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Introducing Harry Potter’s Sport to Elementary Schools

BU’s championship quidditch team seeks grant

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BU quidditch players hope to sweep up some money for elementary schools. Photo by Melody Komyerov

Harry Potter would approve: BU’s quidditch team is helping lobby Pepsi for $25,000 to start elementary school teams in the wizard-world sport.

Quidditch, as fans of J. K. Rowling’s Potter books know, involves broomstick-flying players trying to throw balls through goalposts. A real-world version, in which gravity-bound mortals run with brooms between their legs, is played at more than 150 American campuses. The New York–based International Quidditch Association (IQA) has proposed a nationwide elementary school program and is seeking money from Pepsi’s grant-giving Refresh Project.

The project awards millions of dollars each year for ideas that “have a positive impact on the community,” says its website. The ideas are submitted by applicants and chosen by online voting open to all American residents 13 and older. Under Pepsi’s rules, you can vote once a day until the end of May, says Katie Stack (CAS’11), cofounder and captain of BU’s quidditch team, which is fresh off a championship win at the IQA’s Northeast Regional Tournament, played May 1 at Hofstra University, in Hempstead, N.Y. The BU squad bested 13 other teams in the Empire Classic tournament.

“Quidditch is an intense physical sport, but also a culture of whimsicality and lightheartedness,” says Stack. “The sport has provided me with a great outlet for stress and anxiety. At least once a week, I’m able to run around and tackle people, all the while holding a broom.” On this year’s BU Global Day of Service, the BU team played a game with a local Boys and Girls Club, and the kids had a blast, she says.

“We ran a few drills, scrimmaged a bit, and took a mid-afternoon break in order to read a chapter on quidditch from Harry Potter,” Stack says, culminating in a discussion with the kids of the importance of both literacy and exercise. With a grant to start programs in schools, “we can teach kids to dream big. In a way, magic does exist in the real world,” she says. The grant would buy quidditch equipment for elementary school players, as well as pay for some travel and promotional materials.

BU team goalie Abdullah Al-Mutairi (SAR’11) agrees on the value to schoolchildren: “Quidditch is a way for misfits to get together to celebrate their quirkiness. It’s a fun way to meet other people who don’t take themselves too seriously, and it gives kids a chance to feel like part of a team even if they’ve never been involved with anything sport-related.”

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In the video above, watch scenes from the 2008 Intercollegiate Quidditch World Cup and hear members of BU’s team describe the sport.

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

1 Comments

One Comment on Introducing Harry Potter’s Sport to Elementary Schools

  • Anonymous on 05.26.2011 at 6:20 am

    Terminology

    “goalie”? In quidditch they’re called “keepers”

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