Don’t quidditch before you start

By Melissa McKenna

Quidditch: It’s the sport of the wizards.

Filled with brooms, bludgers, beaters, seekers and, most importantly, the golden snitch, it combines almost every element of athleticism and magic that a person could possibly ask for.

Unfortunately for us Muggles, neither magic nor Quidditch really exists.

Stuck with nothing but football and soccer, we have been forced into only the most mundane and mind-numbing sports; that is, until Bridget Hickey.

Enter Bridget: the mastermind behind the new sport in Dekalb. The mastermind behind the NIU Quidditch team.

I will admit, when I imagined meeting the creator of the NIU Quidditch team, I didn’t quite expect to meet someone so…well, normal. I for one will be first person to openly admit my love for all things Potter, but when I pictured meeting the creator of the Quidditch team, you can only imagine whom I expected to meet. Would she be wearing Harry Potter garb? Would she be able recite spells and quote the movie on demand? I had no idea. All I know is that I was very pleasantly surprised. Walking in with sleek brown hair and a grey hoodie, Bridget happily greeted me outside of the Neptune West lobby. We immediately sat down and got straight to business as she caught her breath from walking back from a braille class.

I began by asking her what first sparked her love affair for Quidditch.

“In third grade,” said Hickey. “I walked into the library and picked out a book with a dude on a broom on it.”

The rest is history. After taking a trip down memory lane, for she is now a sophomore at NIU, Hickey explained how the idea occurred to her to start a Quidditch team.

“I was in orientation freshman year,” Hickey said. “I was asking about sports teams and made a joke and was like, ‘what about Quidditch?’ I saw that they didn’t have one and decided I wanted to start one.”

The team was both recognized by the SA and officially formed in November 2010.

“Yeah, it’s Harry Potter, but I want people to see this as a sport,” Hickey said. “That’s what I want to get across. It’s for people who want to get active, but at the same time be imaginative and have fun. I would best describe Quidditch as a combination of rugby/football/basketball/dodgeball/flag football while on a broom. We have broom bruises, which are horrible bruises in between legs that are awkward to explain. So yeah, we get hurt too.”

Quidditch isn’t all fun and no rules; the members of the team all follow certain guidelines and measurements that are used for the sport.

“There are certain broom measurements [and] one needs to meet the requirements to play,” Hickey said. ” The IQA (International Quidditch Association) creates regulations. I ordered my broom online, and have a Scarlet Falcon, but some people use things such as swiffers and brooms that they sneak from their floor janitorial closets.”

Hickey said there are 300 Quidditch teams throughout the U.S. and 13 in Illinois.

“Kids on the team are really into it,” Hickey said. “One boy on the team will only wear Harry Potter clothes; it really is a lifestyle. I’m not saying I’d do that, but I could definitely hold my own in a game of Harry Potter trivia.”

If you’re interested in joining or just like Harry Potter and want to see what it’s all about, Hickey is always welcome to newcomers.

“We play Wednesdays from 8 to 10 [p.m.] in the field house,” Hickey said. “Come, and we’ll teach you. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a very ultimate sport.”