Chasing a Dream

By Mike Piacentino

Chasing a Dream

By Mike Piacentino
UM senior Bernie Berges has been named to the U.S. Quidditch National Team, which will compete in Germany in July.

Bernie Berges, a senior studying business technology and political science, hasn’t read a single book from J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter series or even watched one of the critically-acclaimed movies.

But that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a leader in the Muggle Quidditch world both at the University of Miami and throughout the United States.

Berges is the third UM student to be selected to the U.S. Quidditch National Team and is this year’s only representative from U.S. Quidditch’s South Division, comprised of teams from Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina. Team USA is set to compete against teams from around the world at the International Quidditch Association’s World Cup to be held in Frankfurt, Germany in July.

Bernie BergesIt was his passion for competition that drove him to the game he describes as a “real sport” that combines the speed and agility of rugby with a gameplay similar to basketball that includes elements of dodgeball mixed into the action.

“I play Quidditch for the sport of the game,” Berges said. “Collegiate club Quidditch is the highest ranking division that exists for the sport; there is no professional league for Quidditch. I am on Team USA; this is it.”

Berges, who joined the team in his sophomore year, says he became hooked on the sport when given the chance to start in a match after sitting on the bench for his first three games. His interest grew in to an obsession, spending countless hours outside of team practices developing his own skills.

“I knew I couldn’t be the next Michael Jordan, but I could be good at Quidditch,” he adds with a grin.

“His hard work clearly paid off,” said Connie Nickel, UM’s assistant director of club sports and the club’s adviser. “Bernie does what needs to be done to make his team a success. This is a well-deserved reward for such an outstanding student leader.”

Reflecting on his time as a player, captain, and the team’s coach while at UM, Bernie admits, “We’re an awkwardly athletic family and kind of wacky.”

Adding, “Of course, we always try to compete and win, but at the end of the day, we know we’re running around the field with a broom between our legs.”

Learn more about the University of Miami Quidditch club by visiting umiamiquidditch.com.