McGill students bring Rowling's quidditch to life
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Tuesday, December 29, 2009 9:56PM EST
Straddling broomsticks while running across an expansive field, students at McGill University are bringing Harry Potter's favourite sport to campus.
Taking a page from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, the students have formed Canada's first university team for quidditch, a formerly fictional game that has been tweaked to accommodate non-magical people, or "muggles," as the author calls them in her books.
Combining elements of basketball, dodgeball and rugby, Rowling's quidditch involves two teams with seven players on each side. The objective of the game is for players to score as many points as possible by throwing balls through the opposing team's hoops.
As player James Di Paolo explains, the "ball is called a quaffle and the chasers (players) are using this ball to throw in one of the three hoops on each side of the field."
The main objective of the game is to seek out the "snitch" -- in the books, a small golden-coloured ball with wings. The "seeker" on either team tries to catch the snitch, worth 150 points, which ends the game in a victory for the successful seeker.
With no access to a flying ball, the snitch is a runner in the non-magical world.
Likely the most striking aspect of quidditch is that it is played while flying on a broomstick. For muggles without aerial capabilities, this requires some adjustments in the game.
McGill team members opt to hold onto the broomstick with one hand while placing it between their legs.
Many of McGill's quidditch players picked up their first Harry Potter book at eight or nine years old, reading about the protagonist's exploits alongside sidekicks Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley.
South of the border, American university students are equally inspired by the series. An annual quidditch competition, called the Intercollegiate World Cup, is hosted at Middlebury College in Vermont.
In October, 22 teams -- including McGill, as part of the northern division -- competed for the title of quidditch champion.
With the game's popularity growing each year, it is clear that quidditch brings a little magic to university life.
With a report by CTV Montreal's Genevieve Beauchemin