Quidditch comes to life in Roseville
Real sports leagues spawned fantasy sports leagues.
Eight years ago, two college students in Vermont took a fantasy sport and turned it into a real sport.
Quidditch, the high-speed, rollercoaster game played on flying brooms in the mega-hit movie series “Harry Potter,” now has real teams that play real games and strive to win a real World Cup.
To play in that World Cup, teams will have to qualify through Western Cup IV, right here in Roseville. A field of 18 coed teams — from the NAU Narwhals and Remus’ Riverside Runners to the Moscow Manticores and Golden Snitches — will compete Saturday and Sunday at Maidu Park for six berths in the World Cup on April 13-14 in Kissimmee, Fla.
There is no home team in this tournament, not even a team from the Sacramento valley. So why, then, would Placer Valley Tourism place a bid — and the winning bid, at that — for the event?
“One of our major focuses is on participatory sporting events,” said David Attaway, CEO of Placer Valley Tourism. “We love all participatory items. This is a new and emerging venture. We just want to support them. The Roseville area has a great reputation in youth activities. This seems to be another one.”
Middlebury College students Alex Benepe and Xander Manshel took the movie version of quidditch and, well, brought it down to Earth. Quidditch is played seven on seven — three chasers, two beaters, a seeker and a keeper — on a pitch about the size of a hockey rink.
Not surprisingly, the game blew up on college campuses across the nation. There were two teams for the first World Cup.
“It just ballooned from there,” said Alexis Bristor, director for Western Cup IV.
There are now 857 teams in the United States, including 73 in California, and another 150 or so in the rest of the world.
Attaway and Donna Dotti, director of sales for Placer Valley Tourism, traveled to several sports conferences where quidditch was represented. Attaway said Dotti was aggressive and assembled a professional proposal. It was one of three bids.
Roseville tied San Francisco in the first round of voting, according to Attaway. Bristor said “a lot of people” preferred Los Angeles, but Roseville earned the nod in the next round.
“Roseville just had a better bid and was a lot more excited for us to come,” Bristor said.
Games will be played all day Saturday and Sunday, and anyone who wants to give quidditch a try can pick up a broom on a designated field.
Contact Bill Poindexter at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at BillP_RsvPT.
IQA WESTERN CUP IV
When/Where: Saturday and Sunday at Maidu Park in Roseville
Saturday: Opening ceremony at 10 a.m., pool and bracket play from 10:30 a.m. to 7:20 p.m. Sunday: Bracket play at 9 a.m., semifinals at 1:40 p.m., all-star game at 4:20, final at 5:30, party at 8.
Teams: Arizona State Sun Devils, Golden Snitches, Hollywood Harpies, Moscow Manticores, NAU Narwhals, OWLS, Oxy Doxies, Remus’ Riverside Runners, Santa Barbara Blacktips, Silicon Valley Skrewts, Stanford, The Lost Boys, UBC Quidditch, UC Berkeley, UCLA Quidditch, University of Arizona, USC Quidditch, Utah Crimson Fliers.
Muggle quidditch: As in the “Harry Potter” movie series, quidditch involves players on two teams flying on brooms and trying to score by sending a ball through one of three hoops on each side of the pitch. Back home, we Earthlings can’t fly, but athletes still must play the game while carrying a broom between the legs. The field is about the size of a hockey rink. Quidditch is played seven on seven.
Equipment: A volleyball takes the place of the quaffle. A dodgeball takes the place of the three bludgers, and the snitch usually is a tennis ball stuffed into a gold sock, which is tucked into the back of the snitch runner’s shorts.