Quidditch World Cup VI this weekend

The top 80 collegiate teams from all over the world will compete in the sixth annual Quidditch Cup this weekend. Yes, it's an actual sport.

By , Contributor

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    A player grabs a broom before a Quidditch scrimmage.
    Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP
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Quidditch, the game all young "Harry Potter" fans wished was real (older ones secretly did too) is now an intercollegiate sport. And they have tournaments. This year, more than 80 college quidditch teams will meet in Kissimmee, Fla., for Quidditch World Cup VI.

In the "Harry Potter" books and movies, Quidditch was a mix of baseball, handball, soccer, rugby and basketball (and tag) played on enchanted broomsticks. Muggles, instead, have to make the best of dealing with four different balls while keeping an earth-bound broomstick between their legs at all times while in play.

Settling seems to be the standard for Muggle Quidditch: Quaffles become "slightly deflated volleyballs" and the golden snitch becomes a 15th player (each team has seven on its side) dressed in yellow with a ball inside of a golden sock sticking out of the back of his pants, says Bleacher Report.

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Still, Muggle quidditch at the collegiate level looks like fun and its appeal is spreading rapidly. Begun just seven years ago at Middlebury College in Vermont, the International Quidditch Association now has more than 1,000 teams registered globally. This year, teams from Canada, Mexico, and France will all be playing in the tournament, as well as teams from US schools including Johns Hopkins, NYU, and UCLA

You can read the official rulebook, or watch the games live-streamed this weekend.

In addition to the action on the quidditch field, there should also be plenty of entertainment on the sidelines. Described in press reports as "a cross between the superbowl and the medieval festival," the Quidditch Cup has been known to attract all sorts of family-oriented activities, including live bands, fans in costumes, improv comedian commentators, and a "kidditch pitch" to teach kids of all ages how to play the sport.

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