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.”
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.”