Thursday, May 31, 2012

Muggle Quidditch Invasion of Britain Continues

Back in March I covered the first Muggle Quidditch match played in England. As Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is British, it might seem strange that this version of her fictional game was invented in America. However, as I noted in my previous post, creating sadder, more watered-down versions of cultural treasures from other nations is pretty much what we Americans do. In the eighties it was the Croissan'Wich, and today it's Muggle Quidditch. And don't even get me started on the chow mein sandwich, invented in Fall River, Massachusetts. Given that chow mein is a sad American substitute for real Chinese food to begin with, putting it in a sandwich is a whole other level of suckage. But I digress.

Julia Rivera is a die-hard Harry Potter fan, and she is a natural athlete. So she decided to combine the two and formed the first Quidditch league at Kennett High School.

“It’s so much fun,” said Rivera, a Kennett sophomore. “There’s a lot of laughs to see everyone get so into it. After people play, they realize it’s more difficult than they were expecting.”

I don't think anyone who's ever tried to run holding a stick between their legs would expect this version of Quidditch to be easy. See, that's why the brooms are supposed to fly...

Rivera got the OK to form the sport from adviser and teacher Shawn Duffy. Immediately she recruited 30 students to join the team. Now, she’s looking for other local high schools to form their own Quidditch team so a league could be formed next school year.

But the sport is very physical. And because it’s a sport where both boys and girls can play on the same team, the physical contact becomes a concern.

“We make everybody swear they won’t tackle anybody so it hurts,” Rivera said. “It’s mixed boys and girls, and so far no one has got hurt. We have rules that it’s OK to tackle someone, but you can’t hit anyone on the head. If you do, you go in the penalty box.”

It's good to see the potential for injury being taken seriously in Britain, because last I checked it isn't in the United States even though the way it's played here the game is at least as rough as rugby. Hopefully this means that the British teams may do away with the most stunningly idiotic thing that I've seen American teams do - playing this fast-moving and hard-hitting game through crowds of spectators. There's a reason I make fun of people who think that sort of thing is a good idea, and it's not only because the game looks so damn silly. The silliness just makes the pointing and laughing a whole lot easier.
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