- Associated Press - Sunday, August 9, 2015

BRIGHTON, Mich. (AP) - Calling all Muggles: the fantasy game of Quidditch seems to have successfully jumped off the pages of Harry Potter and flown across campuses in the country.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to find invisibility cloaks on the shelves of clothing stores or witness flying dragons roaming the sky.

But you will see college students riding broomsticks in the popular game of Quidditch, which has drastically grown in the last five years, the Livingston Daily Press & Argus (https://bit.ly/1MHiXR1 ) reported.

Quidditch is a competitive sport in the Wizarding World of the Harry Potter universe featured in the series of novels and movies. Matches are played between two teams of seven players riding flying broomsticks, using four balls: a Quaffle, two Bludgers and a Golden Snitch.

This summer, the University of Michigan’s Quidditch team hopped on their brooms and flew to the Brighton District Library to teach youth the game as part of the Summer Reading Program by the Friends of the Brighton District Library.

This is the U-M’s team fourth year traveling to Brighton to rally new Muggles.

“You don’t really think when you join college, ‘Oh, college. I’m going to join Quidditch,’ so we want to be able to educate them about the Quidditch community,” said Lisa Lavelanet, U-M Quidditch leader captain and upcoming senior. “We love going to schools and libraries to teach students because we want to introduce them to a sport they may not have thought about prior to college.”

Lavelanet’s team has traveled to the Brighton District Library for the past four years to teach kids in kindergarten through high school.

She also said she hopes her team encourages students to start their own team at all age levels.

Lavelanet said there used to be a Quidditch team at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, but she’s unsure if it still exists.

“Kidditch” is the term the U.S. Quidditch Association calls the game when played by youth.

“It’s a modified game, because they’re smaller,” Lavelanet said.

Even though Kidditch has its own set of rules, the U-M team teaches the students the collegiate game.

“Younger kids are excited to participate and older kids are in between being really excited to be there and don’t want to be there at all,” Lavelanet laughed. “But by the end of the day, everyone ends up having a really fun time.”

The biggest challenge is tailoring how they teach the students based on age.

“We teach all ages at one time, so we have had to adjust the way we teach and water down the rules and how we explain it so they understand better,” she explained. “It’s hard when it’s a mix and trying to teach kids of all ages the same rules who learn at different paces.”

Lavelanet loves seeing the transition of kids’ attitudes from beginning to end.

“It’s so fun to see how excited they get when they never thought they would even like it at first,” she said. “It’s a great game to experience.”

Lavelanet said the team travels to schools and libraries in Washtenaw and Livingston counties each summer. They also go to birthday parties.


The game is a combination of rugby, dodge ball, soccer and tag with a broomstick lodged between one’s legs.

Roughly 1,500 athletes play the game at universities across the country and participate in the Quidditch World Cup each year.

Students at Vermont’s Middlebury College who were looking for a new intramural game in 2005 originally formed the game.

“A lot of the students who are in college today and play the game grew up when the books and movies first came out,” Lavelanet said. “It makes the game more meaningful and definitely has influenced student’s interest in playing.”

The Intercollegiate Quidditch Association is the sport’s professional organizing body that oversees close to 1,100 teams in 43 countries, and 600 teams in the U.S. alone.

“The Quidditch World Cup used to be an open invitation, but now there are so many teams, it’s not longer an open invite,” Lavelanet said.

Now, the top 80 teams earn their spot after battling it out in one of nine regional tournaments.

“It’s a very serious sport taken seriously by all those in the Quidditch community,” she said. “It’s great to see its growth throughout the years, and our goal is to encourage youth to consider it as a sport either at the high school level or college level.”


Information from: Livingston Daily Press & Argus, https://www.livingstondaily.com

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