Grown-Up Potter Fans Compete In Quidditch Cup

Whatever happened to those Harry Potter-obsessed 11- and 12-year-olds who devoured the books and went everywhere dressed as Harry and Hermione? They're in college now, and instead of the usual campus sports, you'll find some of them running around on brooms, chasing the snitch. (See photos below.) We visited the College Quidditch World Cup finals in Vermont to see how the game is played by young adults with brooms that can't actually fly.

College Quidditch World Cup finals

While the spirit of Harry Potter is present — there are owls here and minstrel music — it's first and foremost a sport and competition. Many of the players haven't even read the books; they just like the game. Here, members of the McGill team chant as they march toward Middlebury's Mead Chapel, just before the World Cup. Sean Hurley/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Sean Hurley/NPR
One Team Huddles

The spirited Chestnut Hill College team, one of 12 teams from colleges across the U.S. and Canada, gathers for inspiration before its first match. Sean Hurley/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Sean Hurley/NPR
Overview Shot

The players lift their brooms from the muddy turf, lock them between their thighs and then pretend to take flight. There are two separate objectives to the game — scoring points by throwing the quaffle (a volleyball) through one of the other team's three hoops, and capturing the snitch, a weighted sock hanging out the back of the shorts of a cross-country runner dressed in all gold. Sean Hurley/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Sean Hurley/NPR
Brooms and Guys

Alex Benepe (left), a senior at Vermont's Middlebury College, was master of ceremonies for this year's World Cup. He is one of the primary forces behind expansion of the sport among real people. Brooms, ball (right) and imagination are key elements of the game. Middlebury won the World Cup title this year, beating out Vassar College for the second year in a row. Sean Hurley/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Sean Hurley/NPR

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