Why did the Petrel cross the road?

Clair Carter '12 (far left) and Sean Lovett '12 (second from left) ran this year's Peachtree with Sean's family as...(you guessed it!) a Quidditch team ala Harry Potter.

To start the race, of course!

For most Americans, July 4th is a time for cookouts, family, and fireworks.  But here in Atlanta, Independence Day is also about challenging the world to the largest 10K on the planet.  And this year, there were plenty of Petrels in the Peachtree Road Race—from students, to staff, to alumni. 

Michelle Hall, OU’s Vice President for Campus Life, was among the Oglethorpe staff who ran, as well as Admission Counselor Jeremy Sale and Director of Finance/Controller Amy Rentenbach

“This was my fourth race that my wife and I ran together,” said Jeremy.  “I love all the spectators on the course and this year the Atlanta Track Club outdid itself with the number of entertainers on the course as well… It’s great that so many from the OU community run the Peachtree, it shows our commitment to Atlanta and being healthy.”

Of the Petrels that ran, rising senior Beth Cleary certainly had a lot to be proud of.  She has run the Peachtree eight times, finishing her first race at the age of 11.  Beth has improved upon her time ever since, clocking a respectable 44:18 this year—a major jump from her 70-minute race time back in 6th grade.

“I LOVE the Peachtree! My goal time is always faster than the last time. [This year,] once the final results came in, I found out that I missed the Top 1000 by a little bit ….[but] I want that Top 1000 mug. So next year, it’s gonna happen.”

All competitiveness aside, Beth reveals why the race keeps calling her back year after year. 

“I love road races,” said Beth, who is interning with the Atlanta Track Club, the nonprofit that organizes the Peachtree each year.  “I consider myself a pretty serious runner, but I consider Peachtree more of an event and an experience than an honest to goodness race. It’s a reminder of the community that running can provide…The atmosphere is fantastic and I feel as though I’m surrounded by hundreds of my best friends.”

Quidditch, Hogwarts Day Sweep into Oglethorpe

Alexandria Ducksworth, Cedric Floyd and Ashley Gandy are three Oglethorpe students who can be found on the quad every Friday afternoon working on their Quidditch game.

Friday was a big day for Ashley Gandy ’12.  As captain of Terpischore, one of two major Quidditch teams here at Oglethorpe, she and her friends needed to be ready for their first match-up of the year—which fell on Hogwarts Day, one of the most anticipated student-life events of the year.

If you, like so many others, have kept up with the Harry Potter series over the last decade, then you’re probably familiar with the game.  It is the most popular sport in the “world of wizardry”, and is a rather complicated mix of soccer and dodgeball.  It  involves co-ed teams attempting to score against each other and avoiding being tagged by their opponents—all while ”flying” on broomsticks.

The sport, sanctioned by the International Quidditch Association, has taken to many colleges campuses around the world, and with Oglethorpe’s Gothic architecture and student body of booksmart and proudly quirky students, it’s no wonder Quidditch has made its way to OU—and in a big way. According to Gandy, Oglethorpe’s Quidditch Club had over 80 members in the fall of 2010, and interest in the sport continued to grow.  Aside from hosting trips to the new Harry Potter IMAX premiere and organizing a book drive to raise money for official Quidditch broomsticks , the club is also heavily involved with planning Hogwarts Day.

Held Friday, November 12, it is a day that OU students have dedicated to all things Harry Potter.  The celebration is named after the famous young wizard’s school, which bears a striking resemblance to ”the castle on Peachtree Road.”

In this game of Quidditch, the goals on either side of the field are fashioned from hula hoops and PVC pipes.

During the big event, Oglethorpe was transformed into Hogwarts School of Magic, complete with Hogwarts houses, wizardry chess, butter beer, and the main event—Quidditch on the quad.  Gandy and her team practiced all semester, and gave the hundreds of students who showed up to the previous year’s event a good showing.

“I feel that the Quidditch Club brings to everybody that little thing that lets you know you don’t have to ever completely grow up,” remarked Gandy.   ”Sometimes sports aren’t just about competition…sometimes the greatest form of stress relief can be throwing a dodge ball at someone … I feel that it’s an outlet for people, and a new quirky way to bring attention and interest to our school.”

Ironically, although Hogwarts Day was only in its second year, the build-up around campus makes it seem like a grounded tradition.  But for those Muggles (a Harry Potter term for those with no magical abilities) who are still on the fence about Hogwarts fever and the sport of Quidditch, here is what Gandy has to say:

“Don’t knock it until you try it. When I first joined in this I figured I would let everyone else do the actual playing and I would referee, but once I got on that broomstick…it was all over.”