Did you say Quidditch?
Did you say Quidditch?
Diversity, sense of sharing, community: The game originated from people enthusiastic about Harry Potter and is redefining what a sport is. sportanddev.org met Harrison Homel, executive director of the International Quidditch Association.
Still at an impressively young age, the founder of the International Quidditch Association Harrison Homel talked to us about the NGO he created in 2010. The idea was born from “matches played between friends on a Saturday afternoon” with a broomstick between the legs in search for the “snitch” while avoiding “bludgers”, all according to the rules inspired by and adapted from J.K. Rowling’s books.
A sport for all
“We have lots of former athletes, in particular, American football players. It’s not at all limited to Harry Potter fans”. Quidditch has become more than a student’s game, it’s a sport with rules followed by approximately 20 federations located globally, which gave light to the first Global Games in 2012 and the first European Games in July of this year.
It’s also a mixed gender sport. “When Harry Potter first was published, men and women played together and that never shocked anyone”, explained Harrison. “It is unfortunate that we are still talking about gender equity as an issue today. Maybe this will be different in the future.” In many ways the Harry Potter books take a progressive stance on a number of social issues, and whilst Quidditch is largely moving away from its origins into its own competitive sporting culture, the progressive influences from the books are clear to see when it comes to the sport’s values.
Quidditch is a sport that is aimed at bringing people together. “Everyone wants to win, but there is also a real sense of community. At the end of a match, no one is angry, everyone is happy just to be there”.
Spreading the game elsewhere
When we asked him if he sees a future for his sport in developing countries, Harrison’s eyes came to life. “In Uganda, we helped an enthusiast who is director of an NGO and school but who didn’t have access to equipment. We went to see him and gave them the equipment.”
“People came from the surrounding villages to play, children even brought their friends. It’s really inspiring for us to see that Quidditch can contribute to developing a community. I would like to see these projects develop all over the world."
Uniting sport and literacy
One of the most exciting aspects of Quidditch from a sport and development point of view is the link between the sport and opportunities to promote literacy skills. The IQA website states,“literacy promotion as an integral part of our organisation”.
Football is such a popular development tool because it has wide appeal, something that the literary world of Harry Potter also enjoys. The link between the sport of Quidditch, literacy education, and even progressive social values is seemingly a natural fit, and one that sport and development organisations could better explore. Did you say Quidditch? Yes we did.
This article has been translated by the operating team from an article featured on the French sportanddev.org website (14/08/2015)