The magic of Hogwarts has come to UT.
Quidditch, the sport derived from J. K. Rowling's popular Harry Potter novels, made the leap from fantasy to reality in 2005 when a group of students at Middlebury College in Vermont decided to modify the magical game so that it could be played by "muggles" (non-magic people).
Since then, hundreds of schools and communities around the world have adopted the sport, and now a group of students has brought the game to UT.
Karissa Kirsch, a junior in English and co-captain of the quidditch team, said the idea for the team developed from a course in children's literature after discussing Harry Potter and watching a trailer for a documentary that covered the International Quidditch Association's fourth World Cup.
"So, I went to lunch after that lecture and we were just sitting and talking about it," Kirsch said. "I was like, 'What if we actually did this?' and my friends that I was at lunch with were like, 'Let's try it and see if it works,' and so we started it and got a ton of interest right away."
In J. K. Rowling's novels, quidditch involves flying broomsticks and balls that zoom of their own volition. Players score points by throwing or hitting these balls, known as the quaffle and the bludgers, through three hoops at either end of the field. The game ends when the snitch, a small, fast ball that evades all players, is caught by a team member known as the seeker.
"The dodge balls are the ... bludgers and the ... volleyball is the quaffle," said Christian Bowman, a member of UT's quidditch team. "We had to let some air out of (the balls) so (they) wouldn't be too hard to grasp because you have to hold them with one hand. And the snitch is a person with a tennis ball who runs around ... basically entertains the crowd, and the seeker has to go and find (the snitch) and take the little tennis ball from them."
Neighboring university Tennessee Tech is also home to a quidditch club. The TTU team has grown from a small group of six in 2012 to a team of 50 students.
"When we started the team, quidditch was something new, fun and exciting," said Kellie Davis, co-captain of the TTU quidditch team. "Now, it has become so much more than a pastime. We are a legitimate team with legitimate athletes who are committed to this sport."
The IQA hosts several events for registered teams around the world including the Quidditch World Cup. The sixth World Cup was held in Kissimmee, Fla., in April. TTU's team participated in the sixth World Cup placing 32 out of 80 teams.
Davis contacted the UT quidditch team after seeing Kirsch mention the endeavor on her blog. She expressed excitement towards the idea of being able to play against UT in a game.
"It would be fantastic to play the UT quidditch team," Davis said. "We can't wait until they're ready for some scrimmages. With few teams in our area, having a team at UT could not be better. We're willing to help them out with anything they may need. The quidditch community is the best."
The UT quidditch team has 33 people officially registered and many more following it on Facebook.
Kirsch said her greatest hope is that this team will leave an impact on the student body.
"Mostly, I just want it to be lasting because it's already so important to me that if I can just make one person's college experience better by having done this I'll be satisfied," she said.