In a UNC athlete’s equipment bag, one might expect to find a pair of cleats, a change of clothes and some deodorant.
But a broom, quaffles and bludgers?
For sophomore Max Miceli, a player on UNC’s Quidditch team, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
While Quidditch — the real world, grounded adaptation of the featured sport in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series — does appeal to “Harry Potter geeks,” Miceli said, it’s actually a full contact sport.
“There are people who love Harry Potter and people who love sports in general,” said Miceli, who is also a sports writer for The Daily Tar Heel.
“I’m one of those people who just loves sports.”
Miceli, who started playing the sport his freshman year, will be competing in the Quidditch World Cup in April 2013 with Quidditch Club Carolinas, a team composed of students from other North Carolina schools.
His team played together for the first time during the first weekend of November when they met to compete in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship.
In an unexpected feat, the team qualified along with seven other teams from the region for the Quidditch World Cup, which will be held in Kissimmee, Fla.
“Being on a team that qualified means a lot for the state of Quidditch in North Carolina and how it’s growing,” Miceli said.
Although the UNC team was not eligible to compete in the qualifying tournament this year, players said they have high hopes for future competitions, including their match against N.C. State University this weekend.
Ed Bartels, a junior on the team, said UNC’s Quidditch team is becoming a lot more serious than it’s been in past years — more organized and, now, an official student organization.
“The immediate conception would be a bunch of nerdy people, which is not really what you get from our practice — we’re actually pretty athletic.”
“We do it for fun, but we also want to establish ourselves as a legitimate sport.”
While the team has been recognized as an official student organization at UNC, it has yet to become a club sport.
Jason Halsey, director of club sports, said groups have to be an official student organization for at least a year before appealing for club sport status to the UNC Sport Clubs Executive Board.
Alex Drose, president of the UNC Quidditch club, said the team gets along very well.
“A lot of us know each other from outside of Quidditch, or we have become better friends through the sport,” she said.
“We have a lot of team spirit.”
The Quidditch craze extends beyond the University — into the Duke-UNC rivalry.
“About half of our team is Harry Potter obsessed — they can remember every detail,” Zhang said.
“The other half of the team, which I’m ashamed to say includes myself, really enjoy it for the sport and the people”
Miceli said the UNC Quidditch team is so tight knit that it resembles a family.
“We’re the Quidditch kids — and we wouldn’t trade that for the world,” he said.
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