“I think everyone fantasizes when they read Harry Potter that they’ll get to play Quidditch sometime in their life,” says Joseph Frankl ’14.

Given that today’s college students grew up with Harry Potter, Hagrid, Dumbledore, and the gang, it’s not surprising they’d bring that passion with them to Mac. The latest manifestation of Potter-mania is a student-organized Quidditch team, which played each Friday afternoon last fall on the main lawn. (No, they didn’t actually fly.)

The team, started by Joey Frankl ’14 (Wilmette, Ill.) and Sophia Nikitas ’14 (Brooklyn, N.Y.), began meeting in September after 160 students signed up for Quidditch at the annual student organization fair. Most weeks about 30 people showed up with their brooms, which they must keep between their legs as they chase the snitch (a fleet-footed, golden-suited fellow named Nick Whittredge ’15 (Northampton, Mass.), avoid the bludgers (dodgeballs), and throw the quaffle (soccer ball) through the ring (hula hoop).

The motto, says Nikitas, is “keep it goofy,” though as co-director Frankl notes, “People really do get into it.” 

There are no tryouts, no practices, and no one is cut. When the group gathers on Friday afternoons, they split into two teams, choosing whichever position they prefer. Some participants dress up as Dobby or other Potter characters; others mix it up: for the first game Frankl wore a Santa hat and Nikitas dressed as a referee.

Not surprisingly, Quidditch is taken more seriously at certain Eastern colleges and at rival Carleton than it is at easygoing Mac. “Those schools have multiple teams and competitions,” says Frankl. “But we’re just a club, a low-pressure, fun way to start the weekend.” (Alumni welcome, they add.)

October 21 2011

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