Tab Tries: (Cambridge) Quidditch
You don’t actually get to fly though
Yes you can play Quidditch in Cambridge, and yes they have brooms (well, kind of).
We millennials know what it’s like to grow up with everybody’s favourite bespectacled boy wizard. You can’t deny that you waited hopefully on your eleventh birthday for the promised tea-stained parchment announcing your acceptance to the hallowed Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I guess we’ve had to accept Cambridge instead, it’s the closest we’ll ever get.
But it’s not all doom and gloom in our muggle world. Forget Oxbridge, it’s all about Hogsbridge amirite? Cambridge is the muggle alternative that allows us to live out the Potter fantasy from your quaint “Band D” cupboard under the stairs. Now the make-believe can go beyond wearing gowns to feasts in your college’s Great Hall. You can stop pretending you enjoy rowing, and play Quidditch instead.
Every Sunday afternoon, Quidditch hoops are erected on Jesus Green, much to the amusement of passers-by. It’s a shame that there isn’t much funding for Quidditch following the Ministry’s austerity measures. The goal posts could definitely use a reparo spell, or maybe just some more gaffer tape.
The best way to describe non-levitating Quidditch is that it is a cross between handball, dodgeball and tag rugby but still stays true to the beloved original: you run with a pole between your legs. Though it doesn’t look hard, it’s surprisingly difficult to keep a pole between your legs whilst juggling balls. To avoid chafing, or in Quidditch slang “quafing”, it’s advisable to have some E45 cream on hand. You may feel a bit riddikulus, but it’s fun nonetheless.
There are three kinds of balls: a slightly deflated ball famously for the quaffle, three dodgeball for bludgers, and a tennis ball in a yellow sock otherwise referred to as the snitch. The chasers job is pretty self-explanatory – get the quaffle through one of the hoops to score ten points. The main task is trying to avoid being struck by a bludger. If struck, you must dismount your broom, run to your goal post, then return to the game. To catch the elusive snitch and win your team a meagre 30 points, seekers have to be alert to a neutral “snitch runner” entering the pitch. Catching the “golden snitch”, or more accurately the questionably phallic ball in a sock, ends the game. No wonder practice is two hours long.
Don’t be fooled, Quidditch is taken pretty Siriusly: there’s even a national league and official team kits. The Cambridge kit leaves much to be desired – a conflicting clash of blue and orange. But sadly, there aren’t any capes.
It’s certainly not child’s play: I got a bludger to the eye in two minutes. Game play is pretty rough so unless you want to be poked with a pole whilst being rugby tackled to the ground, you should probably stick to Wizard’s Chess, even if it is totally barbaric.
So next Sunday, forget your essay, embrace procrastination, and head to Jesus Green to relive the magic of your youth.