Quidditch, the alpha sport of Hogwarts and the general wizarding world, the ultimate test of flying ability, agility and speed, where heroes rise and losers literally fall, is now at a college near you.
Harry Potter fans, mount your brooms and put on some funny-looking clothes, because Quidditch is the newest sport on some college campuses. Middlebury and Vassar Colleges had a tournament recently, and several other schools have followed suit. The grounded version involves people running around with brooms between their legs, a human Snitch who has a tennis ball in a sock hanging out of his or her shorts and can lead Seekers over half the campus, and crazy outfits bearing team names taken straight from the pages of J.K. Rowling. Capes are required and even faculty serving as announcers dress in wizarding outfits.
Now I have to say this: I read and loved Harry Potter, I stood in massive crowds at midnight in Barnes and Noble, and I understand that he was really written for our generation, as we were in late elementary and middle school when the books first appeared. I have enjoyed all of the seven books; I laughed, I cried, I threw the book at the wall a few times. But never did I feel the urge to run around with a broomstick between my legs and a makeshift Snitch hanging out of my pants. Nor did I base my college decision on whether or not Quidditch was an extracurricular offering, as the dean of admissions at Middlebury reports some new freshmen did.
Honestly, what's wrong with just letting fiction be fiction? I mean, kudos to the creativity of our generation, and I suppose there are worse things one could be doing in college, but I worry about the kind of person who decides that a magical sport played with flying brooms and enchanted game balls should be made into reality. I think someone's been drinking a little too much butterbeer. What's next? Shall we build a Chamber of Secrets obstacle course? Hold wand dueling classes? Host a Tri-Wizard Tournament? Yes, you bring the mermaids; I'll bring the fire-breathing dragons.
I'm sure J.K. Rowling is sitting in a nice comfy chair somewhere estimating how much money she would make from royalties if Quidditch became a full-fledged college sport. The Harry Potter phenomenon has reached disturbing heights in recent years, and the woman is making a fortune. It saddens me that people can't just read the books and enjoy them for the wonderfully written fictional escapes that they are. No, we need to have Harry Potter capes, and glasses, and broomsticks, and Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, and spellbooks, and Quidditch, and… fill in the blank.
Apparently, college students these days have too much time on their hands, or some aversion to getting involved in things that really matter. Sadly, I am aware of the fact that I have now informed a few thousand college students about the Quidditch movement. I suppose it's only a matter of time before Royaltees has to start screening "Geneseo Quidditch" T-shirts. Bloody hell.