Quidditch Comes to Campus

Students who grew up reading about the fictional game of quidditch in the “Harry Potter” books have devised a way to play a whimsical form of the sport on campus.

In the novels, wizards and witches play the game by flying through the air on broomsticks. But earth-bound students have created a ground version of the game by combining aspects of dodgeball and soccer, making it easier for “muggles” (those without magical powers) to participate. Like the characters in the books, players must hold broomsticks between their legs, as if they were flying, and chase a ball known as a “quaffle.”

Interest in quidditch is growing on college campuses across the nation. Penn is among six Ivy League schools that have formed teams over the past few years.

“There’s a lot of things going on at once, but most ‘Harry Potter’ fans know the game and are able to pick it up really fast,” says Anjani Vedula, a Wharton junior, who founded Penn’s quidditch team.

Participants play the game by running on a field and passing the quaffle in an attempt to toss it through their opponents’ three goal hoops. The players are required keep one hand on their brooms at all times.

An international quidditch organization holds tournaments in the sport, and in October, there was a quidditch competition staged in Philadelphia, called the Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament. Penn’s quidditch team hopes to join in tournament play beginning next year.

Text by Jeanne Leong
Video by Kurtis Sensenig