Players get serious about the sport by advertising their love for quidditch with permanent body art.
Quidditch players are no strangers to pain—we experience it regularly, and the best of us know how to process and work through that pain efficiently so that we can recover and get back to doing the thing we love best. The pain of getting a tattoo is a little different than the pain of a broken nose or a broom to the gut, but it is still pain. And the needling sting of being tattooed has struck more than a few devoted players as a decidedly admissible price to pay in order to walk away with a sweet visual keepsake advertising one’s love for the sport.
Michael Mcdermott – Winthrop Quidditch
Michael Mcdermott has been playing keeper for Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. for just over a year, and he is no stranger to tattoos. I first saw Mcdermott at the Carolina Quidditch Conference Presents: Mid-Atlantic Fantasy Tournament this summer in Boone, N.C., and the first thing I noticed about him was the colorful Sailor Moon tattoo on the inside of his lower left arm; I quickly learned he had others.
“Winthrop's logo for last season was an eagle with a snitch in its mouth, a broom in one talon and a bludger in the other. [My tattoo is that] logo, [but] slightly modified,” said Mcdermott, whose Winthrop-themed quidditch tattoo is littered with both personal meaning and relevance to his position. “It has the number zero on its chest since that’s [my number]. Also the bludger is replaced with a quaffle since, as a keeper, I do not touch the bludger.”
Mcdermott said that he got his quidditch tattoo as a way to permanently represent the quidditch community and his part in it so that “in thirty or forty years, [he] can always remember the time [he] spent playing quidditch.”
Michael Butera – Melbourne Manticores
Michael Butera, chaser and keeper for the Melbourne Manticores, played in the Oxford summer games in 2012. To commemorate the event, he went and got a tattoo three weeks after returning to Australia from London that depicts the Olympic Rings--made unique by the fact that the yellow ring is replaced by a Harry Potter-esque Golden Snitch.
“[There were] three other [M]anticores with me there who also got the tattoo,” said Butera when asked whether he was the only one who got a quidditch-related tattoo that day. “...[Six] of our team in total went to play for Australia…[The] tattoo was my idea; we had a players’ page, and one night I was drunk and suggested it in the page and everyone lost their mind saying [how good of an idea it was]. So I was like--well, I can’t [wuss] out now.”
Erin McCrady – UOttawa Quidditch
Beater Erin McCrady of the University of Ottawa got a Deathly Hallows tattoo, but did a remarkable job of incorporating quidditch into the design:
“I wanted something simple that represents both quidditch and Harry Potter but shows them as the separate things they are to me,” McCrady said. “The Deathly Hallows symbol is for Harry Potter, which was a huge part of my childhood and something that will always remind me of my family. The quidditch hoops are for a sport I love, my university experience, an incredible community and a team that is my family--people I could actually go on for hours about. Our little tribe has been through so much together and I couldn't love them more. The two things hold separate places in my heart, but they share common elements. This design is my way of illustrating that.”
McCrady considered getting a quidditch tattoo for about eight months before she actually went through with it, and she spent four careful months planning the final design before taking it to an artist.
Nycole Echeverria – Colorado State University
Nycole Echeverria, chaser for Boggarts Quidditch Club at Colorado State University, got her tattoo after breaking her leg in six places during play.
“[For] me, not only does it tell how I got the surgery scars, but it is a reminder of the wonderful people who were there for me during that time and who helped me get through it,” said Echeverria. “[When] I was in the ER from breaking my leg, my entire team showed up and waited with me, bringing along presents and distracting me by making me laugh and joking around. I have never felt like I belonged somewhere more than in that moment, and words will never be able to explain how much that means to me.”
Alexis Bristor – Arizona State University
Alexis Bristor, creator of ASU Quidditch, committed pretty fully when she went under the gun for her tattoo. The size of the snitch is daunting, stretching all the way across her left rib cage.
“It says ‘ASU’ in the center with the years 2009 and 2013 on it for the start and end of my time on the ASU team,” Bristor said. “[I got it] to represent how much time and effort I put into creating my team, my pride of being a Sun Devil and my love for quidditch.”
Bristor took the leap and got the tattoo in New York in 2011 right after World Cup V had ended and right before she went home.
Duston Mazzella – Arizona State University
Duston Mazzella, also of ASU, has a black bludger bat tattooed on the upper-inner part of his left arm. Mazzella said, “I got it right before WCV. It was the first time ASU was going, and since I was there when the team [was formed], it [felt like] a massive accomplishment. I was so proud of us. Quidditch had taken up such a large part of my life--I couldn't not get a tattoo.”
Like many others mentioned in this article, Mazzella’s decision to get a quidditch tattoo was borne of a desire to represent his dedication to the sport and the community that surrounds it.
“It represents the hard work I put into quidditch...and my desire to do well,” he said.
After World Cup III, several members of the Texas A&M 2009 team, including beater Aimee Howarth, went out as a group and got matching lightning bolt tattoos in celebration of completing their first World Cup. Two years later, 11 or so players from the 2013 Texas A&M team, including chaser/keeper Drew Wasikowski, repeated the experience. Now, Wasikowski has a lightning bolt reminiscent of Harry Potter’s tattooed along his right rib cage--and so do many of his teammates.
“It represents the hard work my team and I have put in this [past] season,” said Wasikowski, who is not only captain but entering his fifth and final year of quidditch at Texas A&M before graduation. “And it inspires me to keep pushing to go all the way this upcoming season. Expect to see maroon and white in the finals next April.”