Quidditch World Cup 2011
They’ve traveled from around the world to compete – an opportunity that comes only once a year. One hundred schools, universities and high schools alike, gather at this mythical Mecca for the die-hard Harry Potter fan – The Quidditch World Cup.
It’s a real sport, with thousands of fans, dedicated players and a world cup to round it all off. With its fifth year in rotation, the attendance and quality of the cup has only increased with time.
For those who haven’t heard of the wizarding world’s most popular sport, Quidditch is played on flying broomsticks and with four balls. In the “Harry Potter” books, each team has seven players: three Chasers, one Keeper, two Beaters and one Seeker.
The Quidditch World Cup was created by Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe of Middlebury College in 2005. According to the college’s website, the sport was re-imagined from J.K. Rowling’s fictional sport. The Quidditch World Cup has since spawned a rule book, a governing body and live streaming webcasts. The first world cup was also hosted at the college in 2007, between Middlebury and Vassar College.
But don’t let its origins of the idea fool you – it just as hard-hitting as any other major sport out there. According to the International Quidditch Association, “Its players move with the grace and ferocity of top athletes; the best of them look like lacrosse players and hit like linebackers.”
And they’re right – Quidditch is a combination of football and dodgeball, heavily influenced by rugby, with very few rules. It’s not a game for the faint of heart. There is no padding and anything goes, except tripping and tackling from behind, which leads to some extremely aggressive play.
This year from Nov. 12–13, the event was hosted on Randall’s Island, New York, situated right off the coast of Manhattan. Many came by water taxi or bus to attend, dressed in either their team colors or in some type- of representation of a Hogwart’s House (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw).
Spectators were privy to two days of matches, food, entertainment, merchandise and atmosphere. The ever-impending buzz of competition and excitement rose with every moment drawing closer to the time of finals.
Some teams came prepared with a cheering section. One in particular, the New York Badassilisks, played every match with cheerleaders and a mascot, which was in full-body snake suit with a tail attached, that only hissed and growled when spoken to.
In the end, through all the blood, sweat and Basilisk’s fangs, Middlebury College – the originators of the sport – squared off against the University of Florida. Middlebury won at the last minute by catching of the snitch.
From an outsider point-of-view, the sport of Quidditch is just a part of J.K. Rowling’s over-active imagination – where people run around on brooms and attempt to catch a golden ball no bigger than a walnut.
But for those who have dedicated their time, energy, and heart, Quidditch is just as real and demanding as any other sport of group. With a faithful, ever-growing fanbase, Quidditch will soon be on the rise.
Chelsea Catlett can be reached at email@example.com.