"People are always coming up to us and asking, 'Is this for real?' And we tell them it is for real: we are playing Quidditch," says Sven Ceelen, one of Denver's biggest enthusiasts of a sport that was, up until a few years ago, confined to the fictional pages of the Harry Potter series. "Sometimes a mother will ask what we're doing, and when we tell them their kid will be like 'I told you, Mom, they're playing Quidditch.'"
Some may balk -- or even snicker -- at the image of grown men and women running around a field holding broomsticks between their legs, but there is an impressively large organization forming behind those who refuse to keep the world of Harry Potter bound inside the pages of a book. And now, a Denver team wants to take that a step further, releasing its own calendar depicting winsome wizards and a few witches (details below).
The game of "Muggle Quidditch" -- or "Ground Quidditch" as it's sometimes known -- began in 2005 on the campus of Middleburry College in Vermont before J.K. Rowling had even released the final two books in the eight-part series. But the phenomenon of live-action Quidditch was overwhelmingly popular, eventually leading to the founding of the International Quidditch Associationand the annual and the Quidditch World Cup. According to the association's web site, there are more than 300 teams worldwide in the IQA, with 100 competing in the World Cup, taking place in Jakarta, Indonesia, this time next year.
And Sven Ceelen is hoping to take his team all the way there.
Not wanting to let the excitement die after attending the final installment of the film series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Ceelen formed his own quidditch team, the Denver Dementors, with a few friends. In Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban, Dementors are described as "the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them." Ceelen and his team of muggles are no less dramatic in their description of themselves. "We're more of a theatrical team than anyone," he boasts. The Dementors' web site describes how these evil creatures of the dark-arts came to be allowed to participate in a wizard's game:
"In order to keep the prisoners from rioting or attempting escape, the Ministry of Magic ruled that it was in the public interest for the inmates to have an outlet for their pent up energy, aggression, and bloodlust. However, since all inmates at Azkaban have suppression charms on their magic, it was unanimou...sly decided that they would play Muggle Quidditch. The team is comprised of a motley crew of former Death Eaters, Dark creatures, and the sadistically insane, who all take great pride in their work. The constant drilling keeps them ready for the inevitable return of Lord Voldemort."
Despite all of the theatrics, the game of Quidditch requires it's players to be in top physical shape (hence it's booming popularity among college athletes). The game combines elements of soccer, basketball, flag football and a geekier version of American Gladiators. Each team consists of three Chasers, who are responsible for maneuvering around the opposing team's two Beaters and throwing the Quaffle ball past their Keepers and into one of the three goals on the far end of the Quidditch field. While all of this is going on, the Seekers are trying to catch the Snitch. In the books, the Snitch is a golden ball with wings that zips around not unlike a humming bird on Adderall -- but in Muggle Quidditch the Snitch is a human dressed in yellow with a tennis ball stuffed sock hanging out the back of his/her trousers. "The Snitch has to be in great physical shape," says Ceelen, "teams will usually pick a cross country runner for the job, because they can run all over the campus." Catching the Snitch is worth 150 points.
In addition to producing short films for each character, writing songs for their characters ("Ginny You're A Badass Chaser" by Calliope of the Future) and manufacturing hooded robes to resemble their ghoulish literary counterparts, the Denver Dementors have recently assembled what they describe as a "2012/2013 Sexy Quiddich Calendar."
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Funds from the sale of the calendar will be used to, hopefully, send the team to the Nebraska Quiddich Cup on April 14. The Dementors have done well in previous tournaments, achieving fifth place in Salt Lake City's Utah Snow Cup and a strong second in the Northern Colorado Cup. If they do well in Nebraska, the team may be on their way to Indonesia next year for the Quidditch World Cup.
The team will host a calendar release party this Friday, April 6 at 6 p.m. at a private house. The event is a no-cover BBQ potluck, with music provided by Doo Crowder, Two Tone Wolfpack, Mega Gem and Summer Salt. For the event location and more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/events/256625634430990/ The Denver Dementors meet every Sunday for practice in City Park.
Click ahead for more Sexy Quidditch Calendar Pictures