It’s the broomstick between the legs that throws us.
But we’ll try not to be too distracted by that.
The game is quidditch and it’s based on that most iconic of child [and adult!] fantasy stories – Harry Potter.
It’s a game of wizards, witches and magic, hence the “flying” broomsticks.
The human version of the game basically involves players running around a field with broomsticks between their legs, evading tackles and throwing balls through hoops. Flashes of wizardry and magic do happen on the field, but not in the mythical way.
As far as we know, the University of Newcastle doesn’t have any witches or wizards.
But that hasn’t stopped it from having its own quidditch club.
The club will host the Midwinter Cup next month. Ten teams will compete, with more than 100 players involved – some coming from Victoria and Queensland.
The university club has one team called the Newcastle Fireballs. They’re a quality outfit. They won the cup in 2015 and came second last year.
Club secretary and tournament director Eleonora Leopardi said the club was open to anyone.
Students pay $5 for membership and non-students pay a bit extra.
“We train three times a week,” she said.
They play in the NSW Quidditch League.
“Our team is the Fireballs, but if we had more players we’d form a second team,” she said.
Quidditch started more than a decade ago, but it’s changed quite a bit since then.
“It’s a full grown sport now,” Eleonora said.
“There’s not as many links to Harry Potter as the early days.
“I joined because I thought it would be a fun, light and easy sport, but it’s actually super-intense.”
It’s a mixed gender, semi-contact sport.
“There’s a variety of roles. People are doing different things on the pitch at all times,” she said.
“It’s mentally complicated and physically intense. There’s a lot happening on the pitch.”
She said the quidditch community in NSW and interstate was “very inclusive”.
“There are lots of international people and people of all genders, ages and fitness levels,” she said.
“It’s incredible to meet people outside of your study field and your small group.”
Eleonora usually plays, but during the tournament she’ll give her broomstick a rest to focus on organisation.
“I won’t be playing, I’ll be too busy,” she said.
The tournament will include more than 30 matches over two days.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s a chance for people [in Newcastle] to get to see the sport. We mostly play in Sydney.”
The tournament will take place on July 15 and 16 at the university’s Callaghan campus.
It’s not quite Jurassic Park, but it’s not a bad effort.
An 11-metre long model of a Tyrannosaurus rex will be displayed in the Hunter.
This giant dinosaur roamed the Earth about 65 million to 85 million years ago.
They were about 12 metres long, so the model is a realistic size.
Some believe the T-rex became extinct with other dinosaurs when an asteroid hit Earth 65 million years ago. Most mammals, turtles, crocodiles, salamanders and frogs survived, according to National Geographic. Birds, snails, bivalves, starfish, sea urchins and hardy plants also survived.
The magazine says the mass extinction is a scientific mystery.
It said there were two hypotheses that may explain the extinction – an extraterrestrial impact, such as an asteroid or comet, and volcano eruptions.
“Either scenario would have choked the skies with debris that starved the Earth of the sun's energy, throwing a wrench in photosynthesis and sending destruction up and down the food chain,” it said.
“Once the dust settled, greenhouse gases locked in the atmosphere would have caused the temperature to soar, a swift climate swing to topple much of the life that survived the prolonged darkness.”
The T-rex model will be at Stockland Glendale this Saturday until July 16, as part of an Australian Museum tour.
We wonder if shopping malls will ever be extinct?
Hopefully that won’t occur because of an asteroid. Some say online shopping could do it, but we can’t see that happening.