Passion for Potter
By Erin Cox
Alexis Moody grips the broom handle. A drip of sweat rolls down her forehead before she catches it with the back of her hand. She looks down the field at her six teammates as they all begin to mount their brooms. She listens as the commentator begins to count from 10.
Her breathing quickens.
She feels a rush of excitement.
Off she goes, broom in hand, running down the field.
Moody is playing the game she loves – quidditch.
Moody is not just another “Harry Potter” fan. She has made “Harry Potter” a part of her everyday life.
Moody’s fandom didn’t stop with reading the books, watching the movies and discussing the differences between the two like many “Harry Potter” fans. Now that Moody is at Bowling Green State University, she has turned her fandom into a way to make friends by starting a “Harry Potter” club and a quidditch team.
“I wanted to be able to meet other ‘Harry Potter’ fans and create a place for people who in high school may have been ostracized for it,” Moody says.
Quidditch is the game played by witches and wizards in the “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling. The books, which were also made into movies, broke records in sales with the final book selling 8.3 million copies in 24 hours making it the fastest selling book in history, according to Scholastic.com.
Quidditch has transitioned from the beloved sport of the magical world to a beloved sport of Potter fans across the non-magical world, or muggle world as the series refers to it.
Moody made that transition for fans at BGSU and is helping others in the state make quidditch teams of their own too.
Moody started the BG Marauders, a “Harry Potter” fan club, in September 2010, and the quidditch team developed at the same time.
The BG Marauders meet once a week to discuss different topics, play games and watch videos relating to “Harry Potter.”
The BG Quidditch team plays quidditch. A team consists of seven players who hold broomsticks while they try to score points through one of the three goals. They usually practice twice a week and play against other college quidditch teams in Ohio and the surrounding states throughout the year.
Moody says she knows 40 people on campus just because of their shared love of “Harry Potter.”
Along with all this, Moody works on campus with classroom technology services. She also plans to graduate with a major in theater specializing in design technology in December 2012, so she has to leave her “Harry Potter” club and quidditch team in the hands of others.
“It’s been a struggle getting things situated and going well, but I feel confident that when I graduate, it will continue and do well,” Moody says.
Heath Diehl, the faculty adviser for the BG Marauders, credits Moody’s passion as instrumental for making the club and quidditch team possible.
“Her passion is rare,” Diehl, an instructor in the honors program where he teaches a class about “Harry Potter,” says. “She’s a bit fanatical, which is a good thing. She knows the series really well, inside and out, particularly in regards to quidditch.”
Moody loves the game and plans to keep playing as long as possible, but injuries happen on the quidditch pitch far too often, and Moody has suffered a few herself. It’s a rough contact sport.
“You don’t have to like ‘Harry Potter’ to love this game,” Moody says. “I want to keep it in my life as long as I can.”
Moody didn’t jump on the “Harry Potter” broom right away.
“I started hearing about it from all my friends in elementary school. I hated it. I didn’t want to conform,” Moody says.
Moody’s aunt, Barb Loehr, however, bought her the third book as a gift.
“Someone had loaned me the books on CD and I thought when I listened to them that Alexis might like it,” Loehr says. “We had always exchanged passions of books and games back and forth, and she was the right age for ‘Harry Potter.’”
Moody’s boredom led her to pick up the book in the summer of 2001 when she was 11.
Moody says she instantly became a fan. She had started reading the books near the time the movies came out, so all the hype thrust her into fandom and she wanted to learn all she could.
Moody’s dad, Darryl Moody, says her love for “Harry Potter” was obvious as soon as she picked up the books.
“Her passion and knowledge is far superior to any other ‘Harry Potter’ fan I know. It’s almost like she lives a ‘Harry Potter’ lifestyle and she truly understands and lives it,” Darryl Moody says.
Moody says when she read the books she felt she could really connect with the main characters Harry Potter and Hermione Granger. Their stories were relatable for Moody because she is biracial and comes from a divorced family.
Moody felt different, and Hermione and Harry were different than other students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
“I thought, ‘This is my life,’” Moody says.
Moody has used her love for “Harry Potter” to connect and build relationships with many of her friends.
Amanda Godfrey met Moody at her first quidditch practice last year and is now co-captain of the team.
“You could definitely tell Alexis was passionate about it. The way she talked about it, she had a twinkle in her eye,” Godfrey says.
Moody went with Godfrey to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando, a theme park that embodies the magical world of the books by having all the famous establishments of the series for people to explore. Some of the popular places the park includes are Ollivanders, the wand shop; The Three Broomsticks, the home of Butterbeer and Hogwarts the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Moody had already been to the park when it first opened. That summer she was working at Disney’s Epcot through the BGSU Disney College Program, and although she was scheduled to work, Moody went to the opening day of The Wizarding World anyway. She stood in line for six hours starting at 5 a.m. to get into the park that day. She visited The Wizarding World a couple more times during that summer.
“Each time I went, it was still exciting, and I was still entranced by it,” Moody says.
The “Harry Potter” franchise has millions of fans around the world who live, breathe and dream about “Harry Potter,” and Moody’s passion for Potter has put her in contention with some of the biggest Potter fans around the world – literally.
According to the International Quidditch Association’s website, nearly 300 Quidditch teams exist worldwide, and all can participate in the Quidditch World Cup.
As captain of the BGSU quidditch team, Moody led her team onto the pitch to compete against teams from all across the United States and Canada at the World Cup in November 2011 in New York.
Moody also holds the position as the Ohio state representative of the International Quidditch Association, which means if anyone in the state wants to make a team, he or she should contact her.
“I’m actively looking for teams, and I’d say I’ve been pretty successful,” Moody says. “Since I’ve been working in this position, Ohio went from having four teams to 14 in a year.”
Moody was also recently chosen for the organizing team of the Quidditch World Cup. The organizing team has 12 positions and she is the Team Communications Director, which means she will work with all the teams planning to come to the World Cup.
Even though the book series has ended and the final movie has been released, Moody knows her passion for Potter will not stop anytime soon.
Moody says some states have an adult “Harry Potter” fan club and she hopes to find a similar one in whichever state she lives in. Moody plans to work as a lighting designer for a theater in Chicago when she graduates.
She also thinks one day she might be able to apply her major to her passion for Potter.
“Maybe I’ll be the designer for a Harry Potter musical. Who knows?” Moody says.
Moody does know her love for “Harry Potter” will not end.
“The reason I am so passionate and involved with ‘Harry Potter’ is because I need it,” Moody says. “I need the people, I need the love and maybe the attention a little too. I literally can’t imagine my life without ‘Harry Potter.’”