I Believe I Can Fly: Harry Potter Style

Maybe it’s because it was Harry Potter Weekend on ABC Family recently or maybe it’s because I am going to Orlando, home of Harry Potter World, this week, but for some reason, I’ve got Quidditch on the mind.

I mean, think about it, this is a game that allows you to fly on a broomstick just like a witch, but without all the negative stipulations—scraggly hair, big nose, warts (looking at you Ms. Wicked Witch of the West). What’s not to love?

Essentially, I’ve has one and only one interaction with the UNC Quidditch team. As a senior in high school, I had the opportunity to visit Carolina. Quite honestly, the whole visit was a blur. UNC was my dream school, and I mean DREAM school, so I was star struck. I’m talking a bunch of girls getting to eat lunch next to Zac Efron, star struck. So when I say blur, I mean it. I remember little besides what I see in the pictures my mom made us take. But one image remains crystal clear—walking to my friend’s dorm room, stopping to watch people run around a field on broomsticks, and wondering simply one word: “why?”.

That’s it. Until deciding to write this post, that’s all I knew. Oh, and one time a kid in my class showed us a video of him playing Quidditch. But, quite honestly, I was too distracted by the fact that a bunch of twenty some year olds were running around on broomsticks to pay attention. So, make that two run-in’s with Quidditch in my three years at UNC.

But after a little research, I think I understand the basics. So here they are, CliffsNotes style.

They’re all muggles (non-wizards for you non-Harry Potter Fans)—so the closest they’ll get to flying is an impressive jump hang time.

Take flight out of the equation and Quidditch becomes a mix between dodge ball, rugby, and tag.

Seven players on each team, five “balls” (I use that term loosely because one of the balls is also a person…I’ll explain later), and one broom for each player that must be “ridden” for the entirety of the game.

So here’s the deal. The ultimate goal is for the “seeker” to catch the “snitch” which will end the game—this is where the tag element comes in. The other six players are basically in charge of scoring points or defending their goals.

Let’s deal with the defenders first. Not sure if that’s the right terminology, but I’m rolling with it. Ok, so there’s a “keeper”. That one’s pretty self explanatory—think goalie, except guarding hoops instead of goals. Now there are two “beaters” or defenders. Three “bludgers” are in play, think dodge balls or kick balls, which the beaters can throw at the other team to essentially stun them and get them off their turf. Bludgers, beeters, keepers…got it? Good.

Offense: “Chasers”. There are three of them. They score by throwing or kicking a volleyball (“quaffle”) into the hoop. There’s only one in play, but if you score you get ten points. Wow, that was a lot easier to explain.

Finally, there’s a “seeker”. Their job is to chase the “snitch”. Here’s where the whole lack of magic thing takes another toll on the Harry Potter wannabes. In the books and movies, the snitch flies around…like the players. So to imitate the chasing in the grounded version, a person runs around with a tennis balled stuffed in a sock tucked into his or her waistband and is essentially free to roam wherever they want. Seriously, he or she is allowed to leave the field and “play pranks on other players”. Personally, I’d just get in a car and drive away, but they might draw the line at automobile usage. Seeker catches snitch, game over.

I think that’s good enough.

So Quidditch is played internationally, and US is the reigning champ of the Global Games—figured England would have Quidditch in the bag…guess not.

In the US, there are different conferences. We’ll focus on the Carolina Quidditch Conference—the home of thirteen teams in North and South Carolina.

With all this Harry Potter talk I can’t help but compare some of the teams in the Carolina Conference to the houses at Hogwarts. This in no way is related to the standings of the teams. I just wanted to have a little fun.

Let’s start with the obvious. UNC is Gryffindor. I go to UNC; this shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. But, I’m just saying if Harry Potter were to pick a college, he’d be a Tar Heel born, a Tar Heel bred, and when he died (you know, to take out Voldemort), he’d be a Tar Heel dead.

NC State is Hufflepuff. No offense to the Wolfpack, but I’ve yet to see you truly prove yourself as a rival and are thus deemed inadequate in my eyes…much like Hufflepuff.

The University of South Carolina will represent Ravenclaw. Basically you’re the wannabe of the group. When people think USC, they think Southern Cal. Heck when you Google “USC” Southern Cal takes over the page. When people think Carolina, they think UNC. Google test proves true again; y’all don’t even show up on the page for “Carolina.” Basically, you’re just kind of there as a placeholder so other teams stand out more.

Slytherin, the evil one. With my choice for Griffindor, this should really be a no brainer—Duke. You’re annoying and unattractive, but have enough wins to give you some stature. You’re still annoying though.

This coed, club sport has proven to give me some entertainment for the night. In case you think I’m just joking around, this team really impresses me. They’re ranked 24th in the world

From the UNC Quidditch Website

UNC Quidditch players in action

. I don’t think I’ll be joining the Quidditch team, but next time I stumble upon a practice or game, I’ll stop and watch. Hey, any sport that allows me to bash Duke is ok in my eyes.

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