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Quidditch tournament brings game to life

Posted: March 4, 2013 - 3:48pm
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Florida International University chaser Joel Aguilera (center) attempts to score by throwing the volleyball, or quaffle, through the hoop as Liz Hammond (right), of North Augusta and a student at College of Charleston, defends during College of Charleston's 70-30 win over Florida International University at the International Quidditch Association's Southern Regional Championship in North Augusta on Saturday, March 2, 2013. Winners of the tournament will fill the remaining spots for the World Cup. JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF    JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
Florida International University chaser Joel Aguilera (center) attempts to score by throwing the volleyball, or quaffle, through the hoop as Liz Hammond (right), of North Augusta and a student at College of Charleston, defends during College of Charleston's 70-30 win over Florida International University at the International Quidditch Association's Southern Regional Championship in North Augusta on Saturday, March 2, 2013. Winners of the tournament will fill the remaining spots for the World Cup. JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF

Peter Thompson strolled around the Riverview Park's soccer fields Saturday taking pictures with whomever asked for them. There were quite a few requests.

The lanky 15-year-old with the brown hair and glasses, wearing a tie and a Hogwart’s robe, closely resembled Harry Potter and looked right at home at the 2013 International Quidditch Association Regional Tournament.

After all, the sport was inspired by his favorite book series. Thompson was there to take his first Kidditch lesson – a children’s version of the game.

It also gave him a chance to mingle with other Harry Potter enthusiasts, he said.

In the novels, the game of quidditch is played on flying broomsticks. In the“muggle” version, players run with broomsticks.

Thompson said he enjoyed watching the sport “the way we would have to play it,” he said. “I really like the aspect, how they made it possible to play it as an actual sport," he said.

The game originated at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vt., when college students decided to bring the game to life. The IQA was formed in 2010 and has grown to include 864 teams across the country.

Three people on a team can score, one person guards the goal and two people can knock opposing team members off their brooms, removing them from scoring. Two seekers search for the snitch, a tennis ball inside of a sock tied to the snitch runner’s waist. Once the snitch is caught, the game is over, he said. Meanwhile, other players try to get the quaffle – a larger ball – to their goal while dodging bludgers– balls that are thrown at players.

The weekend tournament served as a qualifier for the IQA’s World Cup, which will be held April 14-15 in Kissimmee, Fla.

Brinsley Thigpen, the CEO of the Augusta Sports Council, said she hopes the tournament will lead to the creation of a local team.

There were no teams from Georgia competing, she said. The closest team was from Columbia.

IQA Regional Director Lindsay Fus­sell said she would be happy to talk to representatives from any school interested in forming a team. She founded a team at her alma mater, the University of South Florida, in 2011 and hopes the tournament will draw out more people locally who are interested in playing.

Thigpen said she likes that quidditch attracts people who would not ordinarily be considered athletes to a competitive sport.

For more information, contact Fussell at lindsay.fussell@
internationalquidditch.org.

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