Thursday, April 2, 2009

Running with Brooms- College Quidditch comes of age.

Today one of my colleagues assisted a student in writing a paper about our school's proud tradition- Intercollegiate Quidditch. We have a fine team and participate in the World Cup. As soon as the student left we rushed to investigate . I learned that the sport, which has been moderately adapted from the Harry Potter version ( due to technical difficulties with flying brooms and recruitement of golden snitches) has blossomed into a sort of dodgeball/soccer/running mad in a cape with a broom between your legs and trying to snatch a couple of tennis balls in a sock out of the back of the "snitches" shorts- mayhem. I could not find any live video on line, just some compelling photographs of the recently developed official brooms, which look a bit like rifle handles with black toothbrush bristles at the end. I was able to determine that Quidditch is coed, muddy, and played mostly at fancy schools like Princeton and Amherst.
I have many questions, many of them unanswerable until next fall's Quidditch season, when I plan to attend as many live games as possible. But one thing that immeadiately came up was the way in which Quidditch is fast becoming an American sport. The logo is the outline of a broom riding athlete against a red, white, and blue shape that brings to mind the major league baseball insignia. Does Quidditch have the same presence in the United Kingdom? Alas, it seems not. There is a web site designed to "Find Quidditch Partners in the UK". The best thing about it is the survey questions. Rate your level of interest in the sport from "obsessed", "enjoy it" "gotta be in the mood" and "not that good". Skill level? Choose among "Waiting to Bloom" and "I suck" among some other more optimistic possibilities. A gentleman named Lee, 39, from London, also interested in Yoga and FourSquare, is the only person we managed to match up with.
I look forward to the day when Quidditch makes strides into secondary education, and a gifted snitch can obtain the golden scholarship to Princeton to play in glory. I also hope to see Quidditch, perhaps with some what more forgiving rules about full body tackling, introduced to younger children, so that they may find the chance to mix a favorite book series, a cape, and a little rough outdoor play in a new American hybrid- fantasy sports that take place with real players. Magic, clearly phallic brooms, mud, reading appreciation, costumes, and athletic prowess; If this sport doesn't have something for everyone then I can't think of anything that does.


  1. With great appreciation to JG for making my day by telling me about Intercollegiate Quidditch. I hope to be able to later provide a link to his coverage of this important topic which will certainly have better graphics and grammar.

  2. Oh, it's coming soon.

    I think you have a future with Lee. Think, when you're bored with Quidditch, you can go fishing!