Middlebury College Hosts Quidditch World Cup

10/26/09 12:50PM By Nina Keck
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Steve Mease
Middlebury Quidditch team members are introduced

(Host)  Quidditch is a fictional sport played by wizards in the wildly popular Harry Potter novels.    But in the past few years, more and more college students are grabbing brooms and balls and playing a mortal-version of the game.   Yesterday, Middlebury College hosted the third annual Quidditch World Cup and 21 teams, from as far away as Texas, Virginia and Louisiana competed.  

VPR's Nina Keck has more

(announcer)        "And to start the world cup 2009 all four snitches are loose.  (cheering)

(Keck)   In a game where players in capes run around on broomsticks and hurl things called quaffles and bludgers, it's hard to take Quidditch too seriously.   And that's just how players and fans like it.

Steve Mease

(play by play)    Starters ready?    (brooms up !   And they're off - Middlebury with a score right from the beginning. . . . . Jamie Middleman moving on the side - oh, oh, another score.   Devastating - brilliant.   I'd say it's the most devastating loss for Virginia since Appamadox courthouse.  (laughter) 

(Keck)  A Middlebury College comedy troupe provided the play by play to a game that was born on their campus five years ago.   Middlebury alum Alex Benepe was one of the game's founders.  While he says author JK Rowling did a fabulous job creating the magical game, he reminded fans that the mortal version of Quidditch  had more humble beginnings.

Steve Mease
(Benepe)    "Ladies and Gentlemen, Quiddtch started right here about five years ago.    It started with 30 students.   We didn't have enough hula hoops.   We played with garbage cans and we wore towels.   Today we have 21 colleges ( cheering) 

(Keck)   Benepe, who was dressed to the nines for the tournament, in a pin striped suit, top hat and walking stick, says a lot of college sports are too time consuming and competitive.    He thinks Quidditch has become so popular because it provides student athletes who want to compete with a more light hearted alternative.   Oh and did I mention it's one of the few co-ed contact sports?

(Laughter and cheering)

(Noble)    It's awesome - we played yesterday and we battled it out but we lost.  It's very violent - my friend got four stitches."

(Keck)   Olivia Noble is a freshman at Middlebury College.

(Noble)     " It's sort of a mix of soccer with the quaffel and dodgeball with the red balls and then like a game of catch with the snitch.  So there's sort of three games simultaneously.   On a broom! 

Steve Mease
Snitches are well known for their trickery - employing a gang of snitches to confuse Seekers in one afternoon game.

(Keck)   Sunday's tournament was a far cry from the first Intercollegiate Quidditch World Cup in 2007 - when Vasser and Middlebury were the only teams competing.    This year, 21 teams were on hand with hundreds of spectators and thousands more following a live webcast."

Drum beat Music -

"Teams please be aware if you have not yet been notified.  One of our schools dropped out at the last minute - Yale - so the schedules are slightly different from the ones you that you received yesterday.   Course we're very disappointed that Yale had to drop out today..   on their way they realized that it was in fact quidditch and not a grammar competition."   (laughter) 

Steve Mease
(Keck)    Some argue it's jokes like that that have given Quidditch an unfair wrap of being a sport for geeks.   Miachael Gray, who coaches Emmerson College shakes his head. 

Gray  "I continually laugh because I forget that this is a Harry Potter thing or idea.   It's not really so much Harry Potter as much as a game.   When I'm with my basketball team,  lot of people talk trash a little bit because they think it's so funny.   But it's a contact sport that we compete as hard as we can at and it's so much fun.

(Keck)  Gray says Quidditch can be as full of skill and strategy as you want to make it and teams at the World Cup are there to win.

For VPR news, I'm Nina Keck in Middlebury. 

(Host Outro) Returning champions Middlebury won the 2009 Intercollegiate Quidditch World Cup. Emerson College came in second and Boston University was third.


quidditch harry_potter

Related Links

Photographer Steve Mease's Quiddich Cup Gallery
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