Advertisement

Quidditch: Could the real world sport fly here?

Quidditch: Could the real world sport fly here?
Sisters Meg, right, and Anne Berquist (7th and 6th grader respectively) play Quidditch. (Photo provided by Barrington Area Quidditch Club)

It is the real world manifestation of a once fictitious game, and whether it will move from the college and club team level to younger age groups is yet to be seen.

Quidditch is a contact-heavy, co-ed game, and Madeleine Lebovic is going to spend her winter break looking into how to spread it further in the northwest suburbs.

Advertisement

“At first, I did it as a joke,” the 2013 Barrington High School graduate said of joining the Tufts University Quidditch Club. “And then I was taken aback and pleasantly surprised by how serious it was."

For those unfamiliar, Quidditch is a fictitious, magical sport from the "Harry Potter" books and movies. It involves players on flying brooms throwing balls into three circular goals to score points. It has migrated into the real world, and has been described as a combination of rugby, dodgeball and tag. Also, players are required to have a broomstick between their legs during play.

Advertisement

The NCAA is not involved in club sports, and the new game is governed by US Quidditch. In the "Harry Potter" world, the sport is co-ed. US Quidditch invented “

,” which mandates no more than four players of a single gender can play on a team and a nod to the book's famous train platform.

“I was thinking ‘Why is it only at the college level?’” Lebovic said.

Advertisement

Unable to find a good reason, Lebovic put together a summer camp for young Quidditch recruits this year, and is weighing the costs and benefits of putting another edition together for 2015. The game has spawned clubs in universities across the nation, but has yet to produce any high school interest.

During her freshman year in the Boston area, Lebovic saw nearby Boys & Girls Clubs put together non-contact “Kidditch” programs for their young participants.

“It was fascinating to watch, it was fun to play and it was co-ed, which was a little different,” she said. “I took that idea and decided to bring it to Barrington.”

Lebovic launched the Barrington Area Quidditch Club, a one-week, elementary school-level day camp followed by several one-day programs. She built her own hoops, did her own promotion and received an unimpressive turnout, she said.

Lebovic might be a forerunner of a sport that could become a high school sensation — or she might be trying to promote something that is not going to work for teens. At Districts 214 and 128, none of the athletics departments reported ever hearing of interest in Quidditch.

At Stevenson High School, the administration polls its students and recent graduates in a survey that ranges from academics to social life each year. Annually, the top answer for “What sport do you wish Stevenson offered?” is Quidditch. But that answer, said last year’s Student Council president, is half-joke.

“I think Quidditch being the sport people would most likely want is a bit of a prank and a bit of a real wish,” wrote Landon Somlo, now a University of Southern California freshman, in a tweet. “I know many in college actually play in serious leagues but I'm not sure whether or not the majority of casual, non-Potterheads, would actually want to play.”

Stevenson only considers creating a new club after students begin the process. Ted Goergen, SHS’s director of student activities, wrote in an email that no Patriot has picked up the application paperwork.

Advertisement

“It's never been proposed as a club or intramural,” Goergen wrote. “I know that it shows up every year, and has recently shown up on some college campuses, but no student has ever approached me, formally or informally.”

Others who will want to play Quidditch may inhabit the northwest suburbs. Will many of them be interested in competing while in high school? The question is too new to be answered, and Lebovic is weighing whether to continue working toward the creation of a “yes.”

For more information on Quidditch, go to www.usquidditch.org.

Advertisement
Advertisement