Feeling a bit blue now that the FIFA World Cup is over? Here is something that may cheer you up - The 2010 Quidditch World Cup ! And it's not a figment of J.K. Rowling's imagination either, but a real live competition, played by teams from some of America's and the world's most prestigious Universities.
While noticeably lacking the 'magical' touches of wizarding Quidditch (such as broomsticks that actually fly and Bludgers that ricochet around the pitch on their own accord) the Muggle version is as exciting, combining elements of soccer, basketball, flag football, cross country running, dodge ball and even gymnastics.
Each team comprises of up to 20 players, of which only 7 (3 Chasers, 2 Beaters, I Keeper and I Seeker) are on the field at any given time. Even though Muggles cannot fly, brooms have to be tucked in between the legs at all times - Any play without one in position, is rendered void.
A slightly deflated volleyball serves as the Quaffle while red dodge balls serve as Bludgers. As for the Snitch - represented by a tennis ball it is stuffed inside a long soccer sock that is attached like a tail to the back of a student wearing various shades of yellow and gold. The Snitch carrier spends most of the game in hiding and when pursued by the Seeker, is allowed to run off the playing field as long as he/she remains within predetermined boundaries. As in wizarding Quidditch, if the Seeker succeeds in pulling off the tail, and grabbing the 'snitch', it is game over!
Started in 2005 as a recreational league at Vermont's Middlebury College, Muggle Quidditch has spread like wildfire across both American and International colleges, as well as, high school campuses. Today, 400 Universities and 300 high schools spread over 45 states, either have active Quidditch teams or, are in the process of setting them up. Muggle Quidditch has also spread to India, New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico and a host of other countries around the world.
The single-day, fourth annual Quidditch World Cup is scheduled to take place some time this fall. With running commentary from Middlebury's comedy Improv group, crazy gravity defying stunts and surprise visits from Death Eaters and Dementors, it is guaranteed to be a fun combination of a sporting event, a Harry Potter fan festival and a Renaissance Faire.
If this article has got you itching to hop onto your Nimbus 2000's, Cleansweep Sevens or Firebolts, and play some good old fashioned Quidditch, be sure to check out www.internationalquidditch.org and see if there is a team in your neighborhood or better still, find out how to start one in your school.
sources: internationalquidditch.org, wikipedia.org