This past week, I have been talking a lot about a new sport I've started playing. It involves the contact and tackling of football, speed and footwork of soccer, small unit cohesion and tactics of basketball, and the field layout of lacrosse. If this sounds like an awesome super sport to you, than you would love Muggle Quidditch. The IQA is the governing body (think FIFA/FIBA) of worldwide Muggle Quidditch operations and has set forth rules and regulations as well as ranking structures and World Cups in order to legitimize the new sport in the public eye. They fund raise, have an ezine called Monthly Seer and even pay for a spot during NFL Halftime shows! See it here
One of the biggest drawbacks to the game is where it originated from: the Harry Potter novels. Most people in the world would tell you it's actually not a bad thing to come from them because Harry Potter was awesome, but still the books do not seem to garner much respect in the athletic world. Many people don't take it seriously and think it isn't real, or that it is not a sport. However, I've spoken to people who laughed it off and then played it once and they all have limped away with a different opinions. It is seriously fun while physically challenging. You may feel a little ridiculous holding a broom between your legs but you quickly forget once the action begins. There is major contact-full on tackling is allowed and when the ref isn't looking I've seen quite a few clotheslines and yoke tackles. Screens are set and charges are taken, yet there is no foul or stoppage of play when you get floored by a charging Chaser. You have three separate goals that you can score in from all angles, and I've personally just bulldogged my way through Beaters and Keepers to score. It's so physical and demanding and so fun, that I'm surprised some of my Marine friends are as quick to disparage the game. I can think of so many times we could have played it for PT, however the broomsticks would've been left behind.
Muggle Quidditch has set positions. The Seeker is a player that chases the Golden Snitch (an object worth 150 points and when caught, ends the game). They can run all over campus trying to catch it and climbing up trees and over obstacles; not for the out of shape, surely. This is the position that Harry Potter played in the books/movies. The Chaser is the main goal scorer and the most outright physically tough position. Their job is to take the Quaffle (usually a slightly deflated volleyball) and try and throw it through one of the three goals. There is a lot of running back and forth here, so they're comparable to a midfielder in soccer/lacrosse with elements of a striker or attackmen. Stopping them, we have the Beaters. They live up to their menacing name by defending the goals, tackling and body checking Chasers and throwing Bludgers at opposing players to get them out of play (think dodge ball). Finally, we have Keepers who are the goal keepers and also part time Chasers.
Quidditch may not become a professional sport, and it may be just for fun during your college years but still, the game is just as physical and fun as any other major sport. It's a great way to stay in shape, have a ton of fun, be geeky and not be judged and just work out some aggression on beating up people. Another great thing is that it's an integrated game so men and women play and hit each other side by side. It is as intense as it is fun and hilarious to watch and let me tell you, it sure beats the hell out of Ultimate Frisbee.