There May Not Be Flying, But Quidditch Still Creates Magic

Quidditch leapt from the screen to real-life muggle fields in 2005. Now, it's grown big enough to have a major league, and the intensity and athleticism involved is anything but fictional.

When Colby Palmer started his freshman year at Virginia Commonwealth University, some students approached him in his dorm and asked whether he wanted to play quidditch.

Palmer had read all of the Harry Potter books and knew about the sport but said he felt reluctant to try it out.

"My impressions of quidditch was just that it's for nerds by nerds — that they wouldn't be like people who I would find things in common with," Palmer says.

Despite his hesitations, Palmer did give it a try and found he loved it and the community. Now, he's heading into his senior year at VCU and is spending the summer playing for the Washington Admirals, one of 16 Major League Quidditch teams. The season starts this weekend.

Maybe you've never heard of quidditch. And you might have missed the images of actor Daniel Radcliffe as the boy wizard Harry Potter plunging toward the ground on a flying broomstick in the screen adaptation of J.K. Rowling's series. If that is the case, you have a lot to learn. But then again, so does everyone who comes to the sport.

"There's such a dichotomy within the community because there are people who got into it because of Harry Potter and became athletic through friendship and playing, and then there are people like me who are looking for something to really stay in shape," Palmer says.

Quidditch 101

Unlike the majority of large spectator sports, quidditch is more complex — partly because

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR3 min read
How Hard Are Tariffs Hitting The Economy? It Depends On Who You Ask
The U.S. economy is still growing, but trade tensions have taken a toll — especially on factories and farms. The trade war's impact on the overall economy is being debated.
NPR3 min read
Opera Star Vittorio Grigolo Fired By Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera
His simultaneous dismissal from two of the world's leading opera houses comes after an investigation into allegations of misconduct during a Royal Opera performance in Tokyo.
NPR2 min read
Freddie Gibbs And Madlib: Tiny Desk Concert
The enigmatic and reclusive producer Madlib joins hard-hitting emcee Freddie Gibbs for one of the most memorable Tiny Desks of the year.