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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Column: Magic lies in ‘nerdy’ clubs too

    During the first week of college, the UA Mall is an overwhelming line of tents, with clubs desperately trying to recruit new members. Most of these booths belong to well-respected sports teams and honorary, greek or academic associations; but then, there are the booths most students pass by without a second glance: the “nerdy” clubs.

    Card games, comic books and video games used to be common subjects for clubs in middle school. Even in high school, these groups weren’t abnormal to see, though they may have started to seem strange. By the time college rolled around, being part of a group that sits around watching anime, playing Yu-Gi-Oh! or running around on imaginary broomstick PVC pipes became childish.

    To create and maintain a club requires time, dedication and planning. Often times, people see these “nerdy” clubs as a waste because they think they would gain no skill, merit or school credit in return for their dedication. It would just be a random useless activity on their resume; in the end, their time would be worthless.

    But that’s exactly what these “nerdy” students work towards: for what they love to be worth something.

    In October 2005, the first game of quidditch was played at Middlebury College in Vermont. As of 2013, more than 100 university, high school, adult and youth teams had been organized nationwide, according to US Quidditch.

    The UA is on this list. As of this year, quidditch is an official Campus Recreation-affiliated sport with practices three days a week and tournaments held across the country.

    As a new player on this team, I was ecstatic about playing and had gone out of my way to get the right gear for the sport.

    While I bought my cleats, the clerks seemed confused and disappointed — at a loss as to how a fictional game had become such a nationwide phenomenon, even affecting their tiny store.

    The disapproval didn’t stop there.

    In the days after buying my shoes, I noticed myself purposely avoiding admitting what sport I played, but when I was cornered into spilling the beans, reactions were polarized. Either the person thought it was wonderful, or they laughed me off as a joke.

    Outsiders often assume that these organizations and clubs are small groups of people who haven’t gone far. That is where they’re wrong.

    In 1970, the first Comic-Con, or minicon, as it was called, was held. The event featured two guests, about 100 attendees and had been organized to raise money to support a bigger convention, according to the Comic-Con organization’s website.

    This small event was easily overlooked at the time, but what it turned into is an enormous wave of people dedicating weekends to their favorite show, game, comic and more.

    Today, according to the Comic-Con website, Comic-Con has an attendance rate of 130,000 and features thousands of guests, such as Robert Downey Jr., Daniel Radcliffe and Ginnifer Goodwin. Comic-Con has also led to the Alternative Press Expo, started in 1994, and WonderCon, created in 1987.

    The UA has about nine clubs that fall Into similar categories of abnormality, according to the ASUA Clubs and Organizations page, and instead of these students being looked at as idiotic, they should be commended.

    The UA Video Game Developers Club will not only satisfy a student’s passion for gaming, but it also helps students who plan to go into the video gaming industry with programming, career advice and all aspects of game design.

    The University of Arizona Harry Potter Alliance takes the four houses of Hogwarts and turns them into volunteer groups that focus on different activities. Gryffindor for equality, Ravenclaw for literacy and media reform, Hufflepuff for self-esteem and Slytherin for — no, not evil — the environment.

    These students have come together to create clubs and conventions dedicated to what they enjoy, just as any sports team, volunteer or passionate person would.

    People can continue to see these “nerds” as just that — oddballs who aren’t quite understood. But instead of only seeing the strange side of them, look also at what they’ve accomplished in the face of adversity for what they love. Brooms up.

    —Ashleigh Horowitz is a creative writing freshman. Follow her @elhixsagh

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