Sign me up for Quidditch

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    The first time I ever picked up a “Harry Potter” book was in fourth grade. It was library day for my class, and I had finished the series I’d been reading and needed something new.

    Although I’d never heard of it before, I loved it from the moment I opened to page one of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” I became the mega-fan: the girl who can quote whole chapters of the books and act out each movie without breaking a sweat. Imagine my joy when I was first told about Quidditch at TCU.

    I had never played before, but I imagined it would be fairly simple. After all, it’s not like we had to actually fly on brooms or anything. I looked up some videos on YouTube to familiarize myself with the “muggle,” or non-magical, version of the game.

    Within five minutes, I could see this was going to be harder than I thought. But still, I was excited, and I showed up to my first Quidditch tournament ready to play.

    Quidditch is actually a very difficult game to take part in. In addition to running sprints and maintaining endurance, players need agility to duck from other players and bludgers, the balls used to temporarily knock people out of the game. Players also need accuracy and strength to score.

    The last need, strength, may not make much sense until you consider that in Quidditch, roughhousing is not only acceptable but encouraged. From tackling, mild wrestling and crazy antics 8212; almost anything goes. Add a broom that you must hold on to at all times, and you’re doing all of the above one-handed.

    My next couple of tournaments, I opted to be a referee instead of a player. Turns out in addition to being physically and mentally difficult, Quidditch is also complicated 8212; very complicated, in fact. There are more than 700 rules regulating each game.

    From forcing the game to be co-ed 8212; each team must have at least two players of each gender on the field at all times 8212; to ensuring safety for players in such a high-contact sport, the official International Quidditch Association Handbook is incredibly comprehensive and encompassing.

    Lindsey Carnes, the TCU Quidditch Club president, said, “I’ve never experienced a sport with that level of complexity and difficulty, and I think it’s safe to say that the sport of Quidditch isn’t for the faint of heart.”

    However, that doesn’t stop people from flocking to the game. From athletes to mathletes to everyone in between, Quidditch holds a spellbinding appeal.

    There are more than 400 college teams and 300 high school teams worldwide, and each year in November the Quidditch World Cup is held in New York City. The students on these teams are fighting stereotypes and winning respect on each of their respective campuses.

    At the 2010 Quidditch World Cup, Devin Devoue, who looked like a typical football player, said, “I don’t know what a nerd looks like, but I’m pretty sure if you looked up in the dictionary what a nerd would look like, it wouldn’t be me. So if Quidditch is for the nerds then, I mean, hey, I guess I’ll be a nerd.”

    Danika Scevers is a freshman premajor from Abilene.