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Pleasantville HS Gives Fictional Quidditch Life

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Students at Pleasantville High School have taken a fictional sport made popular by wizards and witches and turned it into a reality.

The sport is Quidditch, and for seniors Tom Gilroy and Billy Monahan, it was an athletic way to get more involved at the school.

“It is sort of like revenge of the nerds in a way,” Gilroy said, who, along with Monahan, created the Quidditch Team at Pleasantville.

Quidditch is the broom-wielding sport played in the hugely popular J.K Rowling Harry Potter novels. A real-life version of the fantasy world sport was developed at Middlebury College in 2005 and has since become popular among many colleges and high schools across the country.  The sport is played between two teams with various balls at once and Gilroy describes it as a mixture between rugby, dodgeball and tag.

The two students came up with the idea to start a team at Pleasantville High at the end of last school year and began to organize the club this September.

Monahan said the most difficult part was getting enough students together to play.

“It was difficult just getting everybody together after school and getting a block of people to play a full game,” Monahan said.

However, the team now features around 25 students made up of boys and girls.  The group met regularly throughout the fall and became a recognized after-school group with the supervision of science teacher Maryelisa Blundell, who said she never heard of the sport before Gilroy and Monahan approached her.

“They said they needed an advisor and I didn’t know what Quidditch was but I knew that they were outstanding kids and whatever they wanted I was willing to help,” Blundell said.

Despite being recognized by the school, the club is entirely funded by the students, who purchased jerseys and equipment out of their own pockets.  Recently, the group took the time and money to travel to Randall’s Island in New York to participate in the Quidditch World Cup, where they placed second in the high school division.  It was the first time that the Pleasantville club played a match against other schools.

Other Westchester schools, such as Briarcliff and Scarsdale high schools, also participated.  Gilroy and Monahan said they would like to play more often against the area schools, but may face some difficulty in scheduling.

“Some of the local schools have been sort of reluctant to play against of us because of how well we played in the tournament,” Gilroy said.  “Which I guess is a good problem to have.”

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