By Phil Brown, Reporter
In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Pottercanon, the Quidditch World Cup is an event of truly magical proportions. Rowling describes the wizard sport’s stadium as an absolutely massive structure, holding 100 thousand attendees and taking the most powerful wizards in the world an entire year to build.
Quidditch in real life attracts a surprising amount of support in its own right, though perhaps it’s not so surprising given the almost universal cultural impact of Rowling’s books.
The latest iteration of the WorldCup — a bit of a misnomer, containing only US teams — will see 80 teams from around the country and 1800 players compete for the prize. The fledgling Global Games mirrors Rowling’s World Cup, with teams from around the world competing for the championship.
The game of Quidditch as described by Rowling is sport on a lavish scale with point totals reaching for the high hundreds. Flying players attacking each other brutally with sticks, iron spheres and mischievous spells. Quidditch is both a celebration and a parody of sports.
While the 1994 Quidditch World Cup recorded in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire may have ended in terror and destruction with a Death Eater army crashing the party, the muggles of the modern day have adapted Rowling’s make-believe into a decidedly real-life pastime.
Drawing its most obvious inspirations from soccer/football, a fellow British invention, Quidditch is a game that mixes sporting skill and whimsy. While it may be most similar to soccer, traces of everything from basketball to hide-and-seek can be found in it.
The muggle adaption includes the weird mechanic of a person dressed in head-to-toe yellow, who must be chased and tackled by players to get points. And since muggles can’t fly, their broomsticks have to beheld between the legs at all times.
In a way, Quidditch is sports at its purest. While the whimsical nature may appeal to nerds first and foremost, the fact that it can’t be taken seriously really takes away many problems of modern popular sports.
Quidditch players aren’t playing for money or exposure; they are playing to play. The fact that muggle Quidditch is ridiculous means that it will never suffer from the ridiculous pretension surrounding mainstream sports.
College students chasing men in yellow bodysuits will never be hero-worshipped, exploited for money by committees of old white menor sell clothing with their bodies.
Quidditch is also built from the ground up for equality. Rowling’s witches and wizards competed together in Quidditch as equals, and the muggle equivalent of the sport is just as dedicated to those ideals.The US Quidditch website lists striving “to be a leader in gender inclusivity for all age groups” as one of it’s main objectives, and it’s truly a frontrunner in that regard.
The Gateway has covered Quidditch before: a few times as an April Fool’s joke, but also in 2011 as a team was founded as an official sports club of the university by then-sophomore Rachel Dunham. This was one of the reasons I picked the school (which is not completely a joke), and it’s too bad that it seems to be dead now.
In an age where the spirit of sports is tarnished by greed and scandal, and a world in which the the vast majority of sports are still effectively or officially gender-segregated, perhaps a new sport written and organized specifically to include everyone, and to celebrate sports without pretension, is exactly what our school — and the world —needs.