Quidditch may be a big sport in the wizard world, but it's going to take one Hagrid-sized show to turn the heads of Olympics brass.
A tournament taking place July 8-9 in Oxford, England, could be the next step towards making the sport, which was invented by J.K. Rowling for the Harry Potter books, into an actual Olympic event.
Billed as the Quidditch Summer Games, the event will feature five national teams representing the UK, USA, Canada, France, and Australia that will be competing as part of the Olympic torch relay celebration, held as the official torch passes through the town.
Though the sport was created by an English author, early handicapping by the Bleacher Report suggests the USA is the team to beat, mainly because of the depth of players available. Almost 150 different players were nominated for the team, and only 21 made it onto the final roster.
Quidditch as a real-life game debuted in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont, but has since expanded to roughly 300 universities and high schools around the world, according to BUToday.com.
In fact, the 2011 Quidditch World Cup, held on Randall’s Island near Manhattan last November, drew 96 teams from as far away as Finland.
The rules, as laid out by J.K. Rowling, can seem a bit complex, but here are the basics:
There are two teams of seven players each and there are three goals at the end of each field that are protected by a "keeper."
Each team has three chasers who try to get the "quaffle" in their opponent’s goals. Meanwhile, two "beaters" use "bludgers" to hit the other team's players and prevent them from scoring while the "seekers" on each team try to catch the "snitch," which is worth many points.
Confused? Us too. But it's as close as possible to the version in the Harry Potter books, except for the flying brooms.
Though the tournament is part of pre-Olympic celebrations, it might be a while before Quidditch is added to the actual games. But there is one sign that the sport might eventually make the cut, according to Team USA's seeker Tyler Macy.
"The team that wins Quidditch is invited to watch the lighting of the torch," he told JCOnline.com.