U.S. college students seek the magic of Quidditch
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Stephen Dewey knows he lacks the magic to play Quidditch quite like they do in the Harry Potter novels but he does all he can to create an authentic experience for fans of the teenage wizard.
Dewey, a student at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, organizes the campus Quidditch club of about 40 Potter devotees imitating the aerial game of the book series.
Although Bucknell has not played its first official game -- that is expected in September -- Dewey's club has received $150 from the college to buy supplies, including hula hoops and a volleyball that stands in for the fictional "quaffle."
Also on the equipment list are the brooms on which J.K. Rowling's Quidditch players fly around during games and which Bucknell players are required to hold between their legs.
"I wanted to emulate the magical nature you find in Harry Potter books," said Dewey, 20, a student of music and education. But he admits he has to make concessions to reality. "A lot of that you can't really replicate exactly because we are not witches and wizards."
Bucknell's Quidditch players follow the rules, adopted by some 10 other U.S. Quidditch-playing colleges, which come from the Potter books.
Each team consists of 12 to 15 players, seven of whom are on the field at a time. They include a "keeper" to defend the hoops through which scores are made; "chasers" whose job it is to put the quaffle through the hoops; and "beaters" who throw balls called "bludgers" at their opponents.
There is also a "seeker" who chases the elusive "golden "snitch" around campus during the game. The capture of the snitch, usually after about 15 minutes, signals the end of the game.
Dewey described the sport as "mildly full-contact" and said it requires some athletic ability, particularly for seekers, who are typically cross-country runners. It appeals equally to men and women, he said.
Players have worn outlandish garb including swimming goggles and capes made out of shower curtains and bed sheets.
Dewey said he's received "some puzzled looks" when recruiting but that even the skeptics want to know more. He suspects they are secretly Harry Potter fans.
"They are usually curious to know how I could make this into a playing game," he said. "Running around on brooms does appeal to a surprising number of college students."
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