Quidditch for muggles takes off

20 March 2013

Channel 7's Sunrise program did a live weather report featuring the University of Sydney Quidditch Society on Monday 18 March. Watch the video above. The content of this video is not owned or endorsed by the University of Sydney.

The brooms don't fly, the quaffles aren't enchanted and the golden snitch is a fully grown person instead of a tiny flying ball, but University of Sydney student muggles are bewitched by quidditch, the magical sport made famous in the Harry Potter series of books and films.

The Sydney University Quidditch Society, recently profiled in major media outlets the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian and Channel Seven's Sunrise program, is experiencing a surge in popularity.

Made popular in US colleges, quidditch for muggles (or non-magical people, for the Harry Potter uninitiated) brings social sport together with literary fandom, providing a unique experience for players.

"There's a bit of a jock culture around sport in US colleges and I think people wanted to apply literary fandom to what they could play on the ground. It's a very different kind of community," says Olivia Ronan, President of Sydney University Quidditch Society.

"It's a novelty, it's a lot of fun, and we can have a good laugh at ourselves," she says.
Based on the rules in JK Rowling's wildly successful Harry Potter series, quidditch teams are made up of seven players, who, like their wizard counterparts, carry a broom between their legs and attempt to score goals with quaffles, dodge bludgers thrown by opposing players, and search for the elusive golden snitch.

"When they first hear about quidditch, the question people always ask is about gravity. People are really intrigued and it produces a lot of smiles on people's faces to see something our generation has grown up with become a reality," Olivia says.

The Sydney University Quidditch Society formed in October last year and now counts more than 300 Harry Potter fans as members.

It is one of around 200 clubs and societies at the University of Sydney in areas as diverse as bushwalking, ukulele playing, hip hop, politics, chess, beer brewing and community aid.

"We're the university that looks the most like Hogwarts, but until last year we were one of the only ones without a Harry Potter-related society, so we needed to fill the gap," says Olivia.

"On a personal level, starting the society was a bit of a personal challenge after being known as the biggest Harry Potter nerd at high school."

Alongside social quidditch matches, the Sydney University Quidditch Society runs Harry Potter-themed social events throughout the year, and hopes to host a Yule Ball to celebrate the end of its internal competition and the academic year.

Find out more about our student clubs and societies.

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