Quidditch comes to life

Quidditch is one of the fastest-growing sports today for muggles, or non-magical people, but wizards have been playing it for hundreds of years.

Born from the pages of the Harry Potter series of children’s books, schools like UC Berkeley, USC, and Stanford have embraced this sport and play nationwide against other schools.

The Chico State Harry Potter Club plays Quidditch right here on campus. Although they are not an officially registered team, they still take the game seriously.

The storybook version of Quidditch requires each of the seven players on each team  to fly around on a broom. Muggles, however, have to make do with their own two feet. In magical and non-magical Quidditch, the positions are the same, however: three chasers, two beaters, one keeper and one seeker.

Sarah Marks, a junior recreation therapy major, is the president of the Harry Potter Club. Chico’s team doesn’t use brooms like other schools, but the game they play is just as fun.

“Whenever people ask about the club, it is a super popular topic,” Marks said. “It’s a fun activity to get us active, and once you get out there it gets competitive.”

Points are scored when chasers throw a scarlet ball called a quaffle through three rings at opposite ends of the field. In magical Quidditch, beaters protect their team using two balls called bludgers that knock players off their brooms. The keeper is like a goalie, protecting the goal hoops from chasers. And the seeker is the most important player, who must fly around to capture a tiny golden winged ball called the golden snitch.

According to the International Quidditch Association, there are more than 900 teams in the United States alone. Eighty-seven of those teams are in California.

There are videos of Quidditch World Cup games on YouTube that showcase the intensity and competitiveness of the muggle version.

New members of the Harry Potter Club, like junior psychology major Elizabeth Park, got to play in their first Quidditch match of the semester.

“It was very intense and a lot faster than I was expecting,” Park said. “The best part was being able to live out something that I grew up reading and loving, minus the flying.”

Bringing something from a novel to real life does require changing certain aspects of the original game.  In the muggle version, the golden snitch is a speedy player running around wearing flags.  If the opposing snatches one of the flags, they get awarded more points.

Park hopes that in the future more people will get involved because it would make the game much better. Park also wants the teams to have brooms to play with, she said.

As die-hard fans of the Harry Potter series, Quidditch is more than a novel concept to the Chico State Harry Potter Club. And who knows? The sport could be the connection that brings the wizarding realm and muggle world together. Only time will tell.


Sergio Sanchez can be reached at [email protected] or @sergechez on Twitter.