Yes, Quidditch Is A Real Sport, And It’s Intense
While we still await the arrival of our Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry acceptance letters, we can start practicing the wizards’ favorite sport in real life. Muggle quidditch (that of the non-wizarding folk) is played much like the original version from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, without the magic of course.
The Muggle version of the game is very similar… minus the flying.
The two teams, consisting of seven players each, run the field with a broomstick between their legs. Three chasers attempt to gain points by throwing the quaffle, played with a volleyball, through one of three hoops at either end of a sixty-yard field. Keepers are situated at each end, and attempt to block shots from the opposing team. Beaters attempt to disrupt the opposing team by throwing dodgeballs, which are referred to as bludgers.
The game ends when either team’s seeker catches the golden snitch, a tennis-ball tucked inside a sock that is tied to the shorts of a neutral player. The golden snitch runs around the field throughout the game, avoiding getting caught by players from either team; sometimes they’ll travel great lengths to keep the game in motion. And while each accurate quaffle shot is worth 10 points, catching the golden snitch is worth 30 points, and results in an automatic end to the game.
The ultimate team accomplishment is winning the championship of the Quidditch World Cup. Appalachian State University’s quidditch team, founded in 2009, has qualified for this opportunity twice.
Quidditch player and devout Harry Potter fan Abbi Pittman, 22, actually chose her college based on their quidditch team. Appalachian State University was one of the only schools in North Carolina playing quidditch at the time. Abbi quickly climbed the ranks from chaser to club leader, helping to register the club through the United States Quidditch Association, making it an official team.
Quidditch is actually making rounds within gender equality in sports. “I really like that it’s gender inclusive,” says Abbi. “The rulebook has what’s called Title 9 3/4, which means ‘A quidditch game requires each team to have a maximum of four players who identify as the same gender, excluding the seeker. The gender that a player identifies with is considered to be that player’s gender, which may or may not be the same as that person’s sex.’ I think this is super rad, and allows me to play alongside boys, which only makes me a better, stronger athlete, since quidditch is full contact.”
Quidditch is about community, good sportsmanship and fun. It’s a sport that’s working to bring together schools, nationalities, ethnicities and genders; all resulting in newly established friendships. The sport is played around the world in over twenty countries. Players range from Harry Potter fans to those that like a fun, challenging and physical game.
“There are so many people around the world who play, and I’ve met some incredible people from all walks of life who share one thing in common: quidditch. I’ve got friends in Canada, England, Scotland, Mexico, and even Uganda who play on teams there. People are always shocked by how widespread quidditch is – there’s a massive, competitive, supportive community out there crossing country lines to play this ridiculous fictional sport.”