Quidditch is ready to drop Harry Potter to become a real sport

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Angers (AFP) – Inspired by the world of Harry Potter, Quidditch has conquered about forty countries, but this wand-athlete UFO wants to free itself from the famous wizard and become a specialty in its own right.

In JK Rowling’s novels, players spin on their broomsticks to throw a “Quaffle” through the rings, avoid the “bludgers” and pick up a “Golden Snitch” to finish the match.

In 2005, American students created a version of the gravity-prone “muggle” (non-magic), mixing aspects of handball and rugby as well as schoolyard games.

Gradually, the system was codified and regulated within the national federations and official tournaments, such as the Coupe de France that was contested last weekend in Angers.

Some discovered the sport during university exchanges abroad, others discovered during gatherings of Harry Potter fans, and still others find training in a garden …

Quidditch match between Paris and Angers during the French Championship in Nantes, February 12, 2022 LOIC VENANCE AFP / ARCHIVES

In the courts, the hoods and hats of the wizards of the first adherents, as well as references to the wizarding world on the shirts, almost disappeared.

Handball, rugby and dribbling

“We come for Harry Potter, we stay for the sport,” confirms Cedric Chellane, 38, France coach. This former hand player, who evolves with the frogs of Paris, prides himself on the physical aspect, the beautiful atmosphere, and the intricacy of strategies.

But the magician’s vocabulary remained, as did brooms, in the form of plastic sticks.

fucking boy? Not at all, confirms Tiffin Pascorio, 32, the union’s communications officer and vice-president of Elephants in Nantes, who arrived in Quidditch after 15 years of judo.

Quidditch players during a match between Paris and Angers, at the French Championship in Nantes, February 12, 2022
Quidditch players during a match between Paris and Angers, at the French Championship in Nantes, February 12, 2022 LOIC VENANCE AFP

“It’s not pretending to steal. It’s a handicap, in the same way you have to dribble to go forward with your hand or go backwards in rugby. It forces you to handle balls with one hand, to handle them with one hand…”, she explained.

From the edge of the field, her team discusses: “Fabien, a mastered priority. Maeva, you protect your point of view!”

Like the instructions, the game can be confusing for beginners. Moreover, a minimum of five referees and assistants ensure compliance with the rules.

On each team, four chasers try to skip the volleyball in opposing rings, two batsmen try to put them offside temporarily by shooting them with dribbling balls (dribbling or dribbling), and after 18 minutes, the catcher begins to play. Try to grab the snitch.

changing the name

Lacking a small gold ball with thin wings like in the movies, the Snitch is a tennis ball strapped into a sock and strapped to a neutral runner’s shorts dressed all in yellow.

Quidditch players during the French Championship February 12, 2022
Quidditch players during the French Championship February 12, 2022 LOIC VENANCE AFP

Actions are fast, races are steady, bumps are sometimes harsh, and changes are frequent. The peculiarity of the game: Teams must be mixed, with a maximum of four players of the same gender participating at the same time.

The practice is still clandestine in France, with 200-300 followers within dozens of active teams, and the practice is thriving in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Germany…

So much so that a change of terminology is being studied in the United States, in order to be able to continue development without going through Warner, the rights holder in the Harry Potter universe.

This development must also be accompanied by the creation of squads of young people, not to let discipline wither while the generation feeds on the eras of Harry Potter.

Meanwhile, Cedric Schellan is refining his selection for the European Championship to be organized at the end of July in Ireland, after two years of interruption due to the Corona virus. The bets are real: the 2019 winners, France has a title to defend.

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