Harry Potter fans from around the globe have descended on Oxford, England, to take part in the first major international quidditch tournament and to promote the sport for possible inclusion in future Olympic Games. Players say that the real world version of the fictional sport, created by author J.K. Rowling, is as physically demanding and competitive as Rugby and less ridiculous than some of the other sports that are already included in the Olympics.
In the Harry Potter books and films quidditch players fly around the playing field on magical brooms while attempting to score goals on their opponents. Since no one has figured out how to create a flying broom just yet, the game was adapted for play on the ground instead. In 2005, a group of students from Middlebury College in Vermont came up with a set of rules for the sport, which features teams of seven and employs three different balls. In a nod back to the original source material, each of the players are also required to keep a broom between his or her legs at all times.
Since its creation the rules of the game have been refined and ground quidditch has taken off across the globe. The sport is now played by 700 teams in 25 countries around the globe and while many players are obviously Potter fans, an increasing number have never read the books or seen the movies. They’re all drawn to the unique combination of rugby, dodge ball and tag that makes the sport stand out from any other.
Whether or not quidditch will ever get included in the Olympics remains to be seen. Before it can achieve that level of recognition, it first must become more universally recognized around the world as a true sport and create an international governing body. Once that is achieved, that governing body can file an application to be included in the Games as a demonstration sport. After that, a second application can be filed for full inclusion in the next Olympics.
While I have to admit the game actually sounds kind of fun, the thought of running around a field with a broom between my legs just seems ridiculous. Then again, curling uses brooms and it seems way sillier than this.
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