Twenty years ago on this day, the wizarding world of Harry Potter forever changed our lives. Written by J.K. Rowling, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (the first installment of the seven-book series) was published by Bloomsbury Publishing on June 26, 1997. For many of us, the Harry Potter books and their corresponding films are weirdly personal -- we sort of grew up alongside the characters. When Harry caught his first golden snitch, we remembered our first sporting event. When Hermione's hand shot up in the air to answer a question, we remembered those times we aced a test.
To toast this special day, we at espnW have come up with the top five sporting moments from the "Harry Potter" franchise:
1. Harry's first Quidditch match: We all remember that first Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin in the "Philosopher's Stone." From Hermione's nifty spellcasting to Harry's unorthodox method for catching his first golden snitch -- the snitch was lodged in his throat, and he had to regurgitate it -- this was by far the most dramatic Quidditch match of the whole series. Sidenote: That same snitch opens in "The Deathly Hallows" to reveal the resurrection stone -- the second Hallow -- which saves Harry's life.
2. Ron's game-changing chess victory: Ronald Weasley doesn't take charge in a fight very often. But he was all business when he stepped onto the life-sized Wizard's Chessboard and realized what needed to be done to get through to the Philosopher's Stone. When Ron sacrificed himself to ensure a victory, we all celebrated. How many of you stood up and clapped when Dumbledore awarded special points to Ron at the end of the year for his exemplary skills as a chess player?
3. Gryffindor winning the inter-house Quidditch Cup: It was incredibly satisfying to read that Gryffindor captain Oliver Wood and Harry took out Slytherin's team in "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" to win the cup -- after a seven-year drought. That moment Harry inched past a speeding Draco Malfoy on his Firebolt to grab the snitch was epic.
4. Harry crushing the Hungarian Horntail: "Goblet of Fire" is chock full of sporting moments. There's the Quidditch World Cup, the second task in the Hogwarts' lake and the infamous maze. When Harry flies his Firebolt and crushes a vicious dragon in the first task, we were filled with glee. Pretty sure every Potterhead dropped their book and pumped their fist in the air when we read that Harry scooped the golden egg from underneath the dragon's belly. Just admit it.
5. Felix Felicis and Ron's perfect Quidditch match: Okay, we all know Ron is bad at Quidditch. It's not Wizard's Chess, and his hand-eye coordination as a keeper was abysmal. But in the "Half-Blood Prince," when Ron saw Harry slip what he thought was the lucky potion "Felix Felicis" into his pumpkin juice, he crushed the Slytherin team with his skills.
These two events almost made it to our list: The duel between Harry and Draco Malfoy in "Chamber of Secrets" and The Quidditch World Cup final -- only because the lead-up included travel by Portkey, magical tents and Ludo Bagman, the comical Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports.