Our older son has told us how much he enjoys playing Zombie Apocalypse Nerf Wars at college. I don’t see the appeal in it myself, but then I never found most sports appealing (I did enjoy playing gym hockey in elementary school, and even in high school in a gym class for the non-athletic). But it sounds like it provides plenty of exercise and fun for a lot of college students.
Another game gaining popularity among college students is Quidditch. J.K. Rowling’s invented sport, playing by the witches and wizards in the Harry Potter books, appealed to a group of students at Middlebury College so much that they wanted to play it themselves. Being Muggles (non-magical), of course, they had to adapt it to be played in the ground instead of in the air.
I imagine it takes a fair amount of practice to learn to run well while holding a bro0mstick between your legs. (Probably no more so than learning to fly on a broomstick, though.) Chasing the Quaffle and dodging Bludgers would probably be somewhat simpler when they all stay more or less in one plane. But of course, when everyone else is on that same plane also, the playing field could get a lot more crowded than the air above the Quidditch pitch at Hogwarts.
Probably the biggest adaptation is making the Golden Snitch into a person (dressed all in yellow), in the absence of self-propelled flying balls. (You can buy a self-propelled ball as a toy for pets or children, but they don’t move very fast – by the third time our puppy played with hers she had learned to catch it pretty quickly.) I can’t help wondering – and the WSJ article doesn’t say – how the human Golden Snitch decides which way to run, and how he (or she – the game is coed) avoids being influenced by sympathy for one team or the other.
The Muggle version of Quidditch was launched, naturally enough, by fans of the Harry Potter books, but it proved to be physically demanding enough to attract athletes for whom the appeal was the game itself. (Which means it would be way beyond my athletically-challenged abilities.) It has spread far beyond the college campus where it started, in Middlebury, VT. I wonder how soon it will show up on my son’s campus, and whether he’ll consider trading in his Nerf gun for a broomstick.