Quidditch in a Muggle World

25 03 2008

I am a pretty big Harry Potter fan. I love going to see the movies when they come out, and I have all of the books. I stayed up all night the evening that Deathly Hallows was released because I wanted to know how it ended. JK Rowling’s world of Hogwarts and the wizarding community is imaginative, creative, and so detailed that her writing gives you the opportunity to get lost in Harry Potter’s world. Anyway, couldn’t help but get excited when I stumbled across this article from The Daily Princetonian, Princeton University’s daily paper. Apparently, a group of Middlebury students decided back in the Fall of 2005 that they wanted to bring the famous wizarding sport Quidditch to the “muggle” (or non-magic, for those of you that haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books) world. So, they formed their own Quidditch team. If you haven’t read Harry Potter, I’ll briefly explain Quidditch. It is a sport played on broomsticks while flying through the air. There are 7 players on each team: a keeper, 2 beaters, 3 chasers, and a seeker. There are four balls in Quidditch: The Quaffle, which is about the size of a volleyball that the chasers attempt to throw through one of three hoops stationed at either end of the “pitch.” The hoops are guarded by the keeper. There are two bludgers in Quidditch. Bludgers are two bowling ball sized demon balls that zoom around the pitch with a mind of their own. The beaters keep track of these two with the help of bats (that look like cricket bats). The final ball in Quidditch is called the golden snitch. It is a small ball about the size of a plum with wings that flies around very fast. It is the seeker’s job (Harry Potter’s position) to find and catch the snitch, which ends the game. So, you can see that several of these things might cause some problems for the students seeking to play Quidditch. Well, Middlebury attempted to tweak the game so they could play while keeping as close to the original as possible. For example, the players are required to play with a broomstick between their legs at all times. That sounds…challenging. The snitch it not a ball at all, but instead a person dressed in yellow who runs crazily around the basketball court-sized patch of grass. He (or she) has a black sock dangling from his yellow costume, and is effectively “caught” when the sock has been captured. Somewhat like flag football.
Anyway, as I said, this article was published today in Princeton’s Daily paper because Middlebury has taken Quidditch on the road. In an attempt to spread their version of the wizard sport to other universities, Middlebury has been traveling to other schools and scheduling games. They’ve played Bard, Penn, and now Princeton, and have scheduled games against Columbia and Vassar. Apparently, ESPN, CBS News, and MTVU all made an appearance at the Middlebury vs. Princeton Quidditch match. Can we expect to see more schools forming their own Quidditch teams? I for one think this is hilarious. If my school had a Quidditch team…well, I probably wouldn’t play, but I would definitely go watch. Here is a clip I found on YouTube from a Middlebury Quidditch Tournament:

Life is good. When I stumble upon stories like this, they leave me smiling the rest of the day.
Oh, did everyone hear that they have decided to make the final installment of the Harry Potter movies/books, Deathly Hallows into two movies? Hooray, the fun will last just a little longer!

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