Brandon McLaughlin, senior film production major, is the Missouri representative of the International Quidditch Association (IQA). McLaughlin became the representative after Webster’s first representative, Nguyen Minh Duc, went to Florida to attend the University of Miami. The director of the Midwestern region contacted McLaughlin about taking over the spot.
Click below for a video of Webster’s Quidditch team practicing.
Video by Deja Randle
McLaughlin’s job duties consist of spreading the word about Quidditch to helping other schools start their own teams.
“All of the state representatives have Skype meetings at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays with Midwest Regional Director Luke Zak,” McLaughlin said. “We mainly talk about what is going on in our states. For example, Fontbonne is starting up a Quidditch team, so in this case, I would let Luke Zak know that Fontbonne is starting this team and I eventually send him a list of teams in Missouri. We’ve also been talking about what to name the new conferences, and other things happening in the Quidditch world.”
McLaughlin points out the hardest part about his position.
“It’s definitely been challenging to reach other teams in further parts of Missouri,” he said. “SLU (Saint Louis University) and Kirkwood High School have been starting up clubs so I’ve been helping them out and that’s been fun.
“It’s fun being a part of rule changes and trying to solve issues that pop up in the IQA, and the young Quidditch world. It’s cool to be the go-to guy in all of Missouri for the ever growing sport of Quidditch.”
Antonio Sanchez, vice president of the Webster Quidditch Club, helped start the club along with Duc last year. Sanchez said he never met Duc , but Duc contacted Sanchez about starting a Quidditch club because of Sanchez’s involvement on campus and his love of Harry Potter. Sanchez thought starting a Quidditch club at Webster would be a good idea.
“It definitely sounded like something that should be at Webster,” Sanchez said. “We have stuff like Humans vs. Zombies. You have to have Quidditch.”
Sanchez helps to referee the practice games since he can’t play because of an injury to his leg. He said on days he feels better, he will usually be the Keeper (the player guarding the hoops like a goalie) because there’s not a lot of running involved.
Victoria Cacciottoli, senior animation major, joined the Quidditch team last semester. She said it sounds funny when she tells people that she plays Quidditch.
“With one of my professors, I was saying something to a friend like, ‘Yeah when we were playing Quidditch…,’ and he looked at me like I was crazy,” Cacciottoli said. “He was like, ‘You know you can’t play that in real life.’ I was like, ‘You can if you believe.’”
The Ohio Cup tournament is coming up on April 14 at Ohio State University and Webster will be the only team representing Missouri.
“I’ve watched some Quidditch tournaments online and those guys are pretty intense,” Cacciottoli said. “I just hope we don’t get humiliated.”
McLaughlin said in order to get ready for the tournament, they have practices twice a week, sometimes more.
Sanchez said dedicated freshmen have given the team a lot of support. He hopes that Quidditch will still be alive once McLaughlin and Andrea Lopez, senior and treasurer of the club, leave.
“It’s good to see people coming in that will be able to keep this going after we all leave,” Sanchez said. “I think it’s a really good tradition and I think we’ve been helping build it up more and more.”