Harry Potter’s Quidditch Comes to Colleges
You’ve probably seen at least one of the Harry Potter movies, or read one of the books. So you know all about the game of Quidditch. And you probably thought, that’s a nice sport for pretend , but won’t work in real life. Think again…
“It’s a lot more intense than I thought it was going to be. The first practice I was like yeah we’re a bunch of Harry Potter nerds, we’re going to have fun and pretend to play Quidditch but I was winded within the first three minutes,” said Andy Alba, a freshman on the Quidditch team at O.S.U.
About 15 students play on the team. The University of Oklahoma has a team too, as do many of the state’s colleges and universities.
Quidditch is a haphazard mix between soccer, tag, and basketball. Played on a field, Muggles simultaneously aim balls at competitors and chuck them through hoops. Catching the ever elusive snitch, who usually runs off at the start of the match, ends the contest.
Back to Andy. She’s not your typical athlete. When I talked to her at practice, she was wearing fashionably ripped jeans, and a knit beanie hat. Yet there she was, part of the action.
“Oh they’re very competitive,” said Andy. “And actually, I’ve become competitive because of it. Injuries occur, often.”
Muggles, as we are all known outside the Harry Potter world, don’t fly around on brooms, though many wish they could. Instead, they’re forced to keep the wooden stick between their legs, clumsily running around while clinging onto it with one hand at all times.
“That was really awkward at first. And if you’re just walking around, it still kinda feels really awkward. But once you’re actually playing the game, and you’re running and you’re focusing on so many other things, you can barely even tell that you have a broom,” said Ashley Cloud, president of O.S.U.’s Quidditch Club.
Don’t make the same mistake that I did. This is no joke. Texas A and M draws hundreds of players for their Quidditch teams, some of them legitimate superstars. OSU isn’t there yet, but wants to be.
“All of the teams have at least a few athletes,” said Cloud. “Yeah, there’s definitely athletes on the teams that you wouldn’t expect to be there.”
Austin Ratcliff is another freshman on the team. He’s seen the carnage first hand.
“We played our first game a week or two ago and there was a guy who got his nose all bloodied up and everything, it’s rough. It’s fun though.”
The violence doesn’t mean you can’t get all existential on the field.
“My first game, it was kind of a flashback moment, where the two seekers flew off the Quidditch pitch and oversaw the entire game. Me and the Kansas University seeker at the time just ran up a really big hill and we turn around and we watch the game for a few seconds and I was like ‘Damn this is really Harry Potter, this is exactly what they did in the books and the movies,’” said Mark Woolard III, captain of the team.
Quidditch in the real world hits just about all the check marks, except for one.
“By the third practice I was like they haven’t taught us how to fly yet, so that was a little disappointing, but it’s just as fun on the ground.”
It takes imagination to play real Quidditch, but the scrapes, bruises, and injuries are all very real in this Muggle world.