It's called Quidditch.
For some it's a word as familiar as "soccer", or "hot dog", or "quaffle". For others, the word can only rationally be construed as the name for an indistinct geological formation.
Whatever "Quidditch" means to you, you may be aware that it is an activity no longer tethered to the pages of the tale about the life of a boy for whom the laws of physics do not apply. It is a real sport played by real people on very real broomsticks. And although the players may not actually be zipping through the air above an irrationally designed Quidditch pitch (how do people get up there?), they play their positions with enough gusto as if they truly were.
So if the absence of a certain owl-born letter around your thirteenth birthday is still a touchy subject for you, we encourage you to check your local listings for real quidditch teams. Trust us, there are many.
How to play real quidditch:
You may have some entirely reasonable questions about this sport such as "are robes required to play", "is there still a snitch", and "if they don't fly, how does it even work", to which the respective answers are "no", "yes", and "let me explain".
The sport of real quidditch, or "muggle quidditch" as it is also known, is played between two teams of seven players. One seeker, three chasers, two beaters and one keeper.
Seekers spend the game chasing and trying to catch the snitch. As opposed to the small and winged golden ball on which the ficitonal game centered, the muggle snitch is a tennis ball inside a sock tucked in the waistband of a neutral player called the "snitch runner". The snitch runner leaves the field at the start of the game and is free to wander where he may.
Chasers are the goal scorers of quidditch. Throwing or kicking "quaffles" - or slightly deflated volleyballs - into the hoops placed on either side of the field to gain points for their team.
Beaters set back other players by hitting "bludgers" at them. The bludgers are slightly deflated dodgeballs, and if a player is hit they must immediately dismount their broomsticks, drop whatever balls they might be carrying and return to their team's hoops before reentering the field.
Keepers defend the hoops from the opposing chasers. Using their hands, feet and broomsticks, they can knock away the quaffles thrown by chasers toward the goal.
The players differentiated based on which color headband they are wearing. Seekers wear yellow headbands, chasers wear white, beaters wear black, and keepers wear green.
Muggle quidditch is played on a quidditch pitch marked by cones, but the pitch is not binding to the players whom are free to move on and off it.
The rules of the sport are decided by the International Quidditch Association, or IQA. Despite real quidditch being a quite young sport, it is growing rapidly and already played all over the world.
Want to get involved?
Check to see there are quidditch teams in your area by looking at this list or this one. All you need is a broomstick, a headband, and a mouth guard!