Quidditch tournament Saturday in Boone
Brooms will be flying high over the High Country this weekend.
Well, not literally, but team spirit and competiveness will soar to a new level Saturday at Brookshire Park in Boone for the International Quidditch Association Mid-Atlantic Carolinas Conference Fantasy Tournament.
Quidditch is a contact sport based on the fictional game played in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” fantasy book and movie series.
The game pits two teams of seven players vying to score points by tossing volleyballs into two sets of three hoops at opposite sides of the playing field.
Quidditch player and tournament organizer Nathan Love said the sport borrows components from rugby and basketball.
Along with characteristics found in tag and dodge ball, Quidditch roughly resembles a variation of handball, except players have three goals to shoot at instead of one.
Each goal varies in height, depending on the difficulty and length of shot, Love said.
The higher hoops are for the longer shots, while shorter hoops are for the “lay-up” style of goal. Every goal is worth 10 points, Love said.
“If you have read the book, you get a really good grasp of what’s going on,” Love said. “It is the fastest growing sport in the country. The appeal of it started out in ‘Harry Potter’ and come to find out, it has become a very accepting community. ‘Being a nerd’ has sort of caught on in the past couple of years with ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Star Trek,’ and Quidditch has rode that wave, as well.”
Quidditch has also enjoyed a blooming following locally. In 2012, Appalachian State’s Quidditch team won the state championship. Love was a member of that legendary squad.
The game has evolved to attract more than “Harry Potter” and fans of fantasy and fiction.
“A lot more athletic people are coming out,” Love said. “If you want to watch a bunch of college kids going at it during the NFL offseason, Quidditch is good for that.”
Unlike in the “Harry Potter” series, in which aspiring wizards and witches zoom past one another high above the Earth on brooms, players in the real life version battle it out on the ground. In keeping with tradition of the game, players are required to hold the broom between their legs while jockeying themselves into scoring position on the field.
“That can be a little challenging for the guys,” Love said.
This weekend’s fantasy tournament is comprised of players from college campuses and communities as far away as New York and Texas, Love said.
Players are lumped into large pools and drafted and assigned to different teams.
Most of the players participating Saturday’s tournament will be taking to the brooms alongside one another for the first time, Love said.
The first phase of the tournament will be held in a round robin format for seeding purposes. From that point forward, teams will be facing single elimination style of competition.
“On my team, we have players from UNC, Virginia Commonwealth, Richmond University and even LSU,” Love said.
Love said the emerging sport is progressive in how it treats players. At least two female players must be on each team on the field at all times. “All the ladies like it because it forces all players to be treated equally,” Love said.
Regardless of athletic ability, Love said Quidditch could be an enjoyable recreation activity for anyone.
“For me, I love being able to play a sport again,” Love said. “I used to play baseball when I was a kid, but I threw out my arm and never really recovered. It’s nice to be able to play a sport again and be acknowledged as an athlete.”
The round robin tournament begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 20, at Brookshire Park, located off Industrial Park Drive in Boone.