Harry Potter's favorite game of Quidditch is continuing to sweep US college campuses with techniques and rules making matches more competitive. The real-life game that began at Middlebury has "grown up," and now involves deadly serious faceoffs, new brooms (that don't make players fly), and a 60-team World Quidditch Cup scheduled next month in a Manhattan park. But the game, like the wizard world, is wracked by conflict, with many players seeking to keep the fanciful nature of the "sport," while serious athletes are pushing for cutthroat competition, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Pushing, tripping, and tackling is allowed, and the game can become quite brutal as players with brooms (like the $59 Scarlet Falcon) in their hands or clutched between legs attempt to score goals by hurling a quaffle though elevated hoops. "When I saw how brutal the sport is, I thought I would like to try it," says a former high school football player who started a team at Purdue last year. "Some people still think it's a joke, but when they watch it, they're shocked at how physical it is," adds a student who helped found a team at Texas A&M. But she's worried it might get too intense. "It's good to be competitive, but we need to keep some of our original values."