You know what I’m thankful for? Quidditch. Yes. The magical sport of Quidditch, popularized by Harry Potter which is played upon brooms. This may seem odd to most of you, but when you think about it, it makes sense.
See, at Providence College, almost everybody plays Intramural Sports to win the illustrious championship t-shirts. It seems lame, but everyone strives to get a t-shirt before they graduate. Over the years, there have been wars, drama, suspense, blood, guts, and glory in the pursuit of these championship shirts. It really is a big deal on campus. I can only imagine the amount of kids who are really good at sports but came up short on winning a t-shirt. So far in my college career, I have participated in flag football, dodgeball, kickball, lacrosse, and hockey. The gist of my intramural career is this: we have great regular season records, then the playoffs come around and we choke harder than President Bush on a pretzel. It’s not even like I make it to the semi-finals. I’m talking about getting bounced in the first or second round. This year just for kickball, we made it to the second round and were winning by about 4 runs in the bottom of the last inning, and blew that game and lost with two outs to go. It actually started to hit me that me and my friends were gonna graduate without getting those damn t-shirts. I was running out of time and it was actually bothering me when all of a sudden, about two weeks ago, there was a sign up sheet in our dining hall for Quidditch. Obviously, my roommate Matt asked me to play, kind of joking yet kind of not. I will admit I was skeptic for a solid half-second, I mean Providence College is a Catholic institution, so don’t they frown upon witchcraft and wizardry? After truly pondering playing, it hit me that not many people would sign up for this, so this might give me my best odds at winning a t-shirt, so I said yes.
Over the next week, I was really thinking about it. Some people called it lame and rolled their eyes at us for playing a magical sport, but I knew that deep down, as long as I won a t-shirt, I didn’t care. On the other hand, I also realized that if we played Quidditch and didn’t win anything, I would be extremely embarrassed, pissed, and would contemplate transferring to Rutgers. It somewhat bothered me that people would be watching me and my friends running around with broomsticks between our legs to simulate “flying” broomsticks. However embarrassing it may be, I knew that if I won a t-shirt it would be worth it. It is sorta difficult to explain, but real life Quidditch is played with seven people on each team. One goalie “keeper”, one seeker who goes after the golden snitch which is worth 150 points and ends the game when caught, three “chasers” which throw a volleyball into three hula hoops that were hanging down from partially raised curtain, and finally two “beaters” who throw dodgeballs at the opponents chasers, in order to gain possession of the volleyball. Goals scored by chasers are worth 10 points apiece, so due to the golden snitch (which was a kid running around sporadically with a flag football belt on) being worth 150 points, the game eventually comes down to catching the golden snitch to win. The most difficult part was holding onto a broom between your legs and handle catching balls. The other hard part was telling my parents I’m gay. Just kidding.
Anyways, only four teams showed up for the tournament, which gave us great odds to win this thing. My team was called The-Team-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in honor of Lord Voldemort. Our seeker was Ryan “?” Urkiel, our keeper was Matt “Slappy” Rizzini, our two beaters were Sean “Vincent” Mottola, who actually referred to himself as “The Master Beater” and Mike “Wind” Shields. Our chasers consisted of myself, Steve “Chief No Lungs” Sheridan, “Six-Pack” Chris Rizzini, and Mitch “The Techie” Intrieri. The other three teams consisted of 7 kinda nerdy freshmen girls, 7 girls from the field hockey team, and the last team was made up of 5 guys and two girls. I’ll be honest, just about everyone thought it would come down to my team against the team with five guys and two girls, but after the shocking upset of the freshmen girls team somehow beating the team with five guys, we started to feel good going into our semi-final game against the PC field hockey team.
I gotta say, those girls were aggressive. They all knew how to throw elbows and charge at people. Some of them were scary to be honest. As gentlemen, we weren’t going to tackle these girls and be extremely aggressive, since they were girls. It just didn’t feel right to try to rip a volleyball out of a girls hands, but after they started throwing elbows at us, we took no prisoners. I think Matt Rizzini broke his hand slapping a ball at some chick’s face. Long story short, Urk caught the snitch and we won something like 210-30. We were now one game away from the illustrious t-shirts. I hadn’t been so nervous to play a magical sport in years. I felt like Harry Potter in the 2nd book when he…..okay no I didn’t. Honestly I just wanted to win a damn tshirt. We weren’t 100% sure of the win, but we were like 97% sure we were gonna win. We just didn’t want to end up like the other team who lost to these freshmen girls (I actually think some of those guys were still in shock they lost). We went into that game and decided to pour it on them, feel no remorse for these girls and just win. The way I looked at it was I had three semesters left to win a t-shirt. These girls had 7. Right from the get-go, me, Chris and Mitch worked well together as chasers. Yeah maybe I did some cherry picking to get some easy goals, but it kept working. The score was about 80-0 when I saw that weirdo kid who was pretending to be a golden snitch run around the gym, and when Urk caught him, it felt like I had actually won the lottery. Knowing that I had won that t-shirt made me feel like I could relate to the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Blackhawks, Lakers, and the Saints this past year. We were jumping and screaming and crying like we had won the NCAA basketball tournament.
After the fact, some ‘friends’ of mine have complained about us winning a t-shirt for Quidditch. A lot of people say that it shouldn’t count because it’s a magical sport and not real. Well let me tell you all, it is real, cause we played it. We played, and we won. It makes sense that the people complaining about us winning a t-shirt for Quidditch are all people who have yet to win a championship t-shirt themselves. All they try to say in defense is that their 3-on-3 basketball team is 3-0 so far. For me, I couldn’t care less that we won in Quidditch. I find it funny. That being said, if we had lost to that freshmen girls team in the finals, I would have killed myself from the shame of being runner up with nothing to show for while playing Quidditch. It is also pretty cool that I am the all-time leading scorer for chasers in Providence College history AND a member of the first ever PC Quidditch champions. It’ll be something to tell my grandkids and possibly put on my resume. I guess the moral of the story is to always believe. It doesn’t matter if the sport is magical or not, just believe in yourself. So thank you, Harry Potter, for helping us all believe that we too can become champions at Quidditch if your school is lame enough to offer it!
Jimothy (Providence College Quidditch Champion)