If a group of Texas students get their way, expect Quidditch (yes, the sport from the Harry Potter novels) to be flying into more of the state’s high schools in the next few years.
A group of students approached the Texas University Interscholastic League last month in an attempt to have Quidditch officially sanctioned as a UIL school sport. Keep in mind, the UIL has yet to officially recognize gymnastics, lacrosse, and water polo.
The UIL committee requested more information from the group about the interest in Quidditch across Texas—specifically, it requested signatures from students, teachers, coaches, and administrators from more than 100 middle and high schools. (To put that in perspective, Texas has over 1,500 secondary schools all told.)
In response, the group created an online petition to gather signatures from across the state. As of July 4, the group had collected nearly 330 virtual signatures. According to KDAF-TV, the students hope to collect signatures from students in 200 schools.
“People don’t really grasp that it’s a legit sport. But, everybody thinks, especially at Keller High School, that it’s really cool,” said Brooklyn George, one of the co-founders of the Keller Quidditch team, to KDAF-TV.
While you may roll your eyes at the thought of students playing a game from a book series about wizards, the students aren’t shy about expressing the physical benefits of Quidditch.
"[Quidditch]'s getting people who may not have played sports before to play sports, and be physically active,” said Katie Polaski, another Keller student who co-founded the school’s Quidditch team, to KDAF-TV. Polaski called Quidditch an up-and-coming sport.
So, how do you play Quidditch without having the same wizard powers as Harry Potter (notably, flight)? Well, the students still use the same three balls—the Quaffle, the Bludger, and the Golden Snitch—except the Quaffle is a volleyball, the Bludger is a dodgeball, and the Snitch is a tennis ball held inside a sock carried by a human player.
The ultimate goal of Quidditch, a 7-on-7 sport, is for a team’s “Seeker” to chase the player carrying the Snitch and to retrieve it. Goals can also be scored by the team’s three Chasers, who advance up and down the field trying to throw the Quaffle through an opposing team’s three goals (hula hoops). And, of course, all of this must be done with a broomstick between each player’s legs at all times. (For more on the rules of Quidditch, see the rulebook
of the International Quidditch Association.)
In an era of budget cuts, the thought of adding another sport to the official roster may sound idealistic at best, but to Quidditch’s credit, most schools should have the requisite equipment (besides broomsticks) already lying around. And if a game can promote physical activity in a nonathlete demographic, would it be such a bad thing for schools to encourage?
For video of “Muggle Quidditch,” check out this footage from KDAF-TV:
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.