Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Harry Potter and the Tide Wizard Tournament


Nearly 500 students will mount broomsticks, throw Quaffles, and dodge Bludgers on the Quad for World Cup Quidditch this weekend.

Based on the best-selling Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling, the tournament has exploded in popularity since it was first announced just one month ago and now has 47 registered teams, four sponsoring organizations, more than 100 volunteers and festivities galore to go alongside the event.

“We didn’t expect to have more than 20 teams,” said Andi Johnson, a senior majoring in English and a third-year Creative Campus intern. “I mean, who rides a broomstick in Tuscaloosa?”

The tournament has become so big, in fact, that preliminary rounds will be held at the Rec fields Thursday night beginning at 9 in order to accommodate all of the teams, and five fields will be created on the Quad for Sunday afternoon’s festivities, which will begin at noon and last until about 6 p.m., Johnson said.

The game will be played by teams of seven to twelve players dressed in capes, though only seven players will be on the field at one time.

The players will throw deflated volleyballs, or Quaffles, through wooden hoops to score points, but they must dodge Bludgers, or dodgeballs, while doing so. They also must keep their broomsticks between their legs the entire time.

“It’s pretty funny,” said Alexandra Tucci, a junior majoring in advertising and a second-year Creative Campus intern. “If you’re hit by a Bludger, you have to run around the field two times, which is supposed to represent the amount of time it would take you to get back on your broom in wizarding Quidditch. And you still have to keep your broomstick between your legs.”

Each match will end whenever one of the team’s Seekers captures the Snitch, or a tennis ball carried by a cross-country runner dressed from head-to-toe in gold.

“The Snitch is like a jester,” Tucci said. “They are allowed to hide, climb trees, cause tricks and interact with the audience. They have boundaries and time limits for how long they can leave the field, but only the Snitches, not the teams, know the restrictions.”

But watching Quidditch matches isn’t the only activity that spectators and players have to look forward to on Sunday. There will be free face painting, wand making and house sorting throughout the tournament. Butterbeer (a Harry Potter beverage,) candied apples and popcorn can be purchased from Bama Dining, Johnson said.

There will also be booths representing the 47 competing countries, and these will include flags, literature, information about study abroad programs and more.

“It’s very festival-like,” Johnson said. “We encourage everyone to bring shakers, lawn chairs and blankets and cheer on a country.”

Creative Campus, in conjunction with the Honors College Assembly, will also be hosting a book drive to benefit the Alabama Literacy Initiative, she said. Teams and spectators are asked to donate books at the event that is itself, after all, wholly inspired by a book.

“This isn’t just a tournament,” Tucci said. “It’s a celebration of cultures around the world, and it’s a celebration of literacy and ways in which a book, a common experience of reading a book, can bring people together. Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon, as this event showcases. Most of us were Harry Potter’s age when the first book came out, and we grew up with him. Maybe this is a silly event, but our campus needs more silliness. A game that promotes literacy and brings this many people together is of good merit.”

World Cup Quidditch is sponsored by Creative Campus, University Recreation, the Alabama International Relations Club and the Honors College Assembly and is free to attend.

T-shirts are on sale at Maxwell Hall for $7.50 but can also be purchased online at for $8. For more information about the event, go to

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