Almost a year ago from today, I witnessed my first Quidditch World Cup in New York City. My sister and I are huge Harry Potter fans, and while we were walking downtown, we just happened to end up in a field filled with people dressed like witches and wizards watching quidditch matches. I had never seen anything like it -- there were posters, tents, brooms and dozens of teams competing for the cup. Until last year, I didn't even know that people really played quidditch -- it's a fictional sport in a book about magic. However, people were creative enough to convert the game played on broomsticks into a sport for "muggles."
The rules of Quidditch are adapted only slightly from the Harry Potter books. There are 21 players per team, which includes four positions. In the game, there are three chasers per team, whose jobs are to score goals using a volleyball, otherwise known as a quaffle, to Harry Potter readers. The team also includes one keeper, who blocks the chasers and possible goals, and a seeker, who catches the snitch -- the constantly-moving ball worth the most points. For those that have read or seen Harry Potter, you're probably wondering what is used as the snitch. In the movies and books it is a flying golden ball, but in the muggle world, it is a tennis ball inside a yellow sock that is tucked into the waistband of a runner who is not on either team competing. The goal is to catch the runner and take the sock, much like flag football. For the full rulebook, you can visit internationalquidditch.org.
When I first saw the World Cup, there were about four fields complete with six hoops (three on each side), thousands of people, team t-shirts, and ambulances parked outside in case of injury. It was very chaotic, and I thought that it was put together by Harry Potter fans, but the Quidditch World Cup is actually very organized in the way it's run.
The International Quidditch Association has put the World Cup together every year since 2007, and has grown in size from having three teams in 2007 to an expected 100 teams this year. Last year, the games were held at DeWitt Clinton Park, in the West side of Manhattan, and were played by 43 colleges, including Harvard and Yale, and three high schools. This year, the games will be held at Icahn Stadium in Randall's Island and will have 2,000 athletes participating. The tickets will range in price from $10 for a one-day adult ticket to $100 for an adult VIP pass. You can visit this site for full pricing.
If you're a Harry Potter fan like I am and have not seen a Quidditch World Cup, I would strongly suggest you check it out on November 12 or 13 in New York City. I'll be there!