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Quidditch: Not Just for Witches and Wizards

November 02, 2011 1:00 PM
Ah, Quidditch. The old pastime of the sporting wizard or witch. Only recently has this magical sport come to our attention through J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Athletes take flight on their broomsticks, trying to launch the Quaffle (the main ball in gameplay) into their team's goal, dodging Bludgers, enchanted balls designed to attack players. Meanwhile, one sharp individual from each team, the Seeker, tries to catch the tiny, gold Snitch, another enchanted ball, earning their team 150 points and ending the game.

Unfortunately, since we live in a non-magical world with no flying broomsticks or magical balls, we have had to resort to Muggle Quidditch. Quidditch was first adapted for muggles, i.e. non-magical folk, in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont, and began intercollegiate competition in 2007. Since then, over 100 teams from around the world have joined the International Quidditch Association, a league founded by those initial Middlebury players. Colleges from all over the world come together to compete, from our own Yale, Harvard and Occidental to University of Vaasa in Finland.

Muggle Quidditch differs from ordinary Quidditch in one very, very key way: no magic. Obviously. So players have had to improvise. Instead of flying on brooms, players simply attempt to keep brooms propped between their legs, and instead of the enchanted golden snitch, a runner puts a tennis ball in a sock, tucks it in his waistband and evades the Seekers while the Chasers, the offensive line in Quidditch, try to score goals with the much-less-magical Quaffle. Bludgers are dodgeballs thrown by Beaters, who, in the magical world, normally just try to direct the bludgers to the opposing team. Keepers are perhaps the most similar to their role in regular Quidditch: goalies.

Want to see some of this action for yourself? The ultimate Muggle Quidditch event is coming up fast: the Quidditch World Cup. 100 high school and college teams from 22 states and four countries will come together at Randall Island in New York City to determine who is the Quidditch World Cup Champion. Middlebury, so far, is proving themselves to be what the Yankees were to baseball for a while, having won every single World Cup since the first one in 2007, but the club is probably due for a new champion.

It all goes down November 12 and 13, and in addition to 450 games of pseudo-magical sporting fun, it also includes live commentary from fellow BPT family members the PIT; Harry Potter-themed cuisine like butterbeer (and real beer), turkey legs and Bernie Bott's Every Flavor Beans; over a dozen bands, including Harry Potter themed band Wizard Rock; vendors selling wizardly gear and more. Get tickets for either Saturday, Sunday or both days right over here.

Posted by Sarah

Photo: Quidditch by John Morgan on Flickr.

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