Sports
The U of C Quidditch team gets ready to battle for the Quaffle.
courtesy Andrew Midwinter

Muggles hop on their brooms

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The simple command of "Up!" should be enough for any witch or wizard to acquire a broom and take to the skies. Flying with the owls and leaving the muggle world behind is a natural occurrence for these magical folk, but for one boy wizard, his broom is a necessity to seek out a small and ghastly golden ball. Quidditch is a sport not for the faint of heart; one must be agile, fearless, gritty and, of course, magical.

Anyone who has grown up with Harry Potter since he was a boy of 11 has dreamed of fighting with the most elite flyers for the greatest honour of all, the Quidditch Cup.

This dream was unattainable until a few extraordinary folk recently decided to test the water with their very own take on the popular wizarding game.

Adapted from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels, "Muggle Quidditch" began in 2005 as an intramural league at Middlebury College in Vermont.

The International Quidditch Association now has over 400 post-secondary teams around the world, from India to Brazil.

Since 2005, a World Cup tournament has taken place every year. In November this year, it will take place in New York City.

Harry Potter fans are not hard to find at the University of Calgary and were quick to join the trend. Paul Hamnett, founder of the U of C Quidditch club, said that although they have not participated in a World Cup, it is definitely something the club wants to do in the future.

"We are a relatively new club," said Hamnett. "We started in November, but so far the response has been excellent. People are really excited about it."

The rise of the 'sport' has been tied to the popularity of the Harry Potter movie series. With the last movie due out on July 15, can Quidditch outlive its source?

According to Hamnett, Quidditch is far from being over.

"Look at Star Wars," he said. "The movies are over, but there is still such a culture surrounding it. Quidditch will ensure Harry Potter's survival."

Quidditch will be the vein for Potter fans to suckle as the movies come to a close.

"We are all big HP fans," said Tsering Asha Leba, vice-president of the club. "The end of the movies will make us want to play more and keep it up, but we are not just about Harry Potter. Teams at other schools are athletes and really competitive -- we are hoping to work towards that."

For now, the team is focused on fundraisers in order to purchase better material and to raise money for charities.

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