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Harry Potter fans get cup full of Quidditch

Chelsea Castle / Managing editor for content

With the release of the final “Harry Potter” movie on Blu-Ray and DVD Friday, many fans of the series will be wanting to drink in as much Harry Potter as possible. Luckily, there’s a whole cupful waiting for them: The Quidditch World Cup.

Ohio State’s 43rd-ranked quidditch team played in the fifth annual Quidditch World Cup in New York City this weekend, competing against teams from the U.S. and Canada.

Quidditch is originally a fictional sport played in the “Harry Potter” series, but was adapted in 2007 to be played by people in real life. Since then, the sport’s association with the books has diminished, at least to some.

Dan Miller is the president of OSU’s quidditch team, and said that although quidditch started off as just a fictional sport in the popular “Harry Potter” series, the activity has grown into something more.

“It’s becoming its own sport,” said Miller, a third-year in atmospheric science. “It’s kind of becoming known as being separated from the book and being known as a sport. It’s kind of exciting to see (the) boom in popularity.”

There are more than 300 teams in the International Quidditch Association, 97 of which competed this weekend. In comparison, there were only 12 teams in the World Cup in the 2009.

The first rounds of play kicked off Saturday and OSU lost its first match to Penn State. The Buckeyes then beat Canada’s University of Victoria in their second game of the day. OSU lost to Emerson to conclude Saturday’s matches. On Sunday, OSU beat the 23rd-ranked University of Richmond, 40-20, to send the Buckeyes into the single-elimination tournament.

Each team is grouped with four other teams, and they must play against one another to determine which of the five teams will qualify for tournament play. The top-three teams from each pool moves onto the tournament. OSU placed third in its pool.

In the tournament Sunday, OSU beat a regional team, the Toms River Hydras, but lost in the next round to the University of Florida to end its 2011 tournament life.

The object of the game is similar to the fictional version: find the snitch, score more points. According to the International Quidditch Association’s handbook, the snitch, in real life, is a player who has a tennis ball in a sock.

The human snitch has the right to do whatever he or she wants in order to prevent the ball from being caught, which is worth 30 points, according to the head referee of the IQA, Chris Beesley. The 26-year-old referee has seen snitch runners do many things, including driving away from the game in a car.

There were more than 22 hours of quidditch played on nine different pitches (fields), Beesley said, with the final match culminating at Icahn Stadium Sunday evening.

With the rapid success of the sport, Beesley said he is amazed at how excited each team is to compete this weekend.

“It’s grown so fast and so much, a lot because of the passion of the people,” he said.

In an earlier version of this story, The Lantern reported that there are more than 100 teams in the International Quidditch Association and that 64 of them competed this past weekend. In fact, there are more than 300 teams, and 97 competed this past weekend.

 

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