It is a sad fact that magic doesn't exist. It is a sad fact that we can't go to work on flying brooms. It is a sad fact that we can't clean the house and feed the dog with a simple wave of a wand. It is a sad fact that the world seen in the 'Harry Potter' books and films is not real -- Wait, that's a good thing, actually. People tend to die horrible, Avada Kedavra-related deaths in that world.
The total non-existence of of magic hasn't stopped many Harry Potter fans from taking their love for JK Rowling's world to a new, possibly insane height, namely the creation of a real Quidditch league, culminating in the fourth annual Quidditch World Cup in New York City this weekend. Will this just be a bunch of fanboys cos-playing in the park? No, sir. Organized teams from 60 schools and universities across the nation will be there, including representatives from Havard, M.I.T. and Yale.
NPR has the original story, wherein they make mention of the sport's humble, real world origin. In 2005, students at Middlebury College put on capes, placed themselves astride broomsticks and tried to recreate the fictional, magical sport. In 2007, they had their first match against Vassar College. In 2010, their fanboy fun has turned borderline legitimate, with some students hoping that the sport will receive recognition from National Collegiate Athletic Association.
There are many questions to be asked here, particularly from fans of the 'Harry Potter' series who are familiar with Quidditch. How do you play the game on a broomstick that doesn't have the ability to defy gravity? How do you represent the Golden Snitch, the tiny flying sphere that must be captured to end the game? Well, you hold the broom between your legs with one hand and let a cross-country runner dressed in yellow act as the snitch. Of course.
This is the kind of thing that's easy to laugh at and make fun of, the kind of thing that ultimately brings out cries of "Neeeeerds!" from a thousand cynical keyboards. That's an unfair response. Yes, it is most certainly nerdy, but it's also an outdoor activity in the sunshine among other human beings who aren't made out of pixels, a nerdy activity that acts as exercise and social interaction. We've reached a point in society where Geek has become the norm. It's cool to read comics and play video games and yes, recreate a magical broomstick game in a semi-serious competitive format. People are entirely unashamed to throw their inhibitions to the wind and have fun and enjoy the things they love. For everything wrong with this world, this is a good thing.
'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1' opens on November 19. You know you'll be seeing it.