Quidditch no longer just for wizards
Move over football, basketball and hockey. There’s a new sport coming to town that is sweeping participants off their feet.
Quidditch – the fictional sport invented by J.K. Rowling for the Harry Potter books – has a Muggle (non-magical person) version. It’s becoming a bona fide sport that’s celebrating its 5th anniversary this year.
Muggle Quidditch began in 2005 as an intramural league at Middlebury College in Vermont. Two years later, the Middlebury enthusiasts founded the Intercollegiate Quidditch Association and held the first match of the official league on Nov. 11 of that year.
Since its inception, the IQA has helped 400 colleges and 300 high schools form teams, over half of which are currently active in one of the seven leagues across the United States. While the bulk of Muggle Quidditch is in the U.S., there are teams in Canada, the U.K., Australia, and even India.
In 2010, the IQA changed its name to International Quidditch Association to include more teams. These teams will be gathering at Dewitt Clinton Park in New York City in mere days to compete in the 4th IQA Quidditch World Cup.
There are currently 66 teams registered to compete on Nov. 13 and 14 in New York, including McGill, Ryerson, Carleton, and even Princeton. For the past three tournaments, Middlebury has taken home the first place trophy.
The game obviously had to be adapted so that humans could actually play it. Essentially, all the positions are the same and have the same jobs, but everyone must always have a broom between their legs. The goal posts are typically hula hoops attached to piping.
The biggest difference between Harry Potter Quidditch and Muggle Quidditch – besides the magic, of course – is the golden snitch. The snitch in Muggle Quidditch is a person, typically dressed in all gold or yellow with a ball in sock tucked into their shorts. The seekers must steal this sock in order to have caught the snitch.
Caelin Robinson, a fourth-year English major, is a self-professed Potter nut and Muggle Quidditch aficionado.
“It’s huge,” she said, “It started out as kind of a gag, but now it’s really taken off.”
Robinson has been, as she put it, “hassling people for the past two years” to get Quidditch to come to the University of Regina campus. She hopes that this year will be the year she will finally get a Quidditch tournament.
“There isn’t much Quidditch at all in Canada and I really want to get something off the ground here.”
Robinson originally envisioned the games taking place on the academic green, but the recent onset of winter has put a damper on that and the tournament planning has moved into the gym.
The possibility of making teams pay an entry fee has been toyed with. Robinson would like to charge a fee and then donate that fee to a local charity, but she doesn’t want that to affect the participation level.
As it stands in the planning stages, every participating team will come up with their own name, full team, and costumes.
To those outside the Harry Potter world, this may seem like a giant nerdfest. However, Quidditch is a legitimate sport to those involved. It combines a game of dodgeball with basketball and even tag.
Chuck Joyce, a first-year science major, believes that Muggle Quidditch has no place in the real world.
“Potter fans have taken this too far. You can’t live in a fantasy world. Fictional sports don’t work in the real world. If they did, we could play Blernsball or Brockian Ultra-Cricket.”
In 2008, Reid Robinson from the McGill Quidditch Team told Vermont’s WCAX news that he hopes Quidditch will become an Olympic sport one day.
“The 2012 Olympics are in London,” he said. “It makes sense to have Quidditch at the birthplace.”