I’ve always wanted to go to Hogwarts. The magic, the moving staircases and the Quidditch games made me desperate to receive my Hogwarts letter on my eleventh birthday. But it turns out that I no longer have to cry myself to sleep at night, wishing I could participate in the only sport I have ever found interesting, because the Muggle version of Quidditch has hit UK Universities. After having been enjoyed by University teams from as far apart as the US and Finland since 2005, Quidditch is finally becoming increasingly popular its country of origin.
For those of you who have had a Memory Charm put on you, Quidditch is a game played by seven players on Broomsticks. They try to score points by throwing balls through hoops or catching the Golden Snitch; and hit balls of metal towards each other in an attempt to knock the other players off their brooms. You may notice that there are a few difficulties facing us Muggles if we want to play. The International Quidditch Association’s (yes, that’s real) official rules state that instead of flying, players must run around with a broom between their legs. The broom must not come out of this position, or the player is considered out of play. Perhaps the most significant change is the role of the golden snitch. Rather than having a small golden ball that flies impossibly fast, this is in fact a person. The player has no allegiance to either team, and is allowed to run anywhere, off or on pitch, and deliberately annoy the Seekers who have to try and catch them.
The fast-paced sport has entertained many audiences worldwide, and has held five Quidditch World Cups, involving over 100 teams from across the world. Its spread to UK Universities, and indeed rumours that there will be a large tournament in London this summer, planned to coincide with the Olympics, has made me wonder whether Southampton should start their own team. Although it has been taken very seriously by some Universities in America, it is usually considered a non-competitive and often amusing sport, and I think it would make a great addition to Southampton’s already prolific sports clubs. It could well inspire the ‘typical students’ like me, who don’t usually go outside if they can at all help it, to participate in a very different kind of exercise, whilst also encouraging people to declare their love for everything Potter-related. The great Albus Dumbledore once said that, “it is our choices… that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities’, and by choosing to set up a Quidditch team, Southampton can prove their pioneering attributes.