Well, its Friday of a holiday weekend, so instead of writing my thoughts about something serious going on in sports (which to be honest not all that much happened this afternoon) I am going to jot down a few words about a fictional sport that made it onto the front page of the Boston Globe’s website this afternoon. That sport would be quidditch, of Harry Potter fame, and today it was announced that a student from Boston University and another from Emerson College are among the 21 players who have been selected to be a part of the United States’ first national team in the sport created by British author J.K. Rowling. The fact that people are playing a sport made popular by a series of novels (and then movies) is absolutely fascinating to me, so I would like to comment on the article that you can find here: http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/allston_brighton/2012/05/bu_emerson_students_among_thos.html?p1=Well_Local_Links.
Apparently the sport of quidditch has taken off since J.K. Rowling introduced the world to it in her widely popular series of books starring the one and only Harry Potter. Now, I’m not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to those books (or any books in general) and in all honesty I attempted to read the first book of the series twice without understanding a single word of it. But, I do love sports and competition, and my favorite parts of the movie series involved the actors hyping up and actually playing the sport of quidditch and competing against the other houses (or dorms/fraternities to the Americans). And today I found out that that the United States will actually have a national team in the sport, which in my opinion is pretty cool.
Even though I am far from a fan of the Harry Potter series, I do respect it. I’m not much of a reader to begin with, and the length of those novels was a turn-off to me, but I do like the movies. They aren’t my favorite of all-time, but they are entertaining and worth the hours spent watching. For some, the books and the movies are a way of life, and to tell the truth I’m not sure that fact totally hit me until today when I found out that there are organized competitions to participate in the sport of quidditch on a worldwide level. Sure, I’ve seen people play the game at the Florida State University intramural fields, but even then I thought they were just blowing off steam. I never in my wildest dreams thought that the game would be popular enough to have a global tournament. Maybe that was my ignorance to the series or to the mixed reactions that the quidditch video game produced by EA Sports received, but I never thought a fictional sport would take off like this one has. More power to the activists of the sport, and the fact that there will be an international tournament held near London shortly before this summer’s Olympic Games speaks volumes about the fans of the Harry Potter series.
At least two other teams (United Kingdom and Australia) are expected at the “Olympic Expo Games” in Oxford, England, this summer and it is one of the first international tournaments in the game of quidditch. It’s possible that a team from France and other countries may also join the competition. Unfortunately, the real life version of quidditch does not include any flying or magic as seen in the movies, instead competitors run with brooms between their legs to simulate the “Nimbus 2000” or “Firebolt” that Harry Potter owned in the movies.
Quidditch may be one of the “nerdiest” games around, but I am all for people getting out and exercising while participating in something that brings them joy. I will probably never understand the game, or the appeal of playing real-life quidditch (I couldn’t take the people running around with brooms between their legs serious), but I won’t hate on the fun that fans of the Harry Potter series have in their own lives. I may laugh at how ridiculous these participants look, but I truly do respect their passion and it is pretty cool that a fictional extremely rough but very popular non-contact sport evolved from the pages of a novel to athletic fields all over the world.