Arts and Entertainment

Quidditch comes to Kitsap; The sport made popular in the Harry Potter series comes to life | Kitsap Week

Owls have become a symbol of the Harry Potter series. And while Harry Potter fans can’t keep an owl, they can play the imaginative game that has come from the pages to the field.   - File Photo
Owls have become a symbol of the Harry Potter series. And while Harry Potter fans can’t keep an owl, they can play the imaginative game that has come from the pages to the field.
— image credit: File Photo

For Harry Potter fans, July 15 will be a bittersweet day. It’s opening day for the last movie in the mega-hit series, based on the books by J.K. Rowling.

Whether they first met Harry Potter under the staircase of his cruel aunt and uncle’s house while reading the book, or at the opening of the first film, or renting the movie later, Potter’s die-hard fans have savored every moment. And while the next movie will provide a couple of hours of long-awaited entertainment, it also signals the end of the line for the series.

Sarah Jowdy, a Harry Potter fan and an employee at Olympic Soccer & Sports Center in Bremerton, saw this as the perfect opportunity to bring Quidditch to Kitsap. The first Quidditch Tournament will take place on July 30 at Olympic Soccer & Sports Center.

“This is the best timing, with all the hype of the movie release,” Jowdy said.

Fans who are mourning the end of the series and asking themselves, “What do I do now?,” can play the imaginative sport created in the book.

Of course, there are a few minor adjustments.

For one, until someone invents a reasonably priced flying broomstick, this version of Quidditch will be played on the ground. And, in fact, in this first tournament, broomsticks won’t be used at all.

“In some more competitive leagues, broomsticks are used and have strict guidelines on the size and weight of the sticks,” Jowdy said.

Since this is the center’s first crack at entering the Quidditch arena, the organizers decided to eliminate broomsticks altogether, based on not knowing the ages of the participants. Jowdy said depending on how competitive the center’s tournament becomes, they may consider adding broomsticks in the future.

For those unfamiliar with Quidditch, the game takes elements from popular games such as soccer, rugby, dodgeball and basketball and blends the sports together.

As in the game of soccer, referees will issue yellow or red cards if players become too aggressive.

The purpose of the game is to get the team’s balls through the opposing goal. This is accomplished through passing, throwing and kicking. Meanwhile, offense players need to steer clear of balls thrown by the defense. If they are hit (like in the game of dodgeball), players must drop any ball they have, run back down the field and tag their goal to reenter the play.

Unlike the Quidditch matches in the Harry Potter series, there will be a time limit of about 25 minutes per game.

On college campuses, Quidditch has become a popular club sport. There’s even an International Quidditch Association website, complete with rules, conditioning tactics and news about the game. A recent news story told of a player in Texas who is petitioning the University Interscholastic League to make Quidditch a sanctioned high school sport. If the measure passes, students would be able to letter in Quidditch.

Jowdy hopes to hold a Quidditch tournament annually, or better yet, every six months.

“In this game, there is a little bit for everybody, which should make it popular,” she said.

Because Quidditch is such an unique game, it levels the playing field. Athletes and non-athletes alike can participate.

Jowdy and other Olympic Soccer & Sports Center staff members consulted the International Quidditch Association’s rule book when planning the tournament, but aren’t sticking with the complete 54-page guide.

“We’ve dumbed it down to about four paragraphs,” Jowdy said.

She hopes to see children as well as adults take part in the game.

“Nothing’s cooler than starting a new sport with a bunch of people who don’t know how to play,” Jowdy said. “Players shouldn’t feel self-conscious about their skills, because nobody will have them.”

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Quidditch Tournament:

Children and adult leagues are forming for the Quidditch tournament to be held on July 30.  Participants can register as a team or as individuals. Cost is $150 for a team of eight to 10 players, or $20 per person.

If you register as an individual, Olympic Soccer & Sports Center will place you on a team based on your age level.

Players are guaranteed at least three games . To register for the Quidditch Tournament, visit www.olympicindoorsoccer.com. The tournament will be held at 1199 Union Ave. in Bremerton.

For more information about the sport, including rules and photos, visit the International Quidditch Association  website, www.internationalquidditch.org.

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