From College News - Fantasy sport of Harry Potter is heading into year five of its collegiate existence.
You read that title right. Quidditch, the broomstick riding sport of J.K. Rowling’s insanely popular Harry Potter novels is being played at universities around the world, including Princeton, U-Mass-Amherst and Vassar College.
Don’t believe me? Check out the website for the IQA, or Intercollegiate Quidditch Association.
Last year’s season was the fourth in total, and the second consecutive season which featured a World Cup finale. In 2005, Middlebury student Xander Manshel adapted the wizard’s sport into a ground-based game for us Muggles. (Don’t ask--I’ve already gleaned too much of my nerdiness.)
New York’s Middlebury College hosted a Quidditch cup for the first two years that was made up of several teams from the school. In 2007, the game took flight (figuratively) at other colleges in the area. Amherst, Columbia, Princeton, and Dartmouth were stops for Middlebury’s squad, with coverage by local television outlets as well as ESPN.
Thanks to the recently released sixth installment of the movie franchise, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sport is getting more well-deserved attention. A new article for the New York Daily News describes the sport’s gaining popularity, with over 200 colleges expressing their interest in the sport to the IQA.
In Quidditch, teams score points by throwing the Quaffle (ball) in one of the opponents’ three goals. Players can hold one of four positions in Quidditch. A keeper is essentially a goalie, guarding his goals from incoming opponents.
A team’s three Chasers handle the Quaffle and are responsible for scoring goals. Beaters, of which there are two, roam the field protecting their teammates from Bludgers, two spheres that traverse the area without prejudice, attempting to knock players off their brooms.
Bludgers are equipped with wooden clubs to redirect Bludgers away from their players and / or towards their opponents.
Finally, each team has one seeker. Seekers are nimble and quick with only one goal in mind: catch the Golden Snitch. The snitch is a tiny enchanted gold ball that zips three-dimensionally around the pitch, or playing field.
Catching a snitch nets that seeker’s team 150 points and is the only way to end a game. (Some Quidditch games in the books were told to have spanned months.)
Now, obviously all this magic has no place in the real world, but that doesn’t stop college Quidditch players from substitutions. Snitches are attached to the backs of runners in golden attire that race around the field.
Beaters now carry red dodge balls that represent the Bludgers, hurling them at opposing players. And of course, each player must perform all of these feats while holding a broom between his or her legs.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is out now in theaters across the nation.
By Joe Anello