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Muggle Quidditch Takes Off by Gabriella Yannotti

Hoops, broomsticks, and a winged golden ball; any Potter fan will recognize these as crucial elements of Quidditch, a sport conceptualized by J.K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter book series. Though this magical pastime was meant for witches and wizards, muggles* seem to have taken a liking to it as well.

According to, Muggle Quidditch was created at Middlebury College in Vermont back in 2005. Out of sheer boredom, student Xander Manshel worked out rules and regulations based on the Quidditch games described in the Harry Potter series, then recruited friends and dorm-mates to partake in what would officially become Muggle Quidditch. Immediately, the game was a hit; Middlebury began receiving dozens of e-mails from students interested in creating their own Quidditch team.

Since then, the International Quidditch Association (IQA) has formed, which, according to, is “a magical nonprofit [organization] dedicated to promoting the sport of Quidditch and inspiring young people to lead physically active and socially engaged lives.”

There are about 600 Quidditch teams worldwide, the majority of which are located in the United States, which has 436 teams total. However, teams can be found in countries such as Ireland, Argentina, Russia, Brazil, and even New Zealand.

Unlike the Quidditch games described in Harry Potter books one through six, muggle Quidditch is not played violently, or with flying balls, nor are the players airborne. However, the creators of this sport have managed to include many familiar aspects of the game. For example, each Quidditch team consists of Chasers, Beaters, Seekers, and Keepers.

Before the game, hoops are hung at either end of the Quidditch field. The Chaser’s goal is to throw the Quaffle (ball) through one of the hoops. The Beaters throw Bludgers (light, foam balls) at the Chasers in order to tag them out of the game before they can score. The Keeper defends the goal, and the Seeker tries to catch the ever-elusive Snitch. Additionally, all players must keep a broom between their legs, and one hand on said broom, at all times.

However, unlike the games of Quidditch described by J.K Rowling, Muggle Quidditch does not use a winged, golden ball as a Snitch; instead, they use a teammate. The player designated to be the Snitch generally dresses all in yellow. He or she runs in and out of the Quidditch field, and can disrupt the game, or even sit among the spectators. The Snitch carries a small ball in his of her back pocket, which the Seeker must capture to end the game.

This year’s Quidditch World Cup was held in New York on the Harlem River event site. About 100 teams competed for the 2011 World Cup. However, it was Middlebury College who clenched  it after a close finals game with the University of Florida. Though only one team was victorious in the end, the World Cup was enjoyed by many.

When asked what she likes best about the magical sport, Quidditch player Ashton Curry of Ringling College of Art and Design said, “The family, the community. I love Quidditch, I love Harry Potter… It’s not just an activity, it’s an actual sport, whether you like Harry Potter or not.”

Live entertainment was provided, and special appearances were made by notable Potter lovers, such as Joe Moses, a member of the theater production company Starkid. Moses has played the role of Severus Snape in two of Starkid’s musicals, A Very Potter Musical and A Very Potter Sequel.

“My most favorite part of the Quidditch World Cup was seeing Joe Moses!” said senior Janet Chen, “I love him and I want to be in his space! He is so funny.”

With success like this, it’s safe to say that, because of the many Harry Potter fans around the world, the game of Quidditch has truly taken off, though, unfortunately for muggles, only figuratively.

*muggle: A term coined by J.K Rowling, meaning a non-magical person.

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