want to keep the pick-up games going. Everyone is welcome to join us,” said Lee. Lee first came up with the idea for Qudditch games at Andover over the summer. Lee said, “I saw a video about Quidditch over the summer and I thought it would be cool if we could play the game at Andover. I had the opportunity and I took it.” While attending Middlebury College, Manshel played a crucial role in the inception and adaption of Quidditch from a fictional game to an interscholastic competition. Manshel said, “[During my] freshmen year, my friends and I had a regular Sunday bocce league. After a while bocce got kind of old and the idea came into my head about adapting Quidditch [to be a playable game].” “I never thought that a Sunday morning pick-up game would blow up into something that is being played at a lot of different colleges and high schools now. I think Andover students are very athletic and very imaginative and that’s a great combination for the game,” added Manshel. Lee said, “[Manshel] told us that we could play a game of Quidditch if we got 14 players together. I was afraid that it wasn’t going to live up to the hype, but I think it exceeded it. All in all, it was a great success with a great turnout.” Manshel said that his interests waned after freshman year when he stopped playing and organizing the Sunday Quidditch matches. He passed his responsibilities to a friend who now runs the International Quidditch Association. The International Quidditch Association is a non-profit organization that promotes literacy and healthy lifestyle through playing the game of Quidditch.