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Harry Potter: Sports Star?

by Craig Edwards

Posted on July 19, 2007 at 5:01 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:41 PM

By Craig Edwards

Greetings to all of you taking a break from waiting for the last Harry Potter book (Or are you reading it already? Cheaters!). I won't lie...I'm pretty excited too. With that in mind, I figured I should talk about one sports question on the minds of many Harry Potter fans: Would Quidditch work in the real world?

The simple answer is no, and it's not just because we really can't fly around on broomsticks (we'll address that later). However, with a couple of tweaks, "The Noble Sport of Warlocks" could translate to the muggle world.

If you have no idea what on Earth I'm talking about, you've probably stopped reading by now. But for those soldiering on, here's a quick rundown of the game. Quidditch is played 7 on 7, with all players flying on broomsticks. The pitch is a little longer than a football field. At each end stand 3 goal hoops (think of those plastic sticks used to blow bubbles, with the circle end on top, about 50 feet up). The three hoops are protected by a Keeper. Each team has three Chasers, who pass, shoot and defend the Quaffle, a soccer-sized ball. Getting it through one of the three hoops is a goal worth 10 points. There are two Beaters on each side. They use bats to hit Bludgers, two hard, medium-sized balls used to knock other players off their brooms, or at least a little loopy. The seventh player on each team is the Seeker, who chases around the tiny Golden Snitch (about the size of a golf ball) as it flies around. The Seeker that catches the snitch scores his team 150 pts, and ends the game... regardless of time into the game. Harry Potter is a Seeker in the books.

The position of seeker is the main place where Quidditch would not really work. While obviously written to give the books' central character a goal to achieve in the match, it would be kind of lame in reality.

Imagine going to a Blazers' game, with the rule that a half-court shot gave the team 100 pts and ended the game. Two minutes into the first quarter, Kevin Durant hits a half court shot to give the Sonics a 100-2 win over the Blazers. The 4 seats you bought for your family at $50 each were worth two minutes of basketball. Not exactly the bang for your entertainment buck that most of us require.

The reverse is also true. According to the books, the record length for a Quidditch match is 3 months. Imagine getting stuck at the Rose Garden for three months... that's a lot of vacation and sick time you'd have to use.

However, if you gave Quidditch a set time limit (say 4 15:00 quarters), and make the Seeker another Chaser, it could work. You could also take a page from the "Quidditch World Cup" video game, and make teams earn their opportunities at catching the snitch. What do you think would work?

I also don't know if the bludgers would work too well, mainly because the chance for injury would be very high.

But here's my main question for you. We obviously can't use brooms, but how about using bicycles or skateboards to translate the game for all of us who can't do magic? What do you think would work better?

This is just something to think about before you start reading. Enjoy book 7... and GO CHUDLEY CANNONS!!!