Where can students play Quidditch in Minnesota?

Almost as good as flying

The latest Harry Potter movie is out — but it has no Quidditch!

Not to fear. Students on a number of Minnesota campuses have already gotten their fix of the sport on several campuses in Minnesota and the rest of the country.

Check out the video below by student Ben Hovland on the league at St. Olaf, which plays Quidditch both in the fall and spring — and a little in the winter.

No idea what I’m talking about? Watch the video below to see how it’s played in the movies:

St. Olaf’s student paper, the Manitou Messenger, reports huge demand for a place in the league:

With 250 people initially signed up for the mailing list and a group of around 30 regular attendees, this new sport has taken St. Olaf by storm.

“As mystical as Harry Potter is, to bring Quidditch into the real world is cool,” sophomore and Quidditch Commissioner Laurel Midthun told me. “And to unite all the Harry Potter nerds at St. Olaf is really cool.”

The best part? Ultimately, it’s the camaraderie, Midthun said. Where else could you trade obscure Harry Potter references and have everyone around you get them?

The toughest part? Holding a broom between your legs for such a long time.

And make no mistake: Despite the nerdy trappings, the game can get physical.

Midthun told me:

“Sometimes I’m reffing, and the scariest part of my day is making sure people don’t hurt themselves. Some are super physical and attack one another. … I’m always afraid someone is going to get their eye poked out because they’re holding a broom between their legs. But we haven’t sustained anything serious.”

Her Quidditch team has its own Facebook page. (You can look at more St. Olaf Quidditch pictures here.) And according to the International Quidditch Association — yes, you read that right — Minnesota has either active or forming teams at St. Cloud State University, University of Minnesota-Morris, College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University, Minnesota State University Mankato and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Carleton College also has a program, and even more may be out there.

Update: The U’s Ryan Maus just pointed out the U’s Quidditch video:

For more videos — thanks to City Pages for pointing them out — check out this glamorized one on the team at the University of Washington in Seattle:

And this one on the Emerson College team:

So what’s the campus reaction to all this?

St. Olaf Quidditch referee Anthony Balbo, who occasionally plays the position of “keeper,” told me:

Other students often don’t know what to make of our group when they hear about it, but everyone who has shown up, either to watch or to play, has been duly impressed.