Grading Sports: Quidditch

When you’re stuck in the surreality of a hospital room with your wife, a new baby, and 48 hours to talk, you cover a lot of strange topics. Like, where would I grade Quidditch as a sport, how does it rank in my sports funnel theory? Surprisingly high.

Defense: Absolutely. In huge quantities. You’re allowed to hit the other guy and throw things at him (or her).
Team/Tactics: Absolutely. The tactics make no sense at all, but they’re clearly there.
Variety of athletic skills needed: Strength, speed, agility. And of course being able to fly.
Athletic Effort: Gobs of it.

Here are a couple more parameters which have come up in conversation since that post (to address deficiencies in bowling, golf, darts, pool).
Sweat: The more you sweat, the more legit the sport.
Clothes: If you don’t have to change clothes to play, it bring the level down.

But wait, Quidditch has even more! Over the course of 6 years, 3 matches a year, Harry Potter has been sent to the hospital multiple times and nearly been killed by dementors. He has been hit numerous times by objects, part of the game, whose only purpose is to ram into people and hurt them. In fact, there are two members of the team whose sole purpose seems to be whacking these things at people. Fantastic! Also, it is played outdoors in the natural elements which is worth another point. And like a real world version of wrestling (except for that it’s not the real world), the players genuinely hate each other guts, use dirty tricks on each other, and even have biased announcers.

Quidditch has one big strike against it. The design of the actual game is one of the dumbest things ever. Everything comes down to catching the snitch. The rest of the team might as well play backgammon and just wait for the usual Potter vs Malfoy Snitch-catching fight. 80% of the action is completely irrelevant to the outcome. If I was running a team, I would start the game as normal, and every 2 minutes, I’d have another play leave their usual position to be a snitch hunter, until I had 2 goalies and 4 snitch hunters. If a goalie got the ball (whatever the ball is, I can’t keep the quaffles apart from the bludgers), he would be instructed to fly around as far as possible, a variation on the 4-corners offense of college basketball before the shot clock.