The fictional game of Quidditch from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has come to life in the “muggle world” as students re-create the game on college campuses.
The International Quidditch Association has adapted the wizard-flying-on-broomsticks game to fit the human life style. Players run around with a broomstick between their legs, while trying to either score a goal or knock opponent players out of the game. Offensive players run around on their broomsticks and try to throw the quaffle, or deflated volleyball, into three basketball-hooplike spheres. The defensive players, or “beaters” in Harry Potter lingo, throw partially-deflated dodge balls to knock the offensive players out of the game for a few moments.
Muggle Quidditch began in 2005 as an intramural league and expanded to more than 400 colleges and 300 high schools, including Florida schools like, the University of Central Florida, Florida International University, Florida State University, Cardinal Gibbons High School and Western High School.
Mitch Firestone, advisor for Western High School’s Harry Potter club and Quidditch team, said the sport is not for a couch potato because it involves aspects of soccer, rugby and dodge-ball ― making it an athletic sport. It also benefits students who have a unique interest.
“It allows those students to participate in something,” said Firestone. “Harry Potter has made lifelong readers out of these kids and having a Quidditch team is an opportunity for them to get involved with something they read about. Now that IQA has put together a rulebook that makes muggles play the game, it opens doors for people.”
NSU does not have a Quidditch team, but if students wanted one it would be as easy as saying “Wingardium Levioso,” a spell that levitates objects. Sean Pepin, assistant director of student activities, said students have to fill out the required paperwork, have at least six interested students, have an advisor, fill out a packet, and return it in to the Office of Student Activities.
Mike Prociuk, assistant director for intramural sports, said the club’s membership would depend on how many Harry Potter fans are on campus.
“If there aren’t many fans, then people won’t be into it. If there are a lot of fans, those would be the people you want to recruit,” he said.
Marissa Ramio, senior biology major, said “I think it’s weird because you’re supposed to be flying. You can’t be on the ground doing that. They just need to keep it in the movies. It’s a made up game.”
Graduate counseling student Alexander Cheezam, said, “I find the idea of people running around with a broomstick between their legs humorous.”
Muggle Quidditch is also part tag. In the books, two players, or seekers, from each team try to catch the “golden snitch,” which is a small, gold-colored ball with wings. The seekers fly around and when one player catches it, their team is awarded 150 points and the game ends. IQA has adapted the flying gold-colored ball to be a person, dressed in yellow or gold who runs around. The seekers try to grab the tennis ball that hangs from a sock on the Snitch’s body, earning the points and concluding the game.
Steven Thomas, freshman biology major, said, “It seems like one of the Harry Potter crazes of the moment that will catch fire. I think it’s a joke because it’s based off fiction. They’re walking around with broomsticks.”