Inspired by the Harry Potter universe, quidditch becomes a competitive sport

Straight from the world of Harry Potter, Quidditch has conquered some forty countries, but this sporting UFO astride a stick wants to free itself from the famous wizard to become a discipline in its own right. American students had made a version for “Muggles” (non-magicians) subject to gravity, mixing aspects of handball and rugby with games in the school yard.

In JK Rowling’s novels, players from Quidditch spin on their broomsticks to throw the “slurper” through the rings, dodge “smashers” and catch the “golden tell-tale” to end the match. Gradually, the discipline has been codified and structured within national federations and official championships, such as the French Cup contested last weekend in Angers (Maine-et-Loire).

Some discovered the sport during university exchanges abroad, others at meetings of Harry Potter fans, others stumbled upon a training session in a park… , the capes and hats of the wizards of the first followers are almost disappeared, also like the references to the world of magic on the sweaters.

We come for Harry Potter, we stay for the sport“, emphasizes Cédric Chillan, 38, coach of the French team. This former hand player, who plays for the Frogs of Paris, thus praises the physical side, the good-natured atmosphere and the complexity of the strategies. But the wizards’ vocabulary remained, like brooms, in the form of plastic sticks.

A little ridiculous? Not at all, assures Tiphaine Pasquereau, 32, federation communications officer and vice president of the Elephants of Nantes, who arrived after 15 years of judo with quidditch. †It’s not to pretend to steal. It’s a handicap, just like you have to dribble to go forward in handball or backward in rugby. forced you to grab the balls with one hand, to tackle with one hand…“, she explains.

She addresses her team from the edge of the field: “Fabien, drinking priority. Maeva, protect your tip!“Like the instructions, the game can seem confusing to the uninitiated. In addition, as many as five umpires and two assistants ensure that the rules are respected. In each team, four pursuers try to pass the quaffle (a volleyball) in the opposite rings . , two knockers try to sideline them for a while by shooting them with bludgers (dodgeballs or dodgeballs) and after 18 minutes a seeker comes into play to try to grab the Snitch.

Lacking a small gold ball with delicate wings like in the movies, the Snitch is a tennis ball tucked into a sock and attached to the shorts of a neutral runner dressed all in yellow. The actions are fast, the races constant, the jerks sometimes hard, the changes frequent. Special feature of the game: the teams must be mixed, with a maximum of four players of the same sex involved at the same time.

Still confidential in France, with 200 to 300 followers within a dozen active teams, the practice is booming in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany… To the point that a change of nomenclature is being studied in the United States. States, to allow development to continue without the involvement of Warner, holder of the rights to the Harry Potter universe.

This development will also have to go hand in hand with the creation of teams of young people, so as not to let the discipline wither as the generation fed on Harry Potter. Meanwhile, Cédric Chillan is refining his roster for the European Championships to be held in Ireland at the end of July after a two-year hiatus due to covid. The stakes are real: winners in 2019, France have a title to defend.