Keith Keusch is a keeper/chaser for the Eastern Michigan University Flying Squirrels and originally hails from Laingsburg, Mich which is about half an hour north of Lansing.
Keith’s goals when he first began playing for the team were to become a more physical player and be more out spoken on the field.
“As the keeper you need to be vocal, and when I first started I was kind of quiet,” Keusch said.
As a fairly new sport, the Quidditch sport gets its roots from the famous book series Harry Potter and has grown into a nationally played game.
Keusch explained that the snitch in the original game played within the book and movie series is a small animated golden ball; the position has been filled on the field by an actual person whose primary goal is not to be caught.
In the position of chaser, Keusch’s secondary role on the team, his objective is to simply block any shots heading toward the keeper.
“Snitches have pulled out Nerf guns, anything you can think of,” Keusch said. “They are allowed to do anything on the field. Snitches are very entertaining.”
His primary position of keeper entails keeping the ball from getting through the series of hoop goals in order to prevent the other team from scoring.
At 6’1”, Keusch has his height as an advantage when playing in this position. One of Keusch’s accomplishments came during his first season with the team.
“One of my first major blocks in a tournament, I actually put my hand straight through a hoop to block a shot against Michigan,” Keusch said.
The sport of Quidditch also comes with its own set of challenges, as Keusch recalled one particular tournament game last season.
“In a game against Michigan State last season it was really cold and the ground was frozen,” Keusch said. “Basically turning it into a sheet of ice so players where slipping as if we were playing on an ice rink and it hurt hitting it.”
Keusch also has aspirations for the team during this year’s season, which is already in full swing.
As he explained, there are 26 teams that compete in the tournament events and 15 spots for the regional event. The Flying Squirrels are one of the teams considered a tournament team, or officially registered with the International Quidditch Association.
“My main goal for the team this year is to qualify for the world cup,” Keusch said.
The team has put in a lot of hard work so far this year both on the field during games and during practice in the hopes of making one of the world cup qualifying positions.
“We’ve been working our tails off,” Keusch said. “With all the effort we have all been putting in I want to see it all pay off.”
During practices, Keusch also acts as a team leader in addition to his role has keeper.
With multiple ways to win or lose a game of Quidditch, the amount of dedication it requires during practice to be a world cup qualifying team drives Keusch and other teammates to push the limits on the field.
Qualifications for the world cup are based on a point-score comparison between the “official” teams.
In his academics, Keusch is a junior studying geography with a minor in Sociology.
He has a passion for geography and has aspirations of working in a field that allows him to use this degree for something he enjoys doing. He also has big plans for his degree after graduation.
“I plan on graduating with a good G.P.A. and then trying to get an internship with National Geographic,” Keusch said.
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