It’s that time of the year to pick up a broomstick, golf club or running sneakers. Here in Athens, there are a plethora of outdoor activities one could join on campus.
The landscape of Athens lends itself to a variety of outdoor activities, from hiking to biking to even just walking around campus. Several clubs on campus have taken advantage of the Athens atmosphere.
The game of Quidditch was based off the widely successful Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. Although the first book was released in ‘97, the sport wasn’t founded until 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont. Ohio University created its own Quidditch team several years ago, joining in on the magic.
“I describe it usually as rugby, dodgeball and then it could be a third thing, that could be a lot of things, like football or basketball,” Maddie Kelly, a junior studying screenwriting and the president of the OU Quidditch Club, said. “There’s a lot of elements of different sports, but definitely I’d say rugby and dodgeball are the big ones.”
A typical game of Quidditch consists of chasers, keepers, beaters, a seeker and two different types of balls, a quaffle, which the team uses a volleyball for, and bludgers, which are dodgeballs. There is also the snitch, which, if caught by the seeker, wins the game automatically. The chasers use the quaffle to score in the three hoops of the opposing team, while the keeper of the opposing team attempts to defend the hoops. Simultaneously, the beaters use the bludger balls to hit other players and tag them out temporarily.
“When the game first started they used actual broomsticks, but they quickly found out that was inefficient and kind of dangerous,” Kelly said. “So now PVC pipes are used, which are much safer.”
Once the game hits the 17-minute mark, the snitch, a person in gold shorts with a tennis ball velcroed to the back of their shorts, comes out onto the field. The seeker’s job is to catch the snitch, worth 30 points.
The Quidditch club travels to tournaments frequently and will be hosting a tournament at OU Oct. 5. Teams from Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia will attend.
The OU Quidditch team also made it to National U.S. Quidditch Cup last year, which was held in Texas. If the team qualifies for Nationals again this year, it will be held in West Virginia.
“It is a really welcoming environment and we also have a lot of cool opportunities to meet other schools, go cool places and just have a lot of fun as a team,” Kelly said.
Another outdoor activity opportunity on campus is OU Club Golf. The club golf team is ranked as one of the top 100 teams in the country. A typical tournament consists of an early bus ride Saturday morning to the location of the tournament, where they play for two days. Typically after the day’s done, the team stays with a teammate’s family for the night.
“(Some of the best memories are) going to these tournaments and staying, everyone stays in the one house,” Jacob Kennedy, a junior studying sports management and the president of the golf club, said, “We watch football games together, we’ll hang out together, usually the family will cook up a big dinner and stuff like that. Those are probably the best memories for us.”
The season started two weeks ago, and Kennedy encourages anyone to try something new.
“It’s a good opportunity, you don’t have to be an expert golfer or anything,” Kennedy said. “I think it is really important, especially for club sports, yes it is about the competition, but it is also about people that want to be a part of something.”
The OU Trail Running Club was founded in 2008 to allow students to get active and exercise as a group. They participate in many local 5K’s and races around the area.
“[I joined] because I miss cross country from my highschool and it gives me a sense of community,” Renee Schlueter, a freshman studying chemistry pre-pharmacy, said
The OU trail running club runs to many places around Athens, including the Ora Anderson Trail and The Ridges Trails.
“It’s really nice because you get to see parts of the campus that you normally wouldn’t see and a lot of people in it are super nice and friendly,” Schlueter said.