Teams from 14 Southeastern colleges descended on Riverview Park in North Augusta on Saturday – on broomsticks.
They are competing in the first International Quidditch Association Southern Regional Championships, which continue Sunday.
The championships are a qualifier for the IQA World Cup in Kissimmee, Fla., on April 14-15.
Quidditch is a game inspired by the Harry Potter series. In the books, it’s played while flying on broomsticks. Humans, or “muggles” as Harry Potter and his friends call them, play with broomsticks as well, but by running with them.
“When (author J.K. Rowling) created the sport, she did not like any sport, so she created a sport that she thought would be fun,” said Harry Potter enthusiast Peter Thompson, who explained how the game is played.
Three people can score, one person guards the goal and two people can knock opposing team members off their brooms, removing them from scoring. Two “seekers” search for the “Snitch,” a tennis ball inside of a sock tied to the Snitch Runner’s waist. Once the Snitch is caught, the game is over, he said. Meanwhile, other players try to get the quaffle – a larger ball – to their goal while dodging “bludgers” – balls that are thrown at players.
Peter, a 15-year-old Augusta homeschool student, came dressed as Harry Potter to take a lesson in the game. He looked so much like the character that 9-year-old Seth Robinson called out to “Harry” and requested a picture with him.
Peter obliged, then talked with Seth as if they were standing on the grounds of Hogwarts until it was time to take a lesson in “Kidditch,” as the game is called for the younger set.
Brinsley Thigpen, the CEO of the Augusta Sports Council, said she hopes the tournament will lead to the creation of a local team. There are no teams from Georgia competing this weekend, she said.
IQA Regional Director Lindsay Fussell said she would be happy to talk to representatives from any school interested in forming a team. She founded a team at her alma mater, the University of South Florida, in 2011 and hopes the tournament will draw out more people locally who are interested in playing.
Thigpen said she likes that quidditch attracts people who would not ordinarily be considered athletes to a competitive sport.
For more information about the International Quidditch Association, contact Fussell at email@example.com.