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Fandoms flourish at UCF for Potter, Dr. Who, My Little Pony fans

Contributing Writer

Published: Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 22:09

UCF Quidditch Club

CFF Archive

The UCF Quidditch Club, also known as the Nearly Headless Knights, aims to bring the magical game made famous by J.K. Rowling to life.

The fandoms of UCF bring students out of their Tumblr haze, compelling them to click away from another chapter of fanfiction or tab of message boards and engage with fellow Whovians, Potterheads or even My Little Pony enthusiasts.

Students who dream about attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy, but are still waiting on one of those flakey owls to deliver their letters, might just find a home out from underneath the stairs and within the UCF Harry Potter club.

Hannah Pogue, a sophomore majoring in digital media and president-elect of the club, whose members call themselves Potterheads, said the organization welcomes fans of all extremities, including students who have only seen the films or those who have read all seven books “14, 17, 20 times.”

“We talk about the books and the movies. We have a lot of fun trivia games. We have activities like movie nights or board game nights and we’ll make wizard food like pumpkin pasties, butterbeer and cauldron cakes,” Pogue said.

Members of the club are sorted into houses and can earn house points through meeting attendance and competition performance in an attempt to win the coveted house cup.

Pogue also said, in addition to visiting Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the group would love to attend LeakyCon, a Harry Potter convention that is coming to Orlando in 2014.

Already boasting a group of about 90, the club expects a spike in enrollment following the opening of Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando.

For students who found themselves chanting “Krum” or doing an Irish jig when the Bulgarians faced the Irish in the Quidditch World Cup, put down the football and pick up a broomstick — just be careful not to whack yourself in the head.

Allick Jorgensen, a junior majoring in advertising-public relations and president of the Quidditch Club, also known as the Nearly Headless Knights, said the club aims to bring the magical game made famous by J.K. Rowling to life.

“It is basically taking the sport that was created in that book and putting it to real life,” Allick said. “You run with a broom between your legs and throw quaffles through the hoops to score goals and throw bludgers at people to get them knocked off their brooms.”

But because this isn’t the Wizarding World, UCF quidditch players have to improvise. For bludgers the team uses dodgeballs, for the quaffle it subs in a volleyball, and the snitch is a player who is dressed in gold with a ball tethered to the back of his or her shorts.

“Although I read the books in high school for accelerated reader points, I was also on the football team, so I’m more in this for the sport than the actual Harry Potter portion of it,” Allick said.

The Nearly Headless Knights follow the International Quidditch Association rules, if you can believe there is such a thing.

Pulling the ball off of the snitch earns a team 30 points and each quaffle that makes it through the hoop is worth 10 points. Catching the snitch ends the game, but the winning team is determined by number of points.

The team might not include anyone who is about to defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, but its members are giving back to the muggle community.

Allick said the team is looking forward to its service program, Kidditch, which introduces children interested in Harry Potter to the sport, as well as the Quidditch World Cup.

Other Potter fans can enjoy butterbeer and festivities at Shack-a-thon, an event sponsored by the Habitat for Humanity UCF chapter. The event takes place every spring and in spring 2013, the Nearly Headless Knights more money than any other organization.

Students looking for a fandom to call home, but perhaps with a little less cardio, can trade in a broomstick for a tardis.

Rakey Zuroff, a junior majoring in elementary education and vice president of WhoCF, said that club meetings consist of watching Dr. Who episodes, sometimes followed by discussions.

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