Some things don’t always have to be limited to the pages of a fantastical book, especially with regard to stories like the Harry Potter series. Some read the books, some follow the movies, and others who are willing to push the boundaries just a little bit further, engage in a real-time game of Quidditch to keep the magic alive.
What started as a game of fun twelve years ago by a handful of university students in the United States has now evolved into a world-renowned sport, and Australia has more than caught on. ‘Quidditch Australia’, the national authority on the sport, will be hosting the annual Australian Quidditch Championship in Canberra at the weekend, and they encourage everyone to bring their family and friends to come watch.
The two-day tournament will see over 400 players and 25 teams from across the country vying for the top spot, making it the largest ever Australian Quidditch tournament to be played. The tournament adheres to strict guidelines and regulations outlined in a 200-page International Quidditch Association Official Rulebook and has evolved from just a game of fun to something more substantial.
“The game is fun but it is also inclusive, different, unique, and a physical sport,” said Nicholas Hirst, media director of Quidditch Australia. “The game is inspired by the Harry Potter universe but has been adapted so that it can actually be played”, he said.
The game follows the general style introduced by J.K. Rowling, sans the flying broomsticks and magical sporting equipment. Each team has three “Chasers” that handle ‘Quaffles’, fashioned by volleyballs; the “Beaters” that use dodgeballs bringing in the defense aspect of the game; the “Keepers”, the “Seekers” and last but certainly not least – the all-important “Snitch”, an individual who ties a tennis ball to his back with a sock and attempts to elude the Seekers whose purpose is to retrieve the ball, winning the game for his/her team.
Canberra will be hosting the national championship for the second time in a row this year, and Hirst believes there is an enthusiastic fan base in the ACT judging by the numbers that attended last year’s tournament.
James Mortensen, coach of the local team ‘the ANU Owls’ believes Quidditch has more to offer than most other sports, due to its inclusivity and gender-neutral nature.
“I wasn’t a big fan of Harry Potter or even team sports until I started playing Quidditch,” he says. “I used to play basketball and everyone in the team looked and talked the same, but with Quidditch, you get a lot more inclusivity. You can even play with your partner in the same or opposing teams,” he said, saying this culture is what makes the game unique.
Anyone with an interest in the sport is welcome to participate and try their hand. Simply visit the Quidditch Australia website and click on the ‘get involved’ tab.
This year’s Championships will take place at the Australian Institute of Sport at 8 am on 2 December and 5 pm on 3 December.