Out of Harry Potter's world, Quidditch played by colleges

Quidditch is part soccer, part basketball, part dodgeball, and all fantasy -- or at least it used to be. The hybrid game was invented by author J.K. Rowling and, until recently, only played by the imaginary broom-flying wizards of her popular Harry Potter novels.

These days, a version for us lowly humans -- or ``muggles,'' in Potter terms -- is popping up at more than a dozen college campuses in Florida.

``I can't tell you if there's flying or not, that's a secret,'' joked University of Miami quidditch player Ally Levy.

Truth be told, there are brooms, but no gravity-defying co-eds. Instead, students run around with a broom tucked between their legs.

``You have to keep one hand on it at all times because we're simulating flight,'' explained UM quidditch organizer Alex Locust. ``If you take both hands off, you `fall.' '' Potter fans have always been a fervent bunch. Five years ago, students at Vermont's Middlebury College invented this new brand of quidditch, and the game took off faster than, well, a real flying broomstick. There are now more than 500 active quidditch teams worldwide -- including teams in Brazil, New Zealand and Colombia.

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