A chaser charges toward the goal post with a quaffle in hand, but the keeper deflects the shot with a quick maneuver of her broom. A beater sends a bludger soaring across the pitch, away from his teammates. And then the seeker sees the golden snitch and takes off to claim victory for her team. Not at Hogwarts, but right here in Provo.
Quidditch is a game of fantasy that some believe doesn’t exist outside the Harry Potter book series, but the game is a part of life for BYU’s Alexis Kaegi.
Kaegi, a junior from Jacksonville, Florida, is a captain of the Provo Quidditch team and began playing the Muggle (or non-magic) version of the game when she was in high school.
“My senior year of high school, I learned about it on the Internet,” Kaegi said. “I knew I had to learn to play it because it was competitive, yet whimsical.”
Kaegi and her team practiced a few times during the school year, but that wasn’t enough for Kaegi. During the summer of 2010 she was assigned to choose the theme for her LDS girls camp. Kaegi chose to make it a Harry Potter theme so she could play quidditch during the week; the game was a massive hit and leaders couldn’t get the girls to stop playing.
Kaegi later graduated high school and came to BYU. She quickly found there wasn’t a quidditch team. So she did what she had done in the past and started a new one.
The new team Kaegi started was mainly made up from people her freshman ward, but this wasn’t the end of Kaegi’s influence on the local quidditch scene in Provo. Because of certain rules at BYU, Kaegi couldn’t start a competitive team because of the full-contact aspect of the sport. So instead Kaegi helped start the first competitive quidditch team in Provo.
The team has generated significant attraction for only being a first-year team. Many of their competitors have told them they are one of the best first-year teams they have ever played.
Kaegi and her team have played in tournaments from Boise, Idaho to Flagstaff, Arizona, where they’ve competed against teams from all over the Western United States and Canada. But as fun as the competitive nature of the sport is, Kaegi and her teammates said the greatest part is being with the team.
“We have created a team that’s a family,” Kaegi said. “This summer it was an, ‘I don’t know what is going to happen.’ But from this summer to now, we have developed as a team into a family. This has just been an adventure.”
Wherever Kaegi goes, she finds a way to build people through the sport. Ranging from girls camp to college, Kaegi has sought to make a difference.
“The best thing about (Kaegi) is that, although she is dedicated and passionate about quidditch, she also wants to be our friends and frequently voices her love for us as a team,” BYU Quidditch Club President Mary Seamons said. “She is wonderful.”
Kaegi’s optimism is one of the key driving forces behind the team’s success.
“You can tell she cares deeply about each individual player,” Kaegi’s co-captain Tyler Hopkin said. “She wants to see them reach their full potential both on the pitch and off the pitch.”
For Kaegi, quidditch isn’t just about playing or competing. It is about making a difference and knowing she can make an impact wherever she goes.
“It has given me confidence,” Kaegi said. “You can do things. You don’t just have to dream about things but you can actually make them happen.”