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Gryffindor defeats Slytherin on Stepan Fields

Jenn Metz | Monday, September 29, 2008

If you paid attention to the scoreboard during Saturday’s Irish victory over the Boilermakers of Purdue, you would have seen something strange appear between the results of other football games across the nation: Gryffindor: 170, Slytherin 60.

No, you weren’t dreaming.

The score of a land Quidditch match, based on the immensely popular game for wizards, was displayed Saturday, much to the surprise of the members of the rival House teams.

“I guess the score got up there by magic,” junior Tamuto Takakura, of Gryffindor, said.

Takakura, and nine other Notre Dame students suited up in their Quidditch robes – meaning regular athletic apparel and capes of either scarlet or forest green – to play the magical sport, adapted, of course, for Muggles.

Junior Tim Latham, who played for Slytherin, told The Observer how one plays the game – typically played on flying broomsticks – on land.

“Exactly the way you would if you were a wizard,” he said. “Except you put a broom between your legs and run around like a fool.”

For those unfamiliar with the traditional rules, each Quidditch team normally consists of seven players: three Chasers, two Beaters, one Keeper and one Seeker. Full explanation of the rules can be found in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

The two teams who played Saturday were made up of 10 residents of Knott and Pasquerilla West Halls. One Chaser and one Beater were removed from each roster.

Peter Mushenheim, who did not know that much about Quidditch prior to playing, was one of the organizers of the match. To get people involved, he scheduled an event on Facebook.

The only preparation for the match was a group watching of “Wizard People, Dear Reader: An Unauthorized Retelling of Harry Potter,” by Brad Neely, he said.

Mushenheim and his roommates bought brooms and fabric for capes for the match.

“Luckily, there were many novelty brooms available due to the current proximity to Halloween,” he said.

His roommate, Michael Croteau, worked on the capes.

“Peter and I magicked the capes out of red and green fabric we bought at Walmart,” Croteau said.

The original plan for the construction of the three hoops at each end of the match was to use Hula hoops, but due to their high cost, Mushenheim and company decided to “improvise and make goals out of cardboard, which were suspended from the crossbars of the soccer goals,” he said.

Latham, the Slytherin Beater, had the job of attacking pegging Chasers in possession of the Quaffle with the Bludger – a volleyball painted yellow with a smiley face “for a touch of irony,” he said.

Since Muggles are at a disadvantage, owing to the lack of magical devices, the Snitch, a hard-to-see golden ball that awards its finder with 150 additional points, is played by a human, who is completely visible.

John Fullard, the Snitch on Saturday, wore yellow, Latham said. He began the game by throwing up the Quaffle – a volleyball – and was given a grace period to exit the pitch before the Seekers on each team could attempt to catch him, or rather, catch the sock attached to the back of his pants.

The human Snitch is allowed to run all round the pitch, and can leave the pitch whenever he wants “just like the real Snitch could,” Latham said.

Fullard ran, “taunting the combating teams whilst evading capture,” Mushenheim said.

Fullard was responsible for bringing the magical sport to campus. After seeing a clip on YouTube of CBS sports personality Greg Gumbel covering a Quidditch match between Princeton and Middlebury, he decided he and his friends should start playing.

Mushenheim said the group decided they needed “a tradition for before home football games,” like the North Quad croquet players.

“We decided that Quidditch would be our signature event,” he said.

To the best of Mushenheim’s knowledge, last Saturday’s match was the first time a game of organized Quidditch was played at Notre Dame.

He said he feels “that this has the potential to grow on campus. If there is enough interest, we may consider applying for club [or] Interhall activity status in the future.”

“At the very least, we plan on playing before every home game,” he said.

On Saturday, Croteau and Keaton VanBeveren each scored one goal for Gryffindor. Lauren Demeter caught the Snitch, winning the game for her team.

For Slytherin: Mushenheim scored five goals and Felix Salazar, called “the heir to Slytherin” by Mushenheim, scored one goal.

The match was held at Stepan Fields. Attendance at the game included “family, tailgaiters, and a suspicious looking helicopter,” Mushenheim said.

As far as a possible tournament, Mushenheim is open to challengers. “We only have supplies for two teams,” he said. “So if others want to take up the other two houses ad compete with us … they should show up on Saturday.”