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Quidditch tournament brings fiction to life

No "smiling charms" required for this cheery squad (photo by Mel Hattie)
No “smiling charms” required for this cheery squad (Photo by Mel Hattie)

On Sunday Oct. 20, the Dalhousie Greek Council continued its annual tradition of hosting a quidditch tournament. This year, the Greek Council partnered with Shinerama to raise money for cystic fibrosis research.

Quidditch began as a fictional sport created by author J. K. Rowling, appearing in her first published novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In her novels, it involves wizards flying around on enchanted brooms chasing balls that have a life of their own. The success and popularity of the Harry Potter series eventually led to a real-world version of the sport for the Muggles who enjoyed reading about it, and then watching it when the book series was adapted into movies.

The type played on Sunday involved more running than flying, and regular inanimate balls instead of flying ones. But the Greek Council’s event still managed to capture the spirit and excitement of the sport.

“[We] organized the event to show what Greek Society stands for,” says Sydney Trendell, vice president of the Greek Council and organizer of the tournament. According to the society’s Facebook page, their goal is to promote the values of academic achievement, philanthropic involvement, leadership and an active, balanced lifestyle.

A keeper guards his rings in Sunday's charity Quidditch tournament (photo by Jasspreet Sahib)
A keeper guards his rings in Sunday’s charity Quidditch tournament (Photo by Jasspreet Sahib)

Each game involves two teams, with seven players aside: three chasers, two beaters, a keeper and a seeker. The chasers’ goal is to throw a volleyball through three hula hoops held up above the ground on sticks at either end of the pitch, while the beaters threw dodge balls at players to temporarily remove them from the action. The keeper’s job was to guard against the chasers from scoring, similar to a goalie in hockey.

The seeker, the most well-known position due to a certain lightning-bolt scarred youngster, is tasked with catching the Golden Snitch.

In the wizarding world, the Snitch is a small golden ball with wings that flies around and is difficult to capture. In the Muggle version, the Snitch is reimagined and played by a really fast person wearing yellow. The Snitch made the seekers work hard to win on Sunday and, as Fred Weasley would say, could move faster than Severus Snape confronted with shampoo.

Another Muggle modification concerned the lack of access to flying brooms. At the tournament, each team member had to play the entire game with a broom between their legs and at least one hand on the broom. The games would end after 15 minutes, or when a seeker caught the snitch.

Every player had to pay a registration fee of $10 to enter the tournament. With eight teams registered, the afternoon was a competitive and charitable success, with the Greek Council raising lots of money for Shinerama and its cause.

By the end of the day, the teams had dissolved and the final match was comprised of whoever was left, including this writer. Regardless, the quidditch tournament successfully raised money for a good cause while offering the participants a chance to play a magical game.

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