Encounter: Quidditch Players

Established: 2013 — These Muggles are wizards on the field.

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Fourteen competitors race across the field, all with broomsticks between their legs to simulate flying, one with a tennis ball swinging from a yellow sock attached to his yellow shorts. The “golden” Snitch has been released, and the Seekers are doing their damnedest to steal the ball-tail from him to score. Meanwhile, the Chasers are vying for possession of the Quaffle, while the opposing Keepers try to block their goals, and the mischievous Bludgers—oh, never mind, it’s a lot to take in. But once you get the hang of Quidditch, brought to life from the pages of the Harry Potter books, you might fall under its spell.

This is how the members of Indianapolis Intensity, a Major League Quidditch team, spend their summers. From June to August, these athletes compete against 15 other teams—14 in the United States and one from Canada—for the championship. It may be born from fantasy, but those who play take it seriously, and spend hours practicing, just like in any other sport.

Unlike most other athletic pursuits, though, Quidditch is fairly new. The game itself is only a little over a decade old, and MLQ is even younger—this is just the league’s fourth year. Since MLQ is the highest level of competition for the game, it’s difficult to get on the team. But if you’re a Muggle who’s really serious about Quidditch, give it a shot—tryouts are this month.

And if you settle in at Broad Ripple Park’s baseball diamond for one of the Intensity’s games this summer but can’t quite grasp it, don’t worry—some players’ families don’t, either, and they’ve been watching for a while. Just sit back and enjoy the magic.

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