Quidditch: A Seriously Muggle Sport
Did you know that non-magical humans are playing Quidditch? Not only that, but it is an increasingly popular sport in colleges across America, not just Hogwarts, and there are leagues around the world!
"What? That wacky soccer-on-broomsticks game from Harry Potter?" is most people's initial reaction. "So, you're just running around with twigs for wands and painted-on lightning bolts?" You're probably surprised to find out, then, that there's more to Quidditch than meets the eye - and that you don't need to know anything about Harry Potter to play.
Since you've most likely read the books and/or watched the movies, we can keep the game description brief. Muggle quidditch is much like you'd imagine it to be: there are still Beaters, Chasers, and Seekers all trying to score points by tossing balls through hoops, just like in the series. Since the power of broom-flight escapes us, players instead hold a broomstick between their legs for the entire game. The quaffle is replaced by a volleyball, bludgers are dodgeballs, and the snitch is simply a tennis ball in a sock attached to a team member's waistband.
Sure sounds silly, right? So did most sports starting out. To see its seriousness, I invite you to watch some highlight reels:
So no, no greasepaint scars and wizard props. Like soccer, players are constantly in motion and have to think tactically at all times. Getting tackled, tripped and pushed is merely part of the game. University teams often train with other sports on campus, such as soccer or rugby.
Quiddich as a legitimate, playable game has seen staggering - much of it in the face of eye-rolls and jokes - since it was mapped out for Muggle play in 2005. Starting from an inventive pair of bookish students from Middlebury College in Vermont, the sport began catching on, from collegiate teams to community leagues and, eventually, to national clubs.
Today, the International Quidditch Association (IQA) is a truly global institution, representing thousands of players across six continents hosting their annual IQA World Cup. This year's tourney in Frankfurt, Germany hosts 25 countries' teams as they compete over two days (July 23rd and 24th). And it's not just English-dominated countries in the games, either: Pakistan, Uganda, South Korea, Peru and more are taking their 21-member teams on the road for the big event.
The beauty of the sport - no quotations necessary at this point - is that it builds a community that isn't divided by age, gender, or knowing anything about the Potterverse. The IQA's secondary mission in promoting the game is "to improve gender education across all sports and communities, promote equality and diversity, and foster a love of reading across all ages". Take that, NCAA.
Featured image courtesy of Movie Pilot