It’s a battle of the broomsticks!
Major League Quidditch rivals the New York Titans and the Boston Knight Riders will descend on Brooklyn Bridge Park on June 10 for a three-match series of the high-flying game popularized by the Harry Potter children’s books — but the winner of this face-off will be crowned without any player’s feet leaving the ground.
Aspiring Quidditch stars may start out as wannabe wizards, but a league spokesman said it does not take long for them to tap athletic ability once they hit the field.
“People come to Quidditch for Harry Potter, but people stay for the sport and the athleticism,” said Major League Quidditch’s Jack McGovern. “It’s a chance to be active and play a unique sport with all genders.”
The coed sport is based off of a game that Potter and his fellow wizards play on brooms, which soar above the ground in the fictional series. But the mere muggles who compete in Major League Quidditch, a game that combines elements of basketball, dodgeball, and rugby, do so on both feet, while holding a broom-like stick between their legs — a rule that makes the game more challenging, according to McGovern.
“We kind of think of it like a handicap, like in basketball where you have to dribble the ball or in hockey where you play on skates,” he said. “In Quidditch, one hand has to be holding the broom and that makes it more difficult and fun.”
Teams are comprised of seven players — one seeker, three chasers, two beaters, and one keeper — who rack up points as they battle to catch a golden Snitch, a runner dressed in yellow with a velcro “tail” that must be snagged for a game to end. Seekers chase the snitch while chasers try to throw balls into hoops guarded by keepers, and beaters hurl more balls at their opponents to slow their offense.
Each ball through a hoop earns a team 10 points and catching the snitch is worth 30, and the squad with the most points at the end wins.
The sport was founded in 2005 at Vermont’s Middlebury College, according to the U.S. Quidditch association. Sixteen teams from across the country and Canada compete in Major League Quidditch, and the top 12 will travel to Texas for this year’s championship in August.