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Five Lessons That Athletes Can Learn From

Harry Potter
By Sophie Bruns April 27, 2017 12:48 pm

Everyone has a passion in life. There is absolutely no question that mine is sports. I love
watching them, playing them, and just exercising in general. I have devoted a lot of time to my
athletics, but because of my dedication to sports, in my young age, I didnt spend nearly enough
time dedicating myself to the Harry Potter series.

As a kid, I never really got into the Harry Potter books or movies. In fact, I didnt even really
know what they were. When I thought of Harry Potter, the picture in my mind was of three teens
running through the woods with magic wands. Who could possibly think that was worth

My brother was the one who happened to discover the Harry Potter movies on demand one
weekend in early spring 2012. For countless hours, he stayed quarantined in our den -- lights off,
blinds shut -- on the sofa under his big, white comforter blanket, eyes glued to the TV screen. As
he watched movie after movie, he kept telling me that the movies were amazing, but I never
really gave them a chance.

One day, I did. After watching the first movie, The Sorcerers Stone, I was hooked.

So then I watched all of them. After seeing them all multiple times each, my brother and I went
to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios. Ill never forget walking down Diagon Alley, riding a
roller coaster through Hogwarts, and buying all the memorabilia. Wands, stuffed owls, robes, and
glasses. Anything and everything Harry Potter.

We even dressed as Draco and Lucius Malfoy for Halloween one year.

In middle school, I finally gained enough common sense to read the book series.

I guess you could say I was becoming quite the Harry Potter nerd.

Harry Potter is very close to my heart. I smiled when Harry caught the golden snitch in his
mouth in The Sorcerers Stone; I laughed when Ron awkwardly learned to dance with Professor
McGonagall in The Goblet of Fire; I cried when Dobby died in The Deathly Hallows Part One;
and I gasped when Snapes true admiration for Harry was revealed in The Deathly Hallows Part
It didn't always feel like my two passions -- sports and Harry Potter -- worked together. Still,
even in the world of magic wands, enchanted schools, and mystical creatures, athletes can learn
some valuable lessons. As an athlete, I have taken away the following five important lessons
from Harry Potter:

1. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Harry was faced with many challenges in his life. He definitely wouldnt have been able to face
these obstacles alone. Luckily, he had many loyal companions by his side along the way.

His two best friends, Ron and Hermione, deserve tons of credit for their loyalty to Harry. So does
Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, who remained close to Harry during his time at

Throughout the Harry Potter series, Harry used the help of Hermiones book smarts, Rons
loyalty, and Dumbledores wisdom, all of which played key roles in Harrys battle with

In The Sorcerers Stone, Harry, Ron, and Hermione went down a trap door to uncover the
mysteries of the deep corridors of Hogwarts. Without their help, Harry would not have been able
to make it down there alone.

Heres how it worked: Hermione used a spell to get them safely out of devils snare. Harry used
his flying skills to grab a key that was used to unlock a closed door. Ron played wizard's chess
and sacrificed himself so that Harry could go to the next room. And finally, Dumbledore cared
for Harry in the infirmary while he was recovering from this adventure.

The Deathly Hallows Part One is all about the journey Harry, Ron, and Hermione took to find
objects called Horcruxes. They wanted to find these objects because they were used to destroy
Voldemorts soul. In the middle of the night, Harry tried to sneak away and leave his friends so
that he could find them on his own. But Ron and Hermione would not let him leave alone.

And thank goodness they didnt. Harry probably would have died without them. They traveled to
extremely dangerous places -- like caves, underground chambers of Gringotts Bank, and
mysterious old houses -- to find the Horcruxes.

During their journey, each friend played an important role. Hermione helped with planning and
carrying their survival materials. Ron saved Harry from drowning in a freezing cold lake in a
forest. And Harry used his senses and thoughts to track Voldemorts actions so they could tell
what they needed to accomplish and when. Sadly, Dumbledore was not physically on this
journey with them, but he was with them in spirit (spoiler alert!).

Ron and Hermione helped Harry during his time at Hogwarts and beyond. They stuck by him in
the toughest of times and were incredibly loyal. They knew that by being friends with Harry,
they would be in serious danger for their whole lives. But they never left him because they were
willing to risk anything for their friendship. Who wouldnt want to have friends like these two?

This friendship changed Harrys life, as he had never really had true friends before. And since
this dream team stuck together, they were able to do many wonderful things for Hogwarts and
for the world.

Much like in Harry Potter, playing team sports requires a team effort. Dont think you can do
everything alone. Everyone should contribute so that the best possible result can be achieved.
Sticking together can make anything happen.

Why do you think the Death Eaters were defeated by Dumbledores army in The Deathly
Hallows? Lack of communication and teamwork.

As Dumbledore said in The Goblet of Fire, "We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as
we are divided."

2. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Be adventurous in your sport. Try new ways to improve your game. Improvement comes through
facing challenges. And by stepping outside of your comfort zone, you can face these challenges.

Harry and his friends -- often times breaking rules and leaving school boundaries -- definitely
took risks during their time at Hogwarts.
This is true in The Chamber of Secrets, where, as three second-years at Hogwarts, Harry, Ron,
and Hermione wanted to discover the mysteries of the chamber -- even if it meant they would get
into serious trouble. Or worse: die in the chamber.

Knowing the consequences, they decided to take an extreme risk.

This risk was, in fact, that Harry and Ron would venture into the chamber itself, which had not
been opened in centuries. In the depths of the chamber, Harry ended up having to battle and
defeat a basilisk in order to save Ginny Weasley, who had been held hostage in the chamber by
Tom Riddle for weeks.

If Harry had not taken a risk to go into the chamber with Ron, he would never have saved Ginny.
She probably would have died. This shows that living outside of your comfort zone can have
positive outcomes.

In The Goblet of Fire, Harry was actually forced to step out of his comfort zone unexpectedly
because he had to compete in the Triwizard Tournament. He did not put his name in the goblet of
fire to compete. Someone else put it in there anonymously. So according to the rules, he had to

Harry -- being way too young and inexperienced in the wizarding world -- was very unprepared
to face the challenges of the tournament. He had to fight a dragon, save his friends from the
depths of the Great Lake, and make his way through a treacherous maze to find the Triwizard
Cup. For goodness sake, he was only 14!

The Triwizard Tournament gave Harry a feeling of pressure and confidence that he might not
have ever felt before. By stepping outside of his comfort zone, he was exposed to new
adventures that increased his strength, courage, and wizarding prowess. If he could fight a
dragon, he could surely fight the Dark Lord.

This emphasizes that, just like Harry and his friends took risks when the outcome wasnt always
known, athletes can try to live outside of their comfort zones by taking risks and trying new
things to improve.

As Sirius Black said in The Order of the Phoenix, What is life without a little risk?
3. Always Push Yourself to the Limits

Perseverance is key in sports. Keep your eyes on the prize. Stay focused. Never stop until you
reach your goals, or else, you will never improve. This is true on the athletic field as well as in
life in general.

Harrys perseverance -- in practicing magic, mastering spells, and learning to fly a broom -- was
very important in his lifelong battle with Voldemort.

At some point, the Dark Lord had to be defeated somehow by someone who would surely step
up to the plate. And this was, of course, none other than Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived.

In The Order of the Phoenix, Harry formed a secret organization of Hogwarts students. This
group of people fought against the beliefs of Professor Umbridge -- a cruel and heartless woman
from the Ministry of Magic who took over Hogwarts. Umbridge did not want her students to
learn spells. Harry and his friends knew that in order to defeat Voldemort once and for all, they
needed to learn how to use spells. So in this secret club, called Dumbledores Army, Harry
pushed everyone to their limits by making them practice casting spells countless hours each day.

Since Harry and his fellow classmates persevered to improve their wizarding skills, they were
ultimately able to defeat Voldemort and his army at the Battle of Hogwarts in The Deathly
Hallows Part Two. If they hadnt practiced these spells, they would have been very unprepared to
fight against Voldemorts gigantic army.

In The Half Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows, Harry and his friends went on a long
journey to search for Horcruxes that could destroy Voldemorts soul.
This was a long, slow, and at times, unproductive journey. Harry, Ron, and Hermione spent many
days in forests, grasslands, and on cliffs. Days went by. Weeks. Months. They found nothing that
would lead them to the Horcruxes. But they had to keep searching until they found them all.

Harry couldnt and wouldnt give up; he had to save the world from the Dark Lord.

Thanks to Harrys determination, they found the Horcruxes and destroyed them. If the Horcruxes
were never found, Voldemort would never have been defeated.

Not only was Harry persistent to defeat Voldemort -- he was also determined to do well in
Quidditch, his school sport, both as a player and as a team captain.

J.K. Rowling writes in The Prisoner of Azkaban, Full of determination, the team started training
sessions, three evenings a week. The weather was getting colder and wetter, the nights darker,
but no amount of mud, wind, or rain could tarnish Harry's wonderful vision of finally winning
the huge, silver Quidditch Cup.

Harry was truly determined to win the Quidditch Cup for Gryffindor, his school house. Like
many athletes, he wanted the feeling of accomplishment and happiness from winning a
championship. He remained focused on his goals and was positive and determined while training
with the team. This attitude paid off, as Gryffindor ended up winning three titles during his time
at Hogwarts.

As athletes, we want to be the best that we can be so that we can bring home the trophy, and
most importantly, have fun.

4. You Will Win and You Will Lose

As an athlete, you need to accept that you will win and you will lose. Not everyone wins
everything, no matter how hard you work. If one team won every single game, winning wouldnt
feel so great.

Harry lost many hardships along the way -- Quidditch matches; fights with Malfoy in the school
halls; the battle with Voldemort in the graveyard in the Goblet of Fire; and the fight against
Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest in The Deathly Hallows Part Two.

He may have lost these individual events and things looked bleak, but in the end he gained more
knowledge, perseverance, and skill through his losses. And he was able to kill Voldemort in the

Losing shows that we can try harder to improve. Winning shows that hard work pays off.
A balance of winning and losing forms the athletes we truly are. It shows that we all have
strengths and weaknesses and that we should never stop trying to improve.

5. Everyone Starts Off Somewhere

The most important lesson that the Harry Potter series can teach us is that everyone begins
somewhere. For eleven years, Harry was a regular little boy with no knowledge of the wizarding
world or who he actually was.

But one day, his whole life changed. He learned he was a wizard and that he was the Boy Who

Think about it: Harry had absolutely no idea he was a wizard. He had no idea he would be
attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He didnt know he would become the
best Quidditch Seeker in school history. He didnt know he would have to train to use a wand
and to find his Patronus and to use different curses and spells. He didnt know he would
eventually have to battle the worlds most powerful dark wizard for the rest of his life and have
to defeat him face to face.
After exposure, practice, and dedication, Harry was able to do great things for his school and for
the world. He went from being known as the boy in the cupboard under the stairs to being the
boy who saved the world.

Even the best athletes are Harrys-- they start off unknown, unskilled, and ignorant, and they
become skilled after years of practice. Take Kevin Durant, Tom Brady, Lionel Messi, and Serena
Williams for example. They all had to begin somewhere.

These lessons can not only impact an athlete and their performance; they can also truly influence
peoples lives in general. I have found that these implications of Harry Potter have a bigger
meaning than just the series itself because they teach people a way to live their lives -- which can
then be applied to anything. Sports. School. Politics. Media. Music. We can use these lessons of
Harry Potter towards anything in life, and we can take them with us wherever we go!