By Denise De Sousa and Rena Thomas
Fans of muggle quidditch, a game born out of the Harry Potter book series and now played at many U.S. college campuses, will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the sport this October. The game was first played at Middlebury College, Vermont, in 2005.
“It’s not as super intense as football, especially because the best athletes have only been playing for a couple of years,” Max Curran, the co-captain of the Stony Brook University quidditch team, said. “Anybody that wants to play can play.”
Harry Potter fandom is not a requirement to participate in the game.“I actually have never seen the last movie and haven’t read the last two books,” Curran admitted.
Dubbed as an “underground community that is ready to explode,” by Donte Quinine, the executive director of the U.S Quidditch team, quidditch- which started out as a non for profit organization in 2010- has since increased the foundation’s annual budget from $68,000 to more than $400,000. According to the U.S quidditch team website, the organization now hires part and full time employees, organizes events and tournaments and publishes rule books.
National tournaments and events such as the upcoming ‘Northeast Regional Championship’ have helped in boosting the sport’s revenue.
Adam Cohen, a research assistant at Texas A&M University labeled quidditch a niche market in his study, “The Intersection of Pop Culture and Non-traditional Sports:An Examination of the Niche Market of Quidditch.”
“Five factors led towards a desire to partake in quidditch and become involved and identified with the sport,” Cohen said in his research. “Identification with Harry Potter, camaraderie and friendship, desire to have fun, desire to try something new, and desire to get in shape.”
Developing into one of the “fastest growing intramural sports in U.S. colleges” according to Jackson Bird, the communications director of the Harry Potter Alliance, quidditch still maintains its original magical roots.
“Though U.S. Quidditch and the International Quidditch Association take the sport, the well-being of their players, and their reputation very seriously, they’re careful to remain true to their roots,” Bird said. “The competitions also attract plenty of cosplayers and wizarding-themed vendors – such as Alivan’s, the official broom-maker of U.S. Quidditch, or Snitchwiches, the official unofficial sandwich of U.S. Quidditch.”
U.S. Quidditch aims to expose younger generations to the sport to keep it thriving. Programs such as “Kidditch,” have been implemented by U.S. Quidditch during tournaments and organized events in order for quidditch players to better connect with and teach children the game.
“When kids start playing when they’re really young, by the time they get to college, they will make that good transition,” Quinine said.