We tried Quidditch and it was really elitist
We wouldn’t even have made Hufflepuff
Along side beekeeping, angklung playing and how to run a cinema, quidditch is just one of the niche activities on offer from the SU this week.
Muggle Quidditch is played internationally, has 300 teams around the world and, believe it or not, it’s own World Cup. At uni, the Quidditch society has 18 members who train once a week, and the Hallam society are even trying to get it into Varsity next year.
Signing up to the freshers taster session, we had visions of lovely people gracefully running around on broomsticks, sharing light hearted Harry Potter chat and a butter beer or seven at the end. We went with every intention of learning a new skill and perhaps even making some friends for life. We left disappointed.
This wasn’t an activity we had considered before but if it’s good enough for Harry, it was good enough for us. We were going to take it seriously. It was for this reason our capes, wands and transferrable tattoo scars were quickly abandoned.
As we arrived at Ponderosa and saw authentic hoops in the ground and a pretty impressive turn out, our excitement was reaching boiling point. However, we were brought back down to earth in a matter of seconds when the brooms were brought out. Think less Nimbus 2000s and more the flimsy gardening poles holding up the broad beans in your Granddad’s allotment. The magic of the whole occasion was quickly dissipating.
The warm up began. It consisted of standing in a circle and throwing a volleyball, or the bludgeon as they preferred it to be called, around with one hand. At this point our bold foray into unknown territory was looking a lot more like a key stage one PE lesson, only significantly more stressful.
It was during this time the first friend we made took one look at our hand-eye co-ordination and went as far as to walk away and warm up elsewhere. This firmly set the tone for the next two hours.
The warm ups continued and it quickly became clear we weren’t going to be walking away with a new skill, or any friends. Catching a high speed bludgeon with just a flick of the wrist is a lot harder than it seems when you’re surrounded by rolling eyes, judgemental sighs and blatant digs at your ability. “You either need skill or enthusiasm to play quidditch”, we heard one girl say, with an unmistakable glare in our direction.
As the teasing persisted, embarrassment ensued and we felt more and more like Neville Longbottom. We were the laughing stocks of the quidditch pitch. Strangely, out of a group of about 40 we seemed to be the only two people being repeatedly smacked by the bludgeon.
We powered on even so, and jumped at the chance to be keepers in shooting practice. It was an enjoyable fourty seconds before we were quickly sacked and pushed to the side.
Out of nowhere we were then thrown into a half quidditch game, where, with the exception of biting, physical violence was generally encouraged. The game itself is a cross between netball and tag rugby, except you have to keep one hand on the so-called broom inbetween your legs when “flying”.
It took us an hour or so to realise that the golden snitch wasn’t zooming over from Crookes, but was in fact a person running around with a bit of yellow fabric hanging out of his trousers.
One of the organisers had remarked that this was a “sport for people who can’t do sport” but we still struggled with the basic skill set. At little over five feet each, catching the quaffle and scoring goals were both essentially impossibilities.
This wasn’t the case for everyone though. Felicity Powell, doing an English Lit postgrad, throughly enjoyed the session and is thinking of signing up properly to the society this week. “This is my first time playing Quidditch, I’ve only ever played it in my head before, but I love it. It’s exactly as I thought it would be”.
In between making snarky comments about our inability to play, one of the committee members also mentioned he keeps his Quidditch hobby a secret from the muggles on his rugby team. And we don’t blame him.