Quidditch: The Beautiful Game
Article by Hannah Sobel, Photos Courtesy of Peter Lange
The Harry Potter series may be fiction, but Quidditch, the famous sport of flying broomsticks, is very real and very celebrated. Harvard University actually has a varsity Quidditch team, and many other colleges are following suit. People everywhere are now making this sport their own.
|Champions Slytherin huddle up before the big game.
Photo: Peter Lange
Over the course of three weeks, our very own Hanover High School held a Quidditch tournament organized by Council. The teams were organized by class, and each class was put into a house from the book series. The ninth graders dressed in Hufflepuff yellow and black, the sophomores were in Ravenclaw blue and gray, the juniors were clothed in the green and silver of Slytherin, and the seniors sported Gryffindor gold and red.
|Graham Miller in action.
Photo: Peter Lange
For those who have not been introduced to Harry Potter or do not know about Quidditch, it is really very simple. In the books (and the movies), two teams of witches and wizards play the game while flying on broomsticks. The “Quaffle,” a ball about the size of a basketball, is thrown between players called “Chasers.” The Chasers attempt to throw the Quaffle through one of their opponent’s three large hoops, guarded by a player called the “Keeper.” If the Quaffle makes it through one of the hoops, ten points are given to the scoring team. Other players, called “Beaters,” use small wooden bats to hit a ball called the “Bludger” toward the opposing team’s Chasers. If the Bludger hits a player, it can be painful and ugly: players are sometimes knocked off their brooms and seriously injured (nothing, of course, that a little Skele-Gro can’t fix). Each team also has one player, the “Seeker,” who has the most important job of all. The Seeker searches for the “Snitch,” a small, fast, golden ball with wings. When the Seeker locates the Snitch, he or she must follow it until one of the two Seekers catches it. Then, and only then, does the game end.
However, there are a few differences between the fictional wizard game and that of Hanover High School. Since none of our students (none, at least, that I am aware of) are witches or wizards, and therefore do not possess the ability to fly on a broomstick, pool noodles are used. And since we do not have the money in our budget to purchase a real flying Snitch, Hanover High students happily take its place. As senior Scott Collins, a Snitch, commented, “Snitching is its own individual sport.”
The first week of the tournament, there were two highly anticipated matches: Hufflepuff vs. Gryffindor and Slytherin vs. Ravenclaw. Before the first match started, the atmosphere matched that of a professional sporting event. The crowd was murmuring excitedly, the announcer (Ms. Murray) was trying to calm everyone down, and the players were warming up in the corners. The matches themselves were very well-played by both teams, with stellar performances from seniors Dan Elliott and Graham Miller, juniors Dan Gorman and Jon Gougelet, sophomores Brendan Barth and Alex Bauman, and freshmen Grace Tecca and Taylor Clerkin. The seniors and the juniors came out with wins.
“Our team is like the Miami Heat. We go out there, and all we do is win!” Miller said in his post-match interview.
|Slytherin vs. Gryffindor
Photo: Peter Lange
The second week, which was also Halloween dress-up day, saw the student championship match between Slytherin and Gryffindor. The seniors were clearly the favorites, but in this situation, the underdogs prevailed, with Slytherin taking the win. Dan Gorman had another great game, and one of the lone girls on the Gryffindor squad, senior Kira Kelley, played with great aggression (while dressed as Spiderman). Junior Kenyon Hunt admitted he was nervous at first, “but the win feels great!”
In the match of the third and final week, Slytherin played a select team of Hanover High staff. It was a hard-fought game, with great performances on the staff side, but it was the juniors who reigned supreme, becoming the 2010 Hanover High School Quidditch champions.
Students at Hanover love this tournament, and the same can be said for the staff.
“I love the fact that it brings the entire school together,” said Shannon Pogue, a new staff member. “It’s a great tradition.” And to the juniors: when you’re in the International Quidditch League, make sure you say “hi” to Harry Potter for us.