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Quidditch players atop broomsticks ready to compete on the field Players race down the field at this year's Quidditch World Cup. (Emanuael Dunand / AFP / Getty Images / Newscom)

Quidditch World Cup Flies off the Page

Harry Potter’s favorite sport comes to life in a championship match for muggles

By Zach Jones | null null , null
<br />Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) plays Keeper on Gryffindor's Quidditch team in the movie <i>Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince</i>.<br /><br />(Warner Bros. / Everett Collection)

Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) plays Keeper on Gryffindor's Quidditch team in the movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

(Warner Bros. / Everett Collection)

Quidditch isn't just for wizards anymore. This weekend, 46 teams from high schools and colleges in the U.S. and Canada competed in the International Quidditch Association's World Cup.

In J. K. Rowling's famous Harry Potter books, Quidditch is the most popular sport in the wizarding world. Players zoom through the air on broomsticks. Most score points by tossing bright red balls called Quaffles through hoops. But a game can quickly be won if a Seeker grabs the Snitch, a hard-to-catch winged golden ball that flies above the oval field.

All of this is difficult to accomplish without magic, so muggle, or nonmagical, players compete on the ground. They still ride broomsticks, but players have to keep them clutched between their legs while they run. Seekers chase a player dressed all in gold called a Snitch Runner, who hides a Snitch in a sock tucked into his or her golden shorts.

Xander Manshel invented this version of the beloved wizard's game in 2005 when he was a student at Middlebury College in Vermont. He named it Muggle Quidditch.

This year, 757 athletes competed in Manshel's game. His school's team has won each World Cup since the annual competitions began—including this year's games.

"We don't take it too seriously," said Zach Doleac, a 20-year-old student from Middlebury College. "We might if we lose. But then, we haven't lost yet."

This year's World Cup took place in New York City. Between games, fans saw fire-breathers, live owls, and even a concert by the rock group Harry and the Potters.

The competition was well-timed. Harry Potter fans are psyched because the new movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1, hits U.S. theaters on Friday. The last book in the Harry Potter series was published in 2007 and even the movies are wrapping up, but excitement over the magical world Rowling created is sure to be here for years to come.

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