What do you mean you play Quidditch?

That’s right. I play Quidditch- easily the best sport ever invented. Its ok to be jealous.  

Five of The Weasley Jumpers and our new banner at finals night.

How does that work?
Muggle Quidditch basically works the same as the game in the books. There’s three Chasers on each team who’s job it is to try and get the Quaffle (we play with a small red soccer ball) through one of the three hoops at either end of the field. The Keepers try and stop people scoring goals. The Beaters (two per team) try and stop everyone doing what they’re meant to do. And the Seeker does the snitch thing.

But you can’t fly?
No. No we can’t fly. This is the part most people seem to have difficulty getting their head around. We run around the field with a broom stick between our legs. Its like flying but with less chance of falling from a great height.

What’s your team?
I’m captain of a team called The Weasley Jumpers- officially the best dressed team in the Newcastle Quidditch League (our uniform is an eclectic selection of op-shop clothing in gloriously clashing red and green.) We are yet to win a game but are “arguably the most endearingly popular team”. This season we will probably continue to loose spectacularly and with pizzazz.

How many other teams are there?
There were 14 teams in the League last season. Yes, that is rather a lot. I think I’ve mentioned that Quidditch is really awesome and excellent.

How big’s the field?
We usually play on a soccer pitch. So the short answer is big. There’s a pretty serious amount of running involved. To dispel any doubts you have about the athletic nature of Quidditch let me quote a fellow player who, during our very first game, was heard breathlessly screaming- “THIS IS WORSE THAN SOCCER!”

So do the beaters have bats?
No. There’s two small soccer balls which act as bludgers. The beaters throw these at players, dodge-ball style. If you get hit you drop any balls you happen to be carrying and run back and touch your goal. This is where the big field causes the most angst.

How does the snitch work?
The snitch is a person wearing a gold vest with a tag attached to the back. They’re allowed to leave the field but the Seekers aren’t. Depending on the agility of the snitch and how annoying they feel like being, some of them actually run off into any nearby bushes. They can also swerve in and out of the rest of the game to try and cause maximum collisions. After about 20 minutes of play, if the snitch hasn’t been caught, they have to stay on the field permanently. They get caught pretty fast after that.

What’s the point though? Whoever catches the snitch automatically wins?
Aha! No. See Muggle Quidditch has remedied that fatal flaw in the original game. The Snitch is only worth 30 points instead of 150. Which means that sometimes the team that catches the snitch still looses. Its happened a few times this season.

Any injuries?
Quidditch is definitely not a non-contact sport. There has been blood on at least one occasion. During the finals the other night I witnessed several major pile-ups, a head butting and a serious mid-air collision. In another game, when I was subbing, a broom got snapped. Like a proper, heavy duty plastic broom. Snapped clean in half. Plus there’s all kinds of broom inflicted bruises which come basically as standard. I’ve been blugered in the face. It’s a serious game.

Why Quidditch though? What’s so great about it?
A friend sent me this great article recently which pretty much sums it up. No one can look coordinated on a broom. So it doesn’t matter if you run like a salmon on drugs and have the hand-eye coordination of a blind turtle. Quidditch puts everyone on an even playing field. You don’t need to be a hardcore Potter-nerd or any good at sport. Quidditch is a sport for the masses.

I want to play Quidditch now.
Qudditch, it seems, is taking off in Australia. There’s leagues popping up all over the place- I know there’s a couple in Sydney and Brisbane. Basically if you see a poster at uni for Quidditch GO AND JOIN. It was, without exaggeration, the best decision I made this year.

This season we’ll be playing on Thursdays from 6pm at Jesmond Park (Newcastle). If happen to be in the area- come along. You should like The Weasley Jumpers on Facebook. We’re pretty groovy. 
Also if you’d like a copy of my new Quidditch inspired zine (paper bag girl and the magical cure for lonliness) email me and I’ll post one direct to your door! 

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year