Thursday, October 15, 2009

Official History Of UMass Quidditch

The University of Massachusetts Quidditch Club began in 1533, with the Pocomtuc Native American Wawamako, which traditionally translates to “Rides With Sticks.” The game of quidditch was played in a form involving hatchets rather than bludgers, resulting in many unsightly injuries. Wawamako himself was unable to see most of the game’s evolution as he was struck with terrible spattergroit soon after starting the team.

Wawamako in the late stages of illness.

The team, however, carried on and evolved without him, becoming involved in King Phillip’s War, known as the “Flying Hatcheteers” to settlers. The established team faded away after the Pocomtuc were decimated, yet the tradition carried on through the centuries.

In 2007, UMass students Matt Drake, a direct decendant of Wawamako himself, and Maggie Henry, who purported a member of the Flying Hacheteers as an ancestor, decided the time was ripe to reestablish the team and take to the air once more, this time as the UMass Flying Minutemen. The first meeting in the spring of 2008 consisted of six people, none of whom (beside the founders) could produce any ancestry to the vengeful tribe. However, Drake and Henry showed no bias and persevered through the semester, and as fall rolled around new faces provided new opportunities.

The fall of 2008 presented a whole host of eager recruits, and though most had never heard of Wawamako, they were interested in the fledgling team. With about twenty regulars, the Flying Minutemen traveled to Middlebury for their first World Cup. Unfortunately, the 250 years between them and their war-like predecessors had softened them, and the harsh wind and unforgiving opponents thoroughly woke the warriors within the Minutemen. Determined to live up to their illustrious past, they challenged Amherst College to a two-game showdown in December of that year. The Minutemen, true to their heritage, took to the air and boxed the ears of Amherst with fisticuffs of strategy, though a sudden death round kept UMass on their toes.

UMass entered the spring semester with a rigorous practice schedule, eyes set for further glory. In April, UMass entered into the Patriot’s Day Boston Tournament alongside Emerson, Boston University, and Middlebury College. In a poetic upset, UMass avenged their World Cup defeat by shutting out Emerson 30-0, lost to BU in a close 70-110 game, and brought Middlebury to their first sudden death game, losing in the end 60-70. Hatchets remained sheathed, and all concluded it was a marvelous day of competition.

Having used the summer to spread the word and rest up for the fall season, the Minutemen returned to the pitch to find an enormous upsurge of interest from incoming first-years, swelling the ranks of the team to thirty regular members. They have planned to attend the World Cup at Middlebury, and even to host their own tournament before the year’s end. With ever an eye on the future and always an ear to the past, the UMass Quidditch Club is ready to face new opponents, friends, and challenges.

Also, check out the Promotional Video:

Brooms Up!

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