Despite the fact that the seven book series ended over two years ago and the latest film took a 60 percent tumble at the box office last weekend, it looks like Harry Potter’s grip on the muggle world may not be over yet. Quidditch, yes quidditch, is sweeping the nation’s colleges (broom pun intended) with over 200 schools interested in the sport, and 150 — from Princeton to LSU — already participating in the International Quidditch Association.
We know what you’re thinking. Doesn’t quidditch kind of involve a lot of, you know, magic? Well back in 2005, Middlebury students Alex Benepe and Xander Manshel decided to adapt the wizarding sport from J.K. Rowling’s books for what they call “Muggle Quidditch.” Note: There are well over 60 Facebook groups dedicated to Muggle Quidditch and its various school factions, including one called Stop Quidditch! with 99 members dedicated to hating the sport.
You start out with seven players (although you need nine to compete in the World Cup — two must be female) who have to learn to catch and throw the quaffle (a deflated volleyball) with one hand, since the other is busy holding a broomstick. Players throw the quaffle through three elevated hoops on opposing ends of the field, which are guarded by the keeper. The beaters throw bludgers (deflated dodgeballs) at the players to try and prevent scoring, and if you’re hit, you have to run to your end of the field, circle the hoops and run back to simulate the time lost when falling off of a broom.
But what about the seeker, you say? Mr. Potter’s position is a bit different in the muggle version, because instead of a tiny flying ball, the snitch happens to be a gold-clad player who runs around with a tennis ball inside of a sock tucked into their waistband. Once the seeker manages to retrieve said ball — worth only 50 points in the non-magical version — the whole affair is over.
Though the founders recently graduated, the International Quidditch Association will continue on with the 2009 season scheduled to start soon. It may not be too late for us post-graduate Potter fans either, as Benepe recently told Paste Magazine, “I’m going to talk to Warner Brothers to see what can be done in the future. I’d like to see it become a legit national organization that could draw in revenue.”
For a more detailed description of the sport and info on how to start league, you can request a rule book from the IQA here.