A Hogwarts pastime starts up at NIU

By Lauren Dielman

Quidditch, a sport played in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, is growing at NIU, group organizer Bridget Hickey said.

Hickey, a sophomore special education major, attributes the growing popularity to better organization, having a new rule book and competing with other schools. Currently, there are 319 Quidditch teams in the US and 15 teams in Illinois.

The way NIU plays Quidditch is very similar to the version in the blockbuster novel. The official rules of the International Quidditch Association are followed. There are 21 people on each team, including chasers, beaters, keepers and a seeker, who tries to catch the snitch for each team.

Chasers try to score goals while keepers protect their goals, and beaters throw dodgeballs to try to temporarily remove the other players from the game. The game ends when the snitch is caught, and 30 points are awarded to that team. Each side also has a referee.

“Anyone can participate, even staff,” Hickey said. “[Quidditch] has been adopted so it’s just like any other sport.”

Freshman accounting major Allison McKenzie saw an article about Quidditch online and decided to look into it.

“This is my first meeting, but I love everyone’s enthusiasm,” McKenzie said.

For senior biology major Lyndsey Jones, there was no question about whether or not to participate.

“I like being on a sports team,” Jones said. “I’m also a big fan of the books. It’s nice to be with people who are also fans of the books.”

The team meets every Wednesday from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Chick Evans Fieldhouse; the first game is next week.