Students find ‘family’ in quidditch team

Morgan Cox and Nikolai Hurley exchange a conversation in between drills during quidditch practice. Photo: Carlton Clinkscales

By Hannah Carlsward |

What do three hoops, a volleyball, dodgeballs and broomsticks all have in common? You can find them all through the sport of muggle quidditch.  

Morgan Cox, a senior and captain of the Flagler College Quidditch team, explains quidditch as a full-contact, co-ed sport that is a mix between rugby, basketball and dodgeball. There are four different positions – the chaser, the beater, the keeper and the seeker. Each position is very technical, but the basis of the game is the same. 

“It’s a Harry Potter game,” Cox said. “You run around with a broom. You try to score while also avoid getting hit in any way, shape or form.” 

The Flagler College Quidditch Team, named the Flagler Phoenixes, was started by Chris Rhodes in 2013. After partaking in a quidditch event during Harry Potter Month, Rhodes was interested in the sport, learned more about it and started the club spring semester of his freshman year. 

Cox is the current captain of the team and still fondly remembers her first days of quidditch. Being an ultimate Harry Potter fan, she knew that she always wanted to play. However, it was Rhodes who really made her decide to join the team.  

“When I met him at club night, he convinced me to join,” Cox said. “I would not be on the team if it wasn’t for him.” 

While it might seem like a fun and different way to pass time, unique to Flagler College, quidditch is a serious sport played nationally and internationally. There is even a nonprofit organization called United States Quidditch, where official teams across the country can meet up to compete.  

Members of the Flagler College Quidditch team play a tournament against Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. Photo: Carlton Clinkscales

However, becoming an official member of USQ is not an easy task for a team. Nikolai Hurley, a junior at Flagler, is the only certified referee on the Flagler team. With certifications as assistant referee, head referee and snitch referee, he has read the entire 180-page handbook from USQ.  

Becoming an official member of USQ requires a set number of trained referees, trained first aid members and paid membership for the team and every individual player, Hurley said. 

Rather than worrying about whether they are official or not, the Phoenixes agree that the best part is the ability to play and be part of a team.  

“People think it’s stupid, that we look stupid with the brooms between our legs,” Hurley said. “We just play for fun. We don’t really care. It’s a lot of fun.” 

Hurley’s position in the game is a beater. As a beater, it’s his job to knock out other players with a bludger, or dodgeball, forcing them to stop playing and run back to their team’s hoops before being allowed to rejoin the game.  

Hurley, who used to play rugby, was looking for a physical sport in college where he could run around and tackle people. Because Flagler does not have a rugby or a football team, he found that through the quidditch. With his job as a beater, he loves being seen as a threat by opposing teams.  

“It’s fun to do well and be a threat to the enemy team as a beater,” Hurley said. “I do like to be scary and when they’re scared of me, it makes me happier because I know I’m doing a good job.” 

As a beater, Hurley doesn’t score points. However, he still loves playing games and loves winning as a team.  

Freshman Katelyn Zimmerman also agreed that the best part of the game is the team. She decided to join the team for physical reasons, stayed because of the friends she made.  

“I’ve heard stories about the freshman 15 and I kind of wanted an easy but structured way for me to keep a regular exercise routine going,” Zimmerman said. “Quidditch seemed really fun and seemed like a really good workout.” 

Although she admits she’s not the biggest Harry Potter fan, Zimmerman chose to try out quidditch over other sports because of the welcoming atmosphere at club night and at practices. 

“I went to the first quidditch practice and I immediately was into it,” Zimmerman said. “So, I didn’t feel the need to try anything else.” 

The Flagler College Quidditch team practices on Mondays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m. For anyone interested in trying out, Zimmerman says to go for it. 

“We’re always super welcoming and we’re not going to make fun of you,” Zimmerman said. “We’re not gonna be jerks.”  

Like everyone on the team, Cox, Hurley and Zimmerman are always excited to see new faces come out and would love for people to join the team that they call family.  

“Even though we do get competitive and we do get a little scary on the field, it’s still a family,” Zimmerman said. “The team is a family and we love each other.” 

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