Muggles Playing Quidditch25 April 2016
Everyone who has seen the Harry Potter movies knows Quidditch as a wizarding sport played on brooms, and achieved on screen through special effects.
These days, however, Quidditch is no longer a fantasy. The Quidditch World Cup has leapt off the pages of Harry Potter and into reality. Muggle Quidditch is gaining recognition across the globe as a legitimate sport, with over 300 registered teams worldwide (including our university’s team, the Melbourne Unicorns). It has come to represent the creativity, enthusiasm and cooperation of fans internationally.
“But how can you play Quidditch without magic?” you ask. Unfortunately we Muggles don’t have flying broomsticks or enchanted balls. Instead we run on our brooms and pelt each other with dodgeballs. If you’re picturing a group of nerds running around with broomsticks wedged between their legs and flinging things at each other, you’ve grasped the basics of Muggle Quidditch.
On the pitch it’s a different story. Despite it’s whimsical roots, Quidditch competition is fierce. Like the Quidditch of Harry’s world, Muggle Quidditch is a mixed gender, full-contact sport. Newcomers are often surprised by the athleticism required.
Before I joined the Unicorns, I would have scoffed at the idea of running a 1km warm-up for training. Well, I still do, though now I can finish the run instead of dissolving into a puddle of sweaty snark. We nerds are hardly renowned for our physical prowess. Quidditch training provides a tough yet welcoming environment where we can get fit with friends. Between drills, singing, Harry Potter jokes and revoltingly bad puns are plentiful, which almost makes up for the running.
The real joy of Muggle Quidditch is the friendships. Cheesy, I know, but it takes a special group of people to give up their time to run around with glorified sticks between their legs in public.
I’m blessed to have found friends who all have an excellent sense of humour and broad pop culture knowledge. As a team, we’ve enjoyed movie nights, camping trips, and of course, the weekly pub night after trainings. Muggle Quidditch may not be magical itself, but being a part of the Melbourne Unicorns has added a touch of magic to my uni experience.
Anyone wanting to know more about Quidditch can follow the Melbourne Unicorns Quidditch Team Facebook page, or pop down to University Square from 4-6pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to watch us train!
Throughout the entirety of human history, Muggles have given magic-folk plenty of reasons to stay in hiding. Muggle Quidditch is definitely one of them. I mean, where do I start with this supposed sport? Not only does it violate many International Statutes of Wizarding Secrecy, it also lacks the sport’s most vital component. And yes, even Harry Potter’s daft uncle Vernon would admit it: magic.
You take away the Hover Charms and Firebolts and instead of a sleek magical game, we get a mockery. A Muggle farce. A game more likely to be on the receiving end of a Killing Curse because it sucks so badly. Farrago readers, have you ever seen Muggle Quidditch? The players literally run around with a broom between their legs! To quote Ronald Weasley, “What in the name of Merlin’s most baggy Y fronts [is] that about?” Do they not realise how dangerous that is? More importantly, do they not realise how ridiculous they look?
Take the Golden Snitch as an example. Instead of the winged golden-ball, Muggle Quidditch has an unaffiliated member (bedecked in fluorescent yellow) run around the playing field. The Seekers then have to demonstrate their skills by capturing the tail-like sock attached to the Snitch’s running shorts. At the very least, it’s a good thing you can’t accidentally swallow it à la Harry Potter.
Despite this so-called benefit, Muggle Quidditch is still a desecration of the wizarding game. Yes, the Golden Snitch has legs but that is not its most troubling aspect. The problem is that Muggle Quidditch is an outstanding form of cultural appropriation. I know what you’re thinking, ‘Aren’t we allowed to appreciate a culture anymore?’ Well, I don’t think wizards and witches would consider it a sincere form of flattery.
The truth is wizarding Quidditch is a renowned and esteemed institution in the magical world. In fact, the game reflects eons of wizarding history; at its core, it is also a celebration of magic. Given that we have persecuted magic-folk for their innate magical abilities, do you then not think it insulting to strip Quidditch from its very essence? To the wizarding world, it is more than just a ‘sport’. It is a proud and masterful manifestation of something we have long denied wizards to express. And without it, I’m afraid we Muggles should leave our brooms where they belong: in the laundry or under the stairs. Take your pick.