College teams bring Quidditch to life

SAVANNAH, Ga. --- The casual observer might struggle to make sense of a dozen college kids, broomsticks between legs, galloping around Forsyth Park, hurling painted volleyballs at hoops in mid-stride.

 

To any Harry Potter enthusiast, however, there's a method to the madness.

Quidditch, the high-flying, lacrosse-like sport featured in J.K. Rowling's novels about a young wizard, has created a buzz since Savannah College of Art and Design student Jasmine Horn formed the Savannah Quidditch League.

Contests are hard-fought, but Ms. Horn says it's more about the process than the outcome.

"For a lot of us, as we grow up, we try to hold on to some of that childhood fun," she said. "We're usually busy with schoolwork and other concerns, so it's nice to go outside and do something silly and fun."

This spring, the contingent traveled to Athens for a match with the University of Georgia's team. Ms. Horn has designs of someday competing in a tournament at Vermont's Middlebury College, which pioneered the fictional sport's intercollegiate adaptation.

In the fall months, pickup matches have taken place every few weeks at Forsyth Park.

The game's popularity was evident Sunday.

At first, it seemed there wouldn't be enough contestants to field complete teams. But as Ms. Horn began assigning positions -- chasers, beaters, keepers, seekers and a snitch -- and enumerating the complex rules, new players trickled in. Before long, three full matches were in the books.

"It's really cool that it's a fantasy game that we're bringing to life," said Areya Simmons, breathless after a game. "Decades in the future, when the technology has developed ways to make brooms and balls fly, the game will be even more incredible."