George Mason's Harry Potter-inspired quidditch team growing in popularity
FAIRFAX, Va. (WJLA) - Chris Pavlovich says people are always giving him funny looks when they see him running around with brooms between their legs.
To him, it's a regular occurrence - because he's a member of the George Mason University quidditch team.
"People are always asking me, 'hey, can you fly?' and I'm like, 'we're working on it!'" he told ABC7.
Quidditch is the magic-based, previously nonexistent sport made famous in the Harry Potter novels. Fans of the book series decided to make their own real-world version of the game, and its popularity has been soaring ever since.
All wizard and spell jokes aside, though, quidditch players are nothing to laugh at, Pavlovich says - you need an incredible amount of strength and stamina to play.
"I broke my hand last semester being tackled," Pavlovich said.
It also takes a lot of mental strength, he added, which he thinks is drawing a lot more people in to the sport.
"People who normally wouldn't play sports are playing," he said.
It also takes a lot of teamwork, said player Arielle Flax.
"You have to work together with all the positions - it's not like five guys shooting a basketball," she explained.
Inevitably, though, there are more traditional athletes that don't understand the game.
"It looks like a lot of organized chaos to me," said Ryan Bradshaw, GMU's assistant director of club sports. "But, it's really brought in a kind of new dynamic of students that we previously haven't seen in our programs in the past. A lot of Harry Potter fans."
Any Harry Potter fan can tell you, though, quidditch is a fairly complex game.
The basic idea of quidditch is to get the "quaffle" through the rings before the "bludgers" hit you.
"Quidditch is a coed, full-contact, magical sport," Flax says with a smile.
And new team member Milan Calloway says, it's one the audience seems to be fascinated by.
"People are, like, cheering you on and wanting you to do good," Calloway said.
Team captain Pavlovich said, they invite interested students to come to a practice and check it out.
"If you come to one practice, I guarantee you'll be at another," he said.
GMU's quidditch team is currently recruiting, fundraising and training for next year's quidditch world cup - and yes, that's a real thing.
"There are teams from Canada, some European teams, France, Australia." Pavlovich said. "It's all over."