Alright, you’ve caught me. I have to admit that I honestly know little about sports. What? You mean to tell me that a person who writes articles about video games and Harry Potter from the comfort of her couch has little to no knowledge about the complex rules and nature of popular sporting activities? Color me shocked.
While it is true that real life is not an 80s teen movie where every single person is only allowed one interest and everything that goes against that interest is prohibited, I am not one of those revolutionary people that transcend high school labels and blend seamlessly into every social group category that there is. Though I do have a casual interest in baseball, football, and soccer (thanks to movies starring the likes of Hilary Duff and Amanda Bynes who I was utterly obsessed with in my formative years), I am a video game playing, 18th-century literature loving, true to my core geek. And I am okay with that.
However, there is one sport that I know the ins and outs of and have more to say than “Did you see that ludicrous display last night?” And that sport is Quidditch. Thanks to hundreds of dorky university students like myself, Quidditch is now a real sport (with certain muggle orientated adjustments of course) that real people can play. And in honor of that, I present the sport loving Potterheads of the world with twenty-five fun facts all about one of the greatest sports of all time.
25 The 700 Unique Foul Plays
That’s right, you read that correctly. There are over 700 unique fouls that can occur during a game of Quidditch and it is the job of the game's referee to be on the lookout for each and every single one of them during every game of Quidditch. That is a lot of rules and infractions to be on the lookout for. And it is crucial that the ref retains constant vigilance throughout the match as Quidditch players (both professional and amateur) as well as their fans are known to fight dirty when they fear that their team might be losing.
24 Three Months And Counting
Since a game of Quidditch only ends when the Snitch is caught (unless both team captains override this rule unanimously), some Quidditch games have gone on for what seems like forever. Points will keep racking up on both sides but until that little fella is caught, no one can go home. The longest Quidditch match on record lasted three entire months. How is that possible? Players were switched out every few hours to allow them to rest, eat, and recuperate. I wonder how many fans stayed in their seats until that infamous match finally came to a close.
23 Give It To The Goblins
We all know that goblin crafted technology and hardware is simply far superior to anything that a wizard could make on their own. Which is why the Firebolt was such a revolutionary broom at the time in which it was made. Though the Nimbus series were brilliant and reliable brooms in their time, the Firebolt was the first broom to incorporate Goblin crafted iron work pieces into the mix and it truly paid off. The broom was literally flying off the shelves at the time of its release and quickly became the fastest racing broom in history to date.
22 No Dragons On The Pitch
In order for a game of Quidditch to run smoothly, safely, and efficiently, there needs to be some rules. Each rule was picked, argued over, and implemented by a committee dedicated to the regulation of the sport and if broken, every single one of these rules comes with heavy consequences. One of my favorite rules is the one that states “no dragon is to be introduced into the stadium for any purpose including, but not limited to, team mascot, coach, or cup warmer.” I wonder what event caused this ruling to be necessary for all future matches.
21 One Snitch To Win Them All... Or Not
It is important to note that the Snitch is not always the deciding factor when it comes to ending/winning a Quidditch match. In exceptional cases, captains can agree to end the match as is and either hold a rematch at a later date or to tally the current points and give the match to the team with the highest. Also noteworthy is the fact that obtaining the Snitch does not guarantee that your team will win. In some cases, if the opposing team has enough points, the 150 points that the snitch awards your team will not be enough.
20 Share The Glory
There is a bit of a debate within the Quidditch-loving community on when the World Cup officially started. Though the first reported game of the event which would come to be known as the World Cup occurred in 1473, this game only featured European teams. In fact, the rest of the wizarding world would not be invited to join the festivities until the 17th century. Since the majority of the world was not included in the early years of the competition, many fans believe that the event did not truly become the “world” cup until everyone was included.
19 Longest Running Sport
According to lore, myth, and legend, Quidditch is one of the longest-running games in wizarding history (and probably muggle history as well if we are being honest), as it has been played regularly for nearly 1000 years as the official version of the game, can be traced back to a spirited game held in the year 1050 at Queerditch Marsh. And though the game was played by both professionals and amateurs for centuries after its creation, the four year World Cup cycle was not established until the late 15th century.
18 ICWQC Has Its Hands Full
Since there are over 700 fouls in the game of Quidditch coupled with the extensive rules and practicality of holding matches (both big and small), the International Confederation of Wizards Quidditch Committee (which will be shortened to the ICWQC from here on out) which sees to basically every aspect of the sport always seems to have its hands filled with tasks, duties, and pesky legalities. In fact, the official rulebook which contains every single off/on pitch rule concerning magic and its use during and surrounding the game of Quidditch is approximately nineteen volumes long!
17 Origins Of Quidditch
Though Quidditch is a long-standing wizarding tradition, it is important to note that the sport (at its inception) was originally the combination of five other magical sports. Elements from each one of these sports were taken and combined to create the sport that we all know and love. Swivenhodge provided the quaffle and chasers. Stitchstock provided the keepers. Ainginein provided the scoring hoops. An unnamed Scottish game provided the beater and bludgers. And the game of Shuntbumps provided the tradition to attempt to knock players off of their brooms.
16 Finger Length Matters
One of the most entertaining aspects of sports is the ridiculous things in which egotistical players who cannot stand to lose blame their losses on. The list of excuses is seemingly endless. One of the most famous and amusing things that a Quidditch player blamed his loss on occurred in the year 1990 when a Scottish seeker accused his genetics of costing him the game as the snitch was literal millimeters away from the tips of his fingers. He claimed that if his father had blessed him with longer fingers that the win would have been his.
15 Krum Is At It Again
It is always a tad heartbreaking when a beloved athlete calls it quits and heads into retirement. But luckily for us, restlessness and an inability to adjust to civilian life usually brings many players back out onto the pitch, even if it is only temporary. In the year 2014, Bulgarian favorite Viktor Krum gave up on his attempts at retirement to return to the pitch once again and delight fans with a match well played. Devoted fans did not take the original news of his retirement well so one can only imagine their utter delight when he mounted that broom once again.
14 Not To Be Taken Lightly
In the early years of Harry's education, the Quidditch robes were heavy and not unlike the ones that the children wore as part of their standard uniform. But as the years went on and injuries became increasingly serious, helmets, increased padding, shoulder/chest protection, and lighter robes replaced the previous standard uniforms. It is important to note that most of the pads and guards were actually modeled after that which could be seen in early 20th-century muggle sports such as football.
13 A Snitch By Any Other Name
The snitch did not always exist in the form in which has been established and regularly used across the board. In earlier versions of the sport, the item that held this coveted spot within the game was actually a small bird called the ‘golden snidget.’ This pudgy little bird is completely round with a set of fully rotational wings and possesses an unparalleled ability to buzz about unpredictably. However, wizards began mass hunting the poor creature and it nearly went extinct. The bird is now protected and the snitch took its place within the game.
12 When Trees Attack
In the few centuries that this game has existed, there have been several noteworthy matches. In the year 1809, there was a match which included one frustrated player beating himself with his own broom and then setting his feet on fire while another player literally jinxed the trees of an entire forest to attack anyone who dared enter. The player then purposefully knocked a bludger into the trees. The trees magically came to life and began attacking every and any wizard in their path. The following battle lasted upwards of seven hours.
11 Wearing Out The Red Card
Note: there are no red cards in Quidditch. However, the muggle colloquialism was the easiest way in which to explain the sheer amount of fouls that occurred during this match. The professional Quidditch match, which was held in the year 1473, was a game which will go down in history for more than one reason. The first being that it began the tradition of the recurring World Cup. The second being that this match somehow managed to contain every single one of the aforementioned 700 fouls. Every single one.
10 The Muggles Can Never Know
The statute of secrecy provides a lot of logistical and legal issues, but none come close to the sheer amount of issues that hosting the World Cup creates. Members of the ICWQC need to secure a location that is big enough to house the game itself, the stadium in which it will be held, the teams and their families, and well as the thousands of fans and vendors that will be enjoying and viewing the match itself. All without alerting any nearby Muggles. After a remote and sizable location has been approved and secured additional memory charms, hidden enchantments, and illusion spells are placed.
9 Championship Qualifiers
Points are a very crucial aspect used in order to qualify for the Quidditch World Cup. Any team that wishes to qualify must ensure that their team meets all of the requirements, apply for consideration, and must beat out opposing teams for a minimum of sixteen rounds. In each and every one of these rounds, a win counts as 2 points. Though it is important to note that each group of fifty points counts towards additional points when hit. The teams with the most points by the end of this initial round of cuts will move onto the tournament style phase of the cup.
8 Charitable Quidditch Guides
The companion novel, Quidditch Through the Ages, which provides readers with historical information on the game, fun facts, and a brief overview of the main rules of the game was originally published in the muggle market by author J.K. Rowling in the year 2001. Though this book is readily available at muggle bookshops all across the world, it was originally released in order to benefit the Comic Relief charity. To date, 80% of each book's sales continue to be donated directly to said charity.
7 Mass Amnesia
Though there have been a lot of odd games throughout Quidditch’s lengthy history, the strangest match of all occurred in the year 1877. What made this match so bizarre? No one knows. Literally. No one has any idea what happened during this match. All that we know is that it ended with one player missing a number of teeth as well as half of the players on the opposing team being found tied up in the basement of a local pub. Not even the spectators have any clue what occurred on that fateful day.
6 Leave The Ref Alone
Any sports fan will know that athletes, their families, and even fans can get particularly touchy when their team's actions are being called into question. And after a series of mishaps, a strict rule was enacted in order to prevent any future referees from disgruntled witches or wizards. This rule states that “modification of any part of the referee’s body, whether or not he or she has requested such modification, will lead to a lifetime ban from the tournament and possibly imprisonment.” I.E. do not mess with the ref. Ever. Just don’t do it.
5 Ruined By Cowards
It would be impossible to write an article on Quidditch and avoid discussing one of the most famous matches in Wizarding history. I am talking, of course, about the 1994 match which our very own Harry Potter himself was in attendance. The celebrations following the outcome of this match were famously cut short when a group of cowards- I mean Death Eaters decided to march through the camping area setting fires, terrorizing people, and casting the dark mark into the sky.
4 Revenge Of The Dissimulators
In the year 1974, the newly appointed head of the ICWQC decided that banning wands from the stadiums was a good idea. And believe me when I say that there were protests, but they were ignored and the wands were banished. However, a group of defiant and clever witches and wizards disguised their wands as dissimulators and were able to successfully sneak in thousands of wands to this match. The rule was overturned and the man who appointed it soon left his post due to frustration and embarrassment.
3 Let's Wrap It Up
Qualifying for the World Cup is tough business and compared to the dozens of teams out there, very few make the cut. In order to keep things running smoothly, during the first sixteen rounds of cuts, games will be capped at four hours. Many games during this phase of the tournament ended without either team ever coming anywhere close to catching the snitch. But this time limit is done to ensure that games are completed in a short span of time which allows the victors to move on to the next stage of the competition far quicker than they could if no time limit was enforced.
2 Armed With A Wand
For the safety of both players and spectators, Quidditch players are allowed to bring their wands on the pitch during matches. Though it is important to note that they are rarely ever used. The wands are not allowed to be used in ways that will affect the game or the other players as that is seen as cheating and is grounds for disqualification or even banishment from the game itself. Also, it is very difficult to handle a wand while mounted on a broom, especially for beginner players. But players are allowed to bring their wands on the pitch in the case of emergencies and the like.
1 Real World Quidditch Domination
Quidditch is not just for the movies (or for wizards) anymore. The infamous sport has crossed over into the muggle world as Universities, clubs, and rowdy groups of friends across the globe have picked up their broomsticks and engaged in the beloved sport for themselves. In fact, this sport is regularly played in twenty-six different countries. I was even briefly on the team myself in my second year of university, though like Hermione Granger, I am far more comfortable as a spectator rather than an active participant.