“I got 99 problems but a snitch ain’t one.” At least, for the Hofstra University quidditch team it is not a problem.
Steve DiCarlo, a Hofstra University student and senior at the time, started the team in November 2010.
“I decided to start the team last November because I went to the quidditch World Cup in New York City and saw that schools like Harvard, Yale and NYU had teams, so I figured it'd be awesome to represent Hofstra at the next World Cup,” explained DiCarlo.
Quidditch is the flying sport from the popular book series Harry Potter. Even though the characters in the book fly while playing the sport, muggles, or non-wizards, can still the play the sport. Running with a broom between your legs is how this is simulated.
“I've always been a huge Harry Potter fan, and I loved the physicality of the sport, so I really wanted a chance to try it out myself,” says DiCarlo.
Dicarlo asked if there were at least fifteen people interested in playing over Facebook, and he received an overwhelming response from 50 people in 24 hours.
The Hofstra Flying Dutchman Quidditch team officially began practicing the weekend after the World Cup.
“The first few practices were amazing. Once people realized it wasn't just some prank or a nerd's attempt to play a fantasy sport, things came together really quickly. We practiced in the rain and several inches of snow, and by after only two months of consistent practices, we beat nearby rivals Stony Brook in our first ever game,” says DiCarlo.
Vice President of the Flying Dutchman, Fred Varone, says that while the turnout was good, it proved to be difficult.
“We didn't really know the rules since it's not a sport any of us grew up playing or watching on T.V. We barely knew each other so we were scared to be physical and just not sure what to do, but after a few, we warmed up to the sport and each other,” explained Varone.
The Northeast Regional Quidditch Tournament was held on May 1st, 2011. It was supposed to be held at Boston University, but the plans fell through just a few weeks before the tournament. DiCarlo jumped on the chance to host the tournament. It was the largest quidditch tournament ever to take place in the northeast, aside from the World Cup.
“Once I told the IQA (International Quidditch Association) commissioner that we'd have enough space and I could work to get necessities like sound and field lines, we got everything together within a matter of days. It was an amazing event, and even though we didn't win, making a name for ourselves that early in our life as a team was a huge accomplishment in itself,” explained DiCarlo.
The whole Flying Dutchman team was excited to be a part of the tournament.
“It was fantastic, we got to play a ton of teams that we had never played before and we gained a lot of experience from it,” says Varone.
Varone said that while they were an unknown team back in 2010, in the past year they have put their name out there and are being talked about.
“The team has made more progress in the past year than some teams I played on for 8 years. We really proved that we're a team to be taken seriously at the World Cup, we beat the number two ranked team, and held our own against other top ten teams. From the looks of the IQA forums, people are starting to talk about us. The head referee at the World Cup actually ranked us as having the best defense there, which blew my mind. And it feels amazing. I'm immensely proud of everyone on the team and the incredible amount of work they've all put in to get us so far in such a short time. So they all deserve a ton of credit, says Varone.
Current Captain Brittany Bissonnette says that they have come a long way from the first practice and have made a lot of progress.
“We started as a group of 10 running around with one hand behind our backs playing with one ball and a set of cones for hoops. Now we have over 30 people, several sets of hoops, balls, and we use brooms. After only a year of playing, our team ranked 21st in the World Cup, and we beat Kansas University, the second best ranked team in the world and one of the last undefeated teams. That is, until we beat them. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of such a great team and I have a good feeling at the next World Cup in spring 2013 we’re going to win it all!”