|The Transylvania Quidditch team played a crimson and white scrimmage in October.|
LEXINGTON, Ky.—Flying around on broomsticks and dodging self-propelled balls sounds like fiction, but at Transylvania University, students are transforming magic into reality with the game of quidditch. The wizard sport from the “Harry Potter” series of books by J.K. Rowling has become a phenomenon on college campuses across the country. ‘Muggle’ quidditch refers to the name for non-magical humans in “Harry Potter,” and is much like wizard quidditch, but played on the ground.
Kristin Grenier, a junior environmental studies major from Cynthiana, Ky., and the organizer of Transylvania Quidditch, says the game is “fast and furious.” “It’s a mixture of tag, rugby, dodge ball, basketball, soccer and hide-and-seek, with an added bit of theatrics,” she said.
Transylvania Quidditch has 100 members, 20 of whom are active players. “The other members play supportive roles,” said Grenier.
The rules of muggle quidditch, according to a 2007 USA Today article, are as follows:
- Brooms are required, leaving only one hand available, making the game harder as you chase the game ball, a slightly deflated volleyball or soccer ball.
- Each team has seven players.
- Three chasers throw the ball among them as they work down the field. If they get it through one of three circular goals (think hula hoops on poles), the team scores 10 points.
- At the same time, two other team members fling around dark balls called bludgers in an attempt to distract and knock over opposing players. When a player is hit with a bludger, he must drop any ball he is holding and run back to his goal zone before he can make any more plays.
- Seekers try to catch the most elusive ball, the Golden Snitch. In the Rowling books, the Snitch flies about independently. In real life, it hangs in a sock from the shorts of a player selected for fleetness of foot. The Snitch disappears for periods of time, reappearing on the field to shrieks of the crowd. The Snitch player has a much larger boundary than the others, often covering a large part of campus. Seekers can follow him. Once the Snitch is caught, the game ends.
The teams are co-ed, and “we have a good mix of students,” said Grenier. “We have varsity athletes, Greeks and independents. Team members have a variety of academic interests with a wide range of athleticism, and interest in Harry Potter ranges from diehard fans to students who have never read any of the books or seen one of the movies.”
Grenier said for now the organization is building community on campus and having fun, but she has high hopes that the team will be competitive. Organizers hope to schedule games with Miami of Ohio and Ball State in the spring and they want Transylvania to be a part of the Fourth Annual Quidditch World Cup to be held at Middlebury College in October 2010. Muggle quidditch originated at Middlebury in 2005.
“After all, in the Potter books, Transylvania won the first-ever Quidditch World Cup in 1473, defeating Flanders,” Grenier said. “We have to defend our title.”
NOTE: If you come, Sunday’s game will be played at 3 p.m. on the lawn behind Old Morrison. It is free and open to the public.