It was Hogwarts near Hudson!
Harry Potter fanatics and curious muggles descended on Brooklyn Bridge Park on Saturday for a not-so-high-flying Major League Quidditch match between rival stick-wielding squads New York Titans and Boston Knight Riders. And while the out-of-towners swept the home team without using magical brooms, the match-up still dazzled, according to attendees.
“Seeing the game, you get a sense of the wonder of it all,” said Titans manager Kerri Donnelly. “It’s a huge family, and once you’re a part of it, it’s part of your life forever.”
The co-ed sport of quidditch, which was founded in 2005 at Vermont’s Middlebury College, is based off a game that wizards play in J.K. Rowling’s fictional book series.
But unlike Potter and pals, who compete while soaring above ground on brooms, the athletes on Major League Quidditch’s sixteen teams play with both feet firmly planted, while holding a broom-like stick in their hands.
The differences between the fantasy sport and how it is played in reality may seem stark to newcomers, but Donnelly said their game’s lack of magic is as noticeable as the young Potter when he puts on his invisibility cloak.
“It’s become so much of our reality that we forget that it started from a fantasy,” she said. “You never even think about Harry Potter.”
Fans who came out for the three-game series that marked Major League Quidditch’s season opener watched as undefeated league champs, the Knight Riders, battled the Titans to catch the Golden Snitch — a person dressed in yellow shorts with a velcro tail that, when removed, ends the match.
But while fictional snitches elude wizards with lightening speed, major league snitches face their captors head-on, using brute force to fend them off.
“The danger that comes with it is part of the novelty,” said Chisa Egbelu, the designated snitch for the Boston-New York match, who played the sport as a Rutgers University student.
The visiting Knight Riders preserved their winning streak by sweeping the hometown Titans 3–0 in the match, but fans were none-the-less excited to have the sport of wizards fly into the county of Kings.
“Even though these two teams are rivals, we all party and hang out with each other,” said Jagger Kugler a spectator and former Emerson College quidditch athlete. “Everyone loves each other. There’s a great community.”
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