ROCKFORD, IL — A new sport, straight out of children’s literature, is sweeping college campuses across the country and has landed in the Rockford region. Quidditch, created by J.K. Rowling for the Harry Potter children’s series, has traversed from fiction to reality and will hit the fields in Rockford. The Rockford region will host its first-ever Quidditch tournament April 26-27, 2013 on the Rockford Park District soccer fields by Elliot Golf Course.
According to the International Quidditch Association, the game was created by Middleburry College students in 2005 and quickly spread to other universities in New England and then across the United States. The sport now boasts more than 1,000 teams and is played on six different continents.
Some modifications have been made to accommodate the players’ lack of magical abilities. For example brooms remain grounded and the yellow snitch has traded its wings for legs.
The Quidditch tournament is a direct result of RACVB strategic efforts to target non-traditional sports, according to RACVB President/CEO John Groh. “The Rockford region has already made a name for itself in sports like soccer, softball and baseball. Now it’s time to grow by thinking outside the box. We’ve starting attracting events like cheer, dance, table tennis, billiards, chess, lacrosse and now quidditch. These types of events are a growing presence at national trade shows and open up entirely new markets for our community.”
Event organizers say they chose Rockford because they believe it will help them grow the sport and their tournament.
“What really appealed to me about hosting a tournament here in Rockford, was the possibility for future quidditch growth in the area. Rockford has some great facilities like Sportscore One and Two, and they would be potentially perfect locations to host a larger scale tournament in the future such as the Midwest Regionals or World Cup for quidditch,” said Shayla Johnson, the Illinois State Qidditch Representative. “Rockford is also centrally located, with easy access to hotels and other accommodations. This makes Rockford an ideal location to host a family event such as quidditch, so that many people are able to come and be a part of it.”
The event will fill 200 hotel room nights and generate an estimated $36,000 for area businesses.
Quidditch: History & Gameplay
Ground Quidditch originated from the imaginary sport that was featured in J.K Rowlings bestselling series Harry Potter.
It was formed by Middleburry College students in 2005. It quickly spread to other universities in New England and then across the United States.
Since then Ground Quidditch has spread internationally with a strong base in Europe, Australia and Canada.
There are currently eighty teams in the Midwest, including seven in Illinois.
The International Quidditch Association (IQA) organizes the teams.
In 2007 IQA held its first World Cup for official members.
Quidditch is played with seven players on each side.
Players must hold a broom between their legs at all times. If they dismount from their brooms they most go back to their hoops until they are remounted.
Quidditch is a full contact sport that is played with both male and females. Two members on each team (not including the seeker) must be of opposite gender of the majority gender.
There are four positions. Keeper closely associated with a goal tender. Chasers are the scorers. Beaters are defensive players. Seekers catch the snitch.
There are five balls. Three bludgers which are dodgeballs. A player hit with a bludger is essentially “knocked off” their broom and must go back to their hoops. A quaffle, which is similar to a volleyball, is used to score. The quaffle must go through one of the three hoops on the opposing times side. Each score is worth ten points. The keeper’s goal is to block potential scores. The seeker interacts with a “ball” which is really a person called the snitch runner. The snitch runner wears a flag similar to flag football in which the seeker must grab. A snitch grab not only ends the game but also gives the seekers team 30 points.
More on the snitch. The snitch runner is a no rules player. They do not play for either team and are typically very fast and physical. Their objective is to make the game last as long as possible.