The Canes could win the World Cup. Siriusly.
The sixth annual real-life Quidditch World Cup (based on the Harry Potter books) is coming to Florida in two weeks, and University of Miami, one of the top teams in the world, has been ranked by quidditch analysts (yes, they exist) as a likely contender to win it.
Real-life quidditch might sound like nerdy fantasy-fulfillment but it's actually an intense collegiate sport. The game was invented in Vermont seven years ago at Middlebury College; today the International Quidditch Association (the governing body for the sport), has over 1,000 teams globally registered. This April 13-14, the top 80 teams, hailing from 22 US states and four nations (including France, Canada, and Mexico), will all be coming to Kissimmee, Florida to compete before an audience of 10,000 spectators. And there are plenty of teams for the sunshine state to cheer for: University of Miami, University of Florida, University of South Florida, Florida State University, Florida Atlantic University, Ringling College, and Brevard College, will all be flying in from around the state for a shot at the trophy.
Quidditch as a sport seems bizarre at first because players hold a custom-quidditch broomstick between their legs, but then again, dribbling probably looked pretty strange in the early years of basketball. The sport is mostly easily described as a hybrid of rugby and dodgeball, and involves four different balls at once (five counting the human snitch). Watching the players skillfully navigate that level of complexity with just one hand makes the sport more compelling. It's organized chaos; a full-contact, co-ed game with lots of balls that is thrilling and entertaining to watch in equal measure. A 37-page rulebook is available online if you really want to learn everything, or you can check out a summary here.
Besides the hard-hitting action on the pitch, the event is rich in community-oriented, family-friendly entertainment. Fox News once adeptly described it as "a cross between the superbowl and the medieval festival." Spectacles and activities include improv comedian commentators, popular acting troupes like Team StarKid, rock bands like Harry and the Potters, mental magicians, wandering acts, marching bands and a "kidditch" field for kids to learn and play the game. And of course, tons of wild and crazy fans in players in costumes and full quidditch uniforms, with cheers, battle cries, warpaint, banners and mascots.
The World Cup VI takes place on the weekend of April 13th to 14th, at Austin Tindall Regional Park in Kissimmee FL. Games start at 8 a.m. and run all day, and Sunday culminates in an afterparty at a very magical location in Orlando (we bet you can guess where). The World Cup is organized by the International Quidditch Association, the governing body for the sport, and co-hosted by Experience Kissimmee. More details and tickets are available at www.WorldCupQuidditch.com.
Last year's event: