A Closer Look At The Quidditch World Cup

by Jim Napier

If you live in New York or LA you are likely used to seeing some pretty crazy stuff. Well, this past weekend the Quidditch World Cup took place in NYC, and with it came hordes of players, Harry Potter fans and team supporters.  

A total of forty-six teams, mostly college with a handful of high schools and club teams mixed in, converged on Dewitt Clinton Park  from all over the country in hopes of victory and some validation for their sport.  

I use the word sport loosely.  The game, technically called Muggle Quidditch, is basically a variation on dodgeball, basketball and rugby.  Players run up and down the field with brooms between their legs and throw the quaffle (a kickball)  at one another and through a goal. You are constantly being bombarded with players from the opposing team trying to tackle you, much like in Rugby.  This may sound extremely silly to those not indoctrinated into the realm of Harry Potter, but there is definite athleticism involved.

It looks pretty physical having to run around with a stick between your legs while avoiding having it touch the ground or else face a fifteen second penalty (the same time it would take for a wizard to fall to the ground.) 

Just like any good tournament,  Quidditch World Cup has an opening ceremony and parade. Before play begins everyone screams "Quidditch!"at the top of their lungs and then the pummeling ensues. Injuries are the norm and within an hour of the start of play several players have been taken off of the field because of injuries.  For instance, during one of the matches there were two players that collided so hard one of them split her head open from her head hitting the other players mouth.  

Off the field there is over priced food and merchandise being sold by vendors.  One of the vendors is The International Quidditch Association, and by the end of the event they will have sold nearly 1,700 official World Cup T-shirts for $20 each. (Twenty percent of the proceeds are donated to Book Aid International.) There are also some pretty interesting vendors on hand.  One included a table selling Harry Potter Fan Trips.  The tour company specializes in Potter themed excursions, and offers a Quidditch trip to the U.K. for $899.  There is even a retailer selling merchandise inspired from the film that includes Quidditch brooms ranging from $60 to $75 and wands for $20 to $40.

The World Cup lasts for two days with a full day of matches on Saturday and then 24 teams advancing to the championship on Sunday, which attracted thousands of fans, including Michael Emerson, who played Benjamin Linus on Lost.

That final match was played between the second seed and defending champs Middlebury and Tufts, who pulled a major upset to beat the No. 1 seed Pitt   The match started off close at first, but Middlebury is returning champ for a reason and was able to maintain their title again. Middlebury not only maintains their championship, they also receive a trophy and  fourteen new brooms from Alivans, not to mention the support of hundreds of strangers. 

This sounds like it would be a lot of fun!  I know that I would never be able to compete in Muggle Quidditch, but I would not mind being a spectator.  


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