Quid­ditch World Cup in New york

Broom-wield­ing quid­ditch play­ers sweep New York in the fourth an­nual Quid­ditch World Cup.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By SE­BAS­TIAN SMITH

RUN­NING around in a cape af­ter a ball with a broom­stick be­tween your legs may sound silly. But try telling that to the hun­dreds in­vad­ing New York last week­end to reen­act Harry Pot­ter’s mag­i­cal game of quid­ditch.

Wannabe wizards con­verged on the Big Ap­ple from all over the United States for the fourth an­nual Quid­ditch World Cup.

Even if they couldn’t fly, and even if the winged, golden “snitch” ball from the books was rein­car­nated as an earth­bound stu­dent wear­ing yel­low, com­pe­ti­tion was ev­ery bit as fierce as in the mega-sell­ing J.K. Rowl­ing se­ries.

“We don’t take it too se­ri­ously,” dead­panned Zach Doleac, a 20-yearold stu­dent from Mid­dle­bury Col­lege in Ver­mont, as his team pre­pared to de­fend its three con­sec­u­tive cham­pi­onship ti­tles. “We might if we lose. But then we haven’t lost yet.”

Last Sun­day, af­ter two days of games be­tween 46 teams from col­leges like Har­vard, Yale and from as far away as Florida and Ohio, Mid­dle­bury kept their crown, de­feat­ing Tufts Uni­ver­sity in the fi­nal by 100 to 50.

But from the first mo­ments of the tour­na­ment, it was clear no one had come just to dress up in odd cos­tumes.

As in the books and movies, real world quid­ditch fields are cir­cu­lar. Play­ers try to throw “quaf­fles” – in this case vol­ley­balls – through three large hoops, while the “snitch” is chased for ex­tra points.

The re­sult is a game re­sem­bling some­thing like rugby, volleyball, lacrosse, bas­ket­ball, dodge­ball, and none of the above – af­ter all, it in­volves young adults pre­tend­ing to fly on brooms.

Cer­tainly one fea­ture from the movies, the lat­est of which pre­miered in London last week, is per­fectly repli­cated: may­hem.

Within an hour of the tour­na­ment’s start, sev­eral play­ers lay groan­ing on the grass, their broom­sticks aban­doned.

One man was taken off hold­ing a ban­dage to his mouth and a woman, her face cov­ered in blood af­ter a col­li­sion, spent sev­eral min­utes on her back un­der­go­ing treat­ment by an am­bu­lance crew.

Dur­ing a break, the founder of the In­ter­na­tional Quid­ditch As­so­ci­a­tion, Alex Benepe, re­flected on his sur­pris­ing suc­cess. Af­ter all, the fan­tasy game is com­pet­ing for at­ten­tion on cam­puses against a col­le­giate sports ma­chine that churns out near-pro-level teams in foot­ball, bas­ket­ball and other stan­dard games.

Dap­per in top hat and pin­stripe suit, Benepe says he helped in­vent the of quid­ditch Sun­day art his­tory

At enough hoops.

Now quid­ditch job a sport spell,

As the light-amid look­ing

Teams shapes But be­tween

book­ish-seem

Ball of a good time: Com­peti­tors siz­ing up one an­other dur­ing a match.

Hoop, hoop, hur­ray: Com­peti­tors warm­ing up in the field.

Wizard wannabe: A com­peti­tor strut­ting his stuff dur­ing a match.

Weapon of mass en­joy­ment: Brooms lie ready to be rid­den prior to the start of a match.

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