April 14th, 2013 by Vilabong
Quidditch World Cup VI tournament in Kissimmee, Fla.
KISSIMMEE The Saturday morning match between the University of Central Florida and Stanford University had revved up to fever pitch as competing players sprinted down the field and started pushing and shoving to gain possession of the ball.
A referee blew his whistle, calling a foul, and all 14 players on the field stopped immediately and dropped their broomsticks.
Yes, broomsticks. Because even if you aren’t a wizard like Harry Potter, you still have to play quidditch with a broomstick.
Quidditch, for Muggles or nonmagical folk unfamiliar with the Potter phenomenon, is the fast-flying, full-contact sport for witches and wizards that combines elements of soccer, rugby and dodgeball. Its most fanciful element is a golden snitch, a bright golf ball with wings whose capture signals the end of the game.
In 2005, students at Middlebury College in Vermont adapted the sport from the bestselling J.K. Rowling novels and developed a coed league, which became popular at other college campuses.
Today, there are more than 1,000 teams from 45 states and 33 countries. The 300 most active teams compete at tournaments run by the International Quidditch Association, the sponsor of this weekend’s sixth annual Quidditch World Cup in Kissimmee.
Some 1,600 athletes on 80 different teams have traveled from across the U.S., France, Canada and Mexico to compete at Austin Tindall Park during the two-day event.
“It’s become a lot more than just Harry Potter fans playing,” said Alex Benepe, CEO of the international league. “We definitely have Harry Potter fans who get into it, but there are some people who have never read the books or seen the movies, but love playing once they try it out.”
Allick Jorgensen, a 20-year-old public-relations major at UCF, said he converted several soccer, football and lacrosse players when UCF’s quidditch team formed six months ago.
The rest is here:
Quidditch World Cup draws teams and Harry Potter fans to Orlando area
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