From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

Monday, April 16, 2012

What's Quidditch Without a Little Rain?

This past Saturday, I dragged myself out of bed at 8:30am. I had a hard-boiled egg for breakfast and checked my email. I glanced outside and lamented the gray skies, and then lamented the gray skies even more when I saw that the weather was calling for rain off-and-on the entire day. I threw on sweatpants, my HPA Accio Books tshirt, a pair of old tennis shoes, and a raincoat. I packed a bag with a couple of books, a notebook, wallet, iPod, phone, camera, and a bottle of water. I found my roommate Kathleen downstairs, we grabbed an umbrella and our other roommate's OSU parking pass she lent us for the day, and jumped in the car. We drove 15 minutes down to OSU's west campus, got confused while trying to find where to park, and then lamented the gray skies some more as we walked to Beekman Park.

And then we spent the next several hours watching Quidditch.

You really shouldn't be surprised. I mean, I am easily the nerdiest Flurrier.

Yes, folks. The game played by Harry Potter and company while flying on broomsticks is a real sport. A real, legit sport, where players get injured frequently and have to be escorted off the field by the sports medicine people. Played by colleges such as Ohio State and Carnegie-Mellon and Virgina Tech. It's even got a nonprofit organization running the leagues (The International Quidditch Association) and each November there's a World Cup that draws thousands of fans. It's even going to have an exhibition at this summer's Olympics, with teams representing the USA, the UK, Canada, and possibly more.

And I finally got to see it played on Saturday at the second annual Ohio Cup, held by OSU, which drew twelve Quidditch teams from all over the midwest.

For the most part, the game is very much like what you read about in the Harry Potter books, minus the flying, obviously. Each team has seven players in action at a time, all of whom run around with makeshift brooms between their legs. The chasers are trying to score goals with the "quaffle" (in this case, a slightly deflated volleyball) through three tall hoops at each end of the playing field. The beaters are running around, hitting people with the "bludgers" (in this case, slightly deflated dodgeballs), in order to knock them "out" and force them to abandon play and run back to their team's goal hoops before joining the game again. The keepers are busy trying to keep the other team from scoring and the seekers are busy trying to catch the snitch...which is a person dressed all in yellow who has a tennis ball in a sock hanging out of the back of their shorts. The game can only end when the snitch is caught...and in the "Muggle" version of Quidditch, the snitch is only worth 30 points (rather than 150), to give the team that doesn't catch it at least a fighting chance.

It's basically soccer meets dodgeball meets flag football...meets antics, because the snitch runner has no rules. The snitch runner is allowed to do whatever and go wherever he or she wants in order to keep the seekers from getting that tennis ball. We saw snitch runners gang up against seekers with water pistols and nerf guns. We saw one snitch runner don an incognito costume of a hat, a beard, and a vest, and then climb a fence to stand on top of a baseball dugout roof. Seekers were wrestled to the ground, the backs of their brooms gripped by snitch runners...they were pelted by pinecones, they were forced to run miles trying to catch the snitch, they were pushed down hills repeatedly.

It was possibly the funniest thing I've ever seen. And I got really into it.

The fun was cut a little short after a group of us watched OSU win their last regular match of the day, which was about the time we decided it was far too cold and far too rainy and we escaped to Starbucks. Not that it mattered, really...the tournament ended up being cancelled due to weather about an hour later anyway, so we didn't miss too much. But would I go again? In a heartbeat. It was the best way to spend my Saturday, even with the rain.

I even got hit by a rogue bludger.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Stat Counter