Posted by: Staff | 04.07.2008

Muggle Quidditch

TAYLOR HAIGLER ’08

Quidditch is the new sport sweeping (pun intended) the nation, or rather a few small colleges on the east coast. With brooms between the legs, players dressed in capes play the ‘muggle’ version of the game from the world-famous Harry Potter Series. As music from the soundtracks of the Harry Potter movies blares from speakers, Middlebury’s improv troupe provides commentary on the games that ensue.

It all began at Middlebury College in Vermont, where students of the 2009 graduating class, Alex Benepe and Xander Manshel, fooled around by playing the wizarding sport with friends on campus fields back in the Fall of 2005. They have since gained a devoted following; more than 100 students have joined the Quidditch League at Middlebury and every Sunday in the Fall, students practice and compete. The newly-admitted students to Middlebury’s class of 2012 have already begun to chat about whether or not to join the team in their facebook group. One hundred and five other campuses have formed leagues of their own including Bucknell, Tulane, Oberlin, Whitman and Vassar.

Benepe and Manshel have compiled a 39-page rulebook where they have written the re- created the game for non-magical folk. The basic rules include:

  • 10-14 teammates run across field with broomsticks held between their thighs
  • The snitch is a tennis ball stuffed inside a long sock, tied to a cross-country runner’s shorts, the snitch can do whatever he pleases (handstands, tackle, etc.)
  • Seeker tries to capture the snitch to earn 50 points, and end the game
  • Three beaters throw ‘bludgers’ (red rubber balls) at opponents
  • Chasers throw a ‘quaffle’ (deflated volleyball) through gold hoops on opponents side
  • Keepers are in charge of blocking their hoops
  • Referees can give ‘yellow wands’ (warnings) if one were to, for example, grab a cape
  • The team with the highest score wins and the snitch must be caught for the game to end

“I see Quidditch as a work of art- it’s not rehearsed, it’s spontaneous,” Benepe said. “The players are like actors, the stadium is like a set, your have props, and equipment, lights, and sound.”

Students representing the Quidditch League at Middlebury College in Vermont traveled to seven colleges in the Northeast last week during their Spring Break to challenge other schools at Quidditch. They scrimmaged at Princeton University, Columbia University, and Amherst College, among others. Middlebury will host the World Cup next year and students hope that at least 10 schools will participate. Benepe hopes that J.K. Rowling, the author of the series who started it all, will attend.

“Knowing Middlebury had [Quidditch] was a childhood dream come true,” said Olen, a 19-year-old freshman environmental studies major from St. Helena, Calif. “For the most part people think it’s hilarious. Everyone I have told has been super interested and wanting to play. It really is an infectious disease. Once you hear about it, see it, and play – it’s all you want to do.”

Video
Boston.com Article
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Responses

  1. Exhilarating! If I went to Middlebury, I would totes join that team.

  2. Sweeping…I get it.


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