When I was in elementary school, I participated in a program called Accelerated Reading. Students could read books and take short quizzes on them for points toward big prizes like pizza parties, while at the same time greatly improving their reading skills. Of all the books available for us to choose from, the Harry Potter series, which was still in development then, was by far the most popular. I read and took a quiz on the first four books that had been published, but the fifth book did not arrive in stores until I had already gone to middle school, where they didn’t have Accelerated Reading. I’ve never been able to finish the series, which now has seven volumes. So this summer I decided to revisit the ones I had already read and get through the others, too.
Unfortunately, I was not able to achieve this goal. I was also taking two summer classes, and they quickly took up most of the good free time I had. I borrowed the first two books from my local library and kept them for over a month, but I was only able to read the first one, Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone. This did, however, refresh my memory of the story enough that when LMU announced we would be playing Quidditch, I already knew the rules. I wasted no time signing up for it and headed straight to the Quad last Saturday ready to go!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Harry Potter universe, Quidditch is the favorite sport among the wizards in the series. It’s played by two teams of seven players flying around on magic broomsticks, and it has elements of real-world games like soccer and basketball. Three of the players on each team are called Chasers, and they try to get a ball called a Quaffle into one of three goal posts for 10 points, while another player called the Keeper tries to block any attempt to score. Meanwhile, two players called Beaters throw balls called Bludgers to try and knock other players out of the game. Any player hit by a Bludger has to go back to the other side of the field and around the three goal posts before they’re checked back into the game. But the most important player on the team is the Seeker, who tries to catch a fast-flying ball called the Golden Snitch, instantly winning 150 points for his or her team and ending the game.
In “Muggle”–that is, non-wizard–Quidditch, players run around a field with a broom between their legs. The rules still apply, but a volleyball is substituted for the Quaffle and two dodgeballs for the Bludgers. The Golden Snitch is actually not a ball. It’s an additional player, usually someone who is a good runner, who wears a yellow shirt and ties something to his or her waist–in our case, a colorful sock with a tennis ball inside–that the Seeker must try to catch. In an effort to keep the games much shorter than authentic Quidditch matches, point values are also decreased, with goals being worth 5 points and the Snitch being worth 30.
LMU had two teams represented at last Saturday’s match: my team, called Dobby’s Sock (another Harry Potter reference!), and a team who called themselves Lincoln’s Legends. As it is performed in the books, the game began with the players kneeling on the ground on opposite sides of the field and covering their eyes. The Snitch then ran off where the players could not immediately see him. Once the Snitch was out of sight, the referee yelled “Brooms up!” and we sped off toward the center of the field.
From there, an all-out brawl for the LMU Quidditch title ensued! My team’s Chasers used brilliant teamwork and trick shots to pass the Quaffle toward our goal posts. But the other team’s Keeper turned out to be very good at blocking our shots. The Quaffle would constantly end up back in the other team’s possession with their Chasers running back to their end of the field. But my team’s Beaters, which included me, stayed on their trail and knocked them out with Bludgers before they ever had a chance to score. The intensity of the game never let up the entire time, and after over an hour of play the score had reached 35 to 20 in favor of Dobby’s Sock.
By this time we were all beginning to feel pretty tired, but neither team’s Seeker had caught the Snitch yet. We resumed positions and prepared ourselves to keep going. Just as the Chasers had taken off running toward the goal posts, we heard loud cheering from between Duke Hall and the Chapel. My team’s Seeker, Clark, was running up the hill with the tennis ball in his hand! He and the Seeker for Lincoln’s Legends had literally been all over campus trying to catch the Snitch, but in the end, Dobby’s Sock earned an additional 30 points and won the game 65 to 20!
After the game, high-fives were exchanged between everyone who had played and official pictures were taken for the school yearbook. Rick Stowe, our activities director, had all the players sign up to get official team shirts in a couple of weeks, complete with Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry house colors. Lincoln’s Legends chose Ravenclaw house and opted for blue and white shirts, while Dobby’s Sock chose Gryffindor and went with red and yellow shirts. Before all the players and spectators left to return to their residence halls, Rick announced that there would be another game sometime in October, which I will definitely be back for!
Quidditch on the Quad was some of the best fun I’ve had at LMU. We had around 49 people in attendance and I met a lot of really cool new people among them. I had some really awesome people on my team, including my friend Amy. We laughed at the end because we had planned on going running Saturday evening, but we both agreed we’d gotten enough exercise for the day! I can’t wait until we get to do this again. I know it’s going to be even bigger and better the next time around!
Here’s a slideshow of some more photos from the day. Big shout out to my roommate Julie White for taking them!