Walking on the sidewalk next to Library Lawn on the Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater, a transformation is beginning.
Onlookers watch with stunned disbelief at the sight of a handful of running students throwing dodgeballs at each other with brooms tucked betwixt their legs.
For the Oklahoma State Quidditch team, it's just another day of practice.
For new followers of the magical game, Quidditch is a sport played on broomsticks taken from the wildly popular "Harry Potter" book series by J.K. Rowling.
A Quidditch team consists of seven players: Three chasers, who try to score by throwing a large red ball through one of three hoops; two beaters, whose goal is smash a smaller black ball called a bludger into other opponents; one keeper, who protects the three hoops from the chasers; and one seeker, whose job is to catch the Golden Snitch, a small, elusive ball with wings that flies around at great speeds.
At least that's how it's played in the books. The game is adapted for Muggles (non-magical people) by keeping them on the ground and turning the golden snitch into a person " usually a cross-country runner " who sprints around until caught.
"There is a huge league of the International Quidditch Association," said team captain Margaret Pogue. "It's really similar to actual Quidditch "¦ except that you're on the ground."
Muggle Quidditch began as an intramural league in 2005 at Vermont's Middlebury College. In fall 2009, OSU became an official member of the International Quidditch Association.
The group's first president, America Young, said she saw Quidditch being played at other colleges and wanted to play badly enough that she went through the steps to become an official team.
"It was hard because people didn't really take us seriously, and it's hard to get people to take the chance," Young said. "Nobody wants to be ridiculed, and everybody is kinda worried they are gonna be, but the ones that are playing are having fun and keep coming back."
Young said she is happy to see the team continuing without her now that she has graduated and that she takes pride knowing she was there in the beginning.
"I feel like I have a legacy now," she said. "I feel legit."
Pogue said she had played sports growing up and thought the chance to play Quidditch sounded like too much fun to pass up.
"We are all big fans, and it's not so serious," Pogue said. "It's more just to have fun and celebrate Harry Potter."
The group has about 30 members on paper, but the core group is somewhere fewer than 10. Between catching and throwing drills, discussions range from what kind of brooms are best, to how much Kristen Stewart sucks in "Twilight" and how the Quidditch team starting at the University of Oklahoma is probably full of Slytherins.
"Practices can be intense, but we end up just laughing," said member Lindsey Campbell. "I was never an athletic person, but this team gives me a sport that I actually care about. When I used to get asked what my favorite sport was, I would jokingly say, 'Quidditch.' Now, I am living the dream."
The group plans to attend its first tournament this month in Wichita, Kan. Not exactly the Quidditch World Cup, but it should be a fun experience for the group. More than 100 teams are scheduled to compete.
And before the OSU club makes its way to compete for a title, a supply run to one of the recently opened Halloween stores will be in order.
"This is definitely the best time of the year to find brooms, but we want to play when it's cold so we can wear our Gryffindor scarves," Pogue said. "I have seen other teams that have standard-issue capes because you have to look cool while playing Quidditch. We don't see a lot of capes, unfortunately." " Adam Kemp | Photos/Adam Kemp