NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The fantasy world of Harry Potter is coming alive on the Grand Strand this weekend, as thousands of fans fly in for the Qudditch World Cup.
The muggle-made version of the sport is inspired by the popular book series and, as the International Quidditch Association describes, is a unique mix of rugby, basketball, and dodge ball.
"It is easy to look at it and think it's a free for all and everyone is just doing what they want. But once you learn the positions you start to see how the strategy emerges," said Ian Stead, a Quidditch player with the University of Rochester Thestrals.
Stead explained there are four positions on the team: the keeper, chasers, seekers, and the snitch.
"The level of the game is evolving. You can't just step on the field, you have to practice," agreed his team captain, Patrick Callanan.
With the growth of the sport and the following of the fantasy-inspired game, the rules are also evolving.
"Every year a new rule book comes out from the IQA so you have to get used to the new rules and how it affects your playing style," said Stead.
While his team has been to the coveted World Cup before, this is the largest tournament they have seen with 80 collegiate teams and at least four thousand fans.
"There are hundreds of teams just in the US and there are teams scattered, last year we played a team from France and this year there is one from Australia," said Stead.
It is also the first time the tournament has been played at the brand new North Myrtle Beach Sports Complex, a welcome relief from the teams coming from Northern states.
"We had a snowstorm last week. Going from a foot of snow to 60 and beautiful is a welcomed change," said teammate Morgan Provost.
The games continue until Sunday evening and are open to the public. Kids can also get in on the games by playing "kidditch," a kid-friendly version of the full contact sport.
Details on the events, standings, and ticket prices can be found on IQAworldcup.com