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Muggles play Quidditch for charity at Southeast High

MANATEE -- Forget the Super Bowl. For local Harry Potter fans there was only sporting event that mattered this weekend.

A Quidditch tournament.

The popular sport from the book series about wizards involves two teams of seven players flying on broom sticks with the goal of catching the golden snitch, a small flying ball.

The reward is 150 points for the team.

Since muggles -- non-magical people -- have to deal with gravity, the rules were somewhat modified when Southeast High School’s Key Club hosted the tournament Saturday to benefit the Invisible Children Campaign to help children in Uganda.

Players ran around the football field with broom sticks between their legs while the snitch remained on the ground.

“I love Harry Potter,” said sophomore Sarah Huddleston, 15, who got the idea for the tournament after watching the last Harry Potter movie “Deathly Hallows: Part 1.” “It’s cool seeing people out here.”

She got three other high schools -- Manatee High School, Braden River High School and Lakewood Ranch High School -- to participate as well.

The object of Quidditch is to score points with the quaffle or main ball by hitting it through the goal hoops while avoiding contact with the bludgers, other flying balls.

For Dazarene Cascio, a senior at Southeast High School, playing the game was “awesome.”

“I like it. I’ve been reading the books since I was little,” said Dazarene, 17. “I’m glad I got to do this.”

The Southeast team called itself Basilisk, who’s known as the King of Serpents in the book series.

They were decked out in green, the same color members of the Slytherin house wear in the series.

There was a Gryffindor team, made up of students from Lakewood Ranch High School. Manatee did not name its team and Braden River called themselves the Death Eaters, a group led by the dark wizard Lord Voldemort, who wants to eliminate muggles in a quest for purity.

Despite a few scratches on her legs, Jazlin Gomez, a 16-year-olde junior at Braden River, enjoyed herself.

“It really hurt because running with a broom between your legs isn’t a normal thing,” Jazlin said. After playing the game, she said, “I feel like my life is now complete.”

In the end, Southeast High School raised $600 for the charity and won the tournament.

It was “so awesome because it was at home. But it was even better to know it went to such a great cause,” Sarah said.

But Taran Pennebacker, 18, and a senior at Manatee High School said he felt like he won.

“I feel like we won because I felt like I was Harry Potter,” he said.

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