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Quidditch World Cup IV This Weekend

11 November 2010 by

J.K. Rowling’s famous young adult fantasy series Harry Potter not only sparked imaginations of millions, turned a whole generation into readers, and revitalized book promotion for the publishing industry but it also created an ENTIRELY NEW COLLEGE SPORT.


Those of you who have read the Harry Potter books or seen the films are familiar with the wizards’ sport of Quidditch which J.K. Rowling invented for her fantasy world. Players ride broomsticks through the air and try to pass a ball, called a “Quaffle” through the three hoops on their opponent’s side of the field/pitch. The hoops are guarded by a goalie and two defenders, called “Beaters”, who use cricket bat like clubs to direct homicidally enchanted attack balls called “Bludger” at opposing players. The game goes on until one of two players called “seekers” finds and catches a fist-sized little golden ball with wings called the “Snitch”. (How big a geek am I? I typed all that from memory.)

Now, all of us read about this wild, crazy pretend sport of the wizarding world in the Harry Potter novels and thought, “Wouldn’t that be so cool to really play?” But some people at Middlebury College in Vermont took the next logical step and asked, “How could you really play it?”

And so, in 2005, Alexander Manshel adapted the rules from J.K. Rowling’s books, called it “Muggle Quidditch”/”Ground Quidditch” and became the first real life Quidditch Commissioner.

*sounds of enthused applause*

In 2006, Alex Benepe took over as the Middlebury Commissioner and, in 2007, Alex founded the Intercollegiate Quidditch Association after the first intercollegiate Quidditch match between Middlebury College and Vassar College. In 2010 they changed their name to the International Quidditch Association and became a registered nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping kids active.

And the rest, as the ubiquitous “they” are apt to proclaim, is history. (very recent history, but still.)

The November 13-14, 2010 event in New York marks the fourth year of the Quidditch World Cup with competing teams coming from schools across America, with a handful from Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. There are even teams from Columbia, India, Korea, and Argentina.

How cool is THAT?

How Do You Play Quidditch On The Ground?

As you may have noticed, there is a distinct lack of flying-broomstick-technology these days. This sad lack in modern tech means real-world Quidditch must be played on the ground. Don’t think this means there are no broomsticks, though. OH NO. Half the fun seems to come from the fact that players of Ground Quidditch must play the game while holding an actual broomstick between their legs as they run around. And there are league rules as to broom length and construction. Really.

There’s even an official broom supplier for the league.

You can read all the IQA rules and regulations for free on their website, or buy a PDF with the rules plus additional guidebook for $3.

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