This weekend past, as you may recall from seeing on various news stations, was the 2010 Quidditch World Cup in New York City. I was on the McGill team that competed, and I had a fantastic time. We played well, won more games than we lost, and beat the team from Harvard University. :)
For me, the highlight from the World Cup was watching the brilliant performances of the Golden Snitches. These were some amazing athletes. I can think of no other sport where there is a position that combines long distance running, wrestling and acrobatic showmanship.
There are few rules for the conduct of a snitch in a game. This means that the snitch can pull a seeker off his broom, interfere with players from another game, or wrestle a seeker to the ground, in an attempt to prevent the seekers from catching him or her.
People attending the Cup who were unfamiliar with the snitch were especially fun to listen to. I overheard a person behind me, at the beginning of a game ask her friend in a very confused voice, “Wait. He just ran off the field. Is he supposed to do that?”
Or later in the day, I heard someone else declare, “I don’t know. I just think something’s not right when you see a snitch hailing a cab.”
I have compiled a short list of some of the most entertaining things that I personally watched a snitch do in the course of a game.
- Climb up a fence
- Climb on top of a nearby building
- Run onto the field of another game and interfere with the gameplay by bludgeoning one of the seekers
- Return to the field riding a unicycle that he got somehow
- Taunt one team’s seeker by pulling off his cape and holding it in front of him in the manner of a Spanish bull-fighter
- Pick up the quaffle and offer it to a spectator on one knee, as if it were a token of his affection
- Pull off two team members headbands and exchange them (coloured headbands are used to designate positions)
- Pull a hoop off its stand and pass himself through it three times, before declaring to the crowd, “I have thirty points now!”
But my favourite moment was in the final game between Middlebury and the Tufflepuffs (the team from Tufts). For starters, the snitch for that game was brilliant. He could run faster backward than the seekers could run forward. He could flip a seeker on his back without losing his own momentum. It was amazing to watch.
Toward the end, the snitch returned to the field, and with him came all the other snitches who had snitched the other games for the Cup. They arranged themselves around the real snitch, like a Roman Phalanx, so the seekers couldn’t catch him, and after a few seconds, they all ran around the field in a big blur of yellow, so it was impossible to tell from the sides where the real snitch was, and I’m sure it was equally confusing for the seekers, who were just returning to the field from chasing the snitch. Eventually, the false snitches left the field, and the snitch was caught by the Tufts team, but the playfulness and the athleticism of the snitches were really remarkable.
I think that I want to work on my distance running this year and maybe next year I’ll be good enough to be a Golden Snitch at the World Cup. :)