Quidditch World Cup teams landed in Manhattan this weekend for the fourth annual Quidditch World Cup, with players arriving from 16 states and 46 colleges, according to CBS News.
The down-to-earth version of the game brings to life J. K. Rowling's magical characters from the Harry Potter series, with players holding broomsticks between their legs and using a quaffle or deflated volleyball to score goals.
Described as a cross between rugby, dodge ball, and tag, the fantasy game between "chasers" and "beaters" is now played in over 400 colleges and 300 high schools in the U.S., and has attracted adherents in 12 other countries, according to Fox News.
Harry Potter's magical snitch has transformed from a golden orb into a live player dressed in gold, with a tennis ball in a sock hanging from his shorts.
Catching the snitch raises the points tally and brings the game to an end. It is no mean feat as the snitch can hide in the most unusual places.
“Snitches have been known to ride on bicycles across the field; snitches have hid in families in the stands; in 2008 a snitch appeared at the top of one of the buildings,” Alicia Radford, International Quidditch Association spokesperson, told Fox News.
Radford said the game's popularity had not been anticipated at all since it was founded in Vermont.
"Quidditch got its start in 2005 at Middlebury College," she said. "It was just kind of a Sunday afternoon dorm sport."
While there has been argument as to the value of Quidditch on the school campus, Radford said the general agreement is that it's fun and it's going to stay.
Some people are even considering making it an official NCAA sport, Entertainment Weekly reported.