It's a shame the Harry Potter series never showed us Potter and friends going off to college. It would have been fun watching Harry use a healing spell to wipe away his hangover or don an invisibility cloak to sneak into an 8 a.m. class he almost slept through.
J.K. Rowling may never tell the tale of that part of Potter's life. However, there is a way to get a taste of what that magical world might be like with a fantastical spin on a tabletop game that's already a staple of campus life.
It's called Quidditch Pong, a game where the ping-pong-ball-tossing and drink-chugging challenge collides head on with the most popular sport at Hogwarts.
The Unofficial Quidditch Pong website provides all the instructions needed to turn a boring Pong game into a frantic dash for the Snitch. According to the site, you'll need the standard ping-pong balls and cups that serve the goal, but you'll also need some homemade Quidditch Rings, a pair of bats, a Snitch and a Snitch Cup. The fact that flying broomsticks aren't involved is more than a little disappointing.
The same basic principles of Beer Pong apply, but the Quidditch version adds some interesting offensive and defensive elements. For instance, players can still make a basic shot for any cup on their opponent's side of the table, but it's worth more if someone can swish it into a cup after tossing it through one of the Quidditch Rings. The rules also state that if someone tosses a ball through a Quidditch Ring, the opposing team's "Beater" can block it with one of their bats.
Teams can use optional spells by yelling them out during a match. Teams can also decide which house they will play under, such as Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff, which give them spells unique to their house. They can also choose a spell from a list that organizes them in tiers. These spells can do things such as force a team to remove one of their cups from the table, increase the point value of a cup or make a Seeker take a throw in complete darkness. In my opinion, there should be a rule about awarding bonus points if anyone can use real magic to enact the rule connected to their spell.
Quidditch Pong seems like an inevitability given the rise of Quidditch as a real-world intramural sport. The US Quidditch Organization says there are more than 200 Quidditch teams playing for various colleges, high schools and communities across the country. The 2014 documentary "Mudbloods" also examined the popularity of the sport and followed UCLA's Quidditch team for an entire season all the way to the Fifth Annual Quidditch Cup in New York City.
Just imagine what the future holds for Quidditch. At this rate, it could become a major national pastime like football or baseball. It may even have a shot at becoming an Olympic sport. If tug-of-war and poetry were once considered worthy of Olympic competition, then Quidditch surely has a chance.