A frightening lack of understanding

May 8, 2012

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The uninitiated can expect some strange sights at the Buckeye Valley High School campus next week, but rest assured, Muggles, it’s for a good cause.

BVHS will have its first inter-mural, co-educational Muggle Quidditch tournament next week. The opening round of the fictional-turned-real game from the magical Harry Potter universe is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4, with the championship match scheduled for Friday, May 6 at the same time.

Even if they don’t offer any particular propulsive advantage to non-wizards (referred to as Muggles, by the way) competitors must still play Quidditch while holding a broomstick between their legs at all times.

Spectators to the fundraising event are welcome — admission is either a donated article to Humane Society or a $5 donation to the American Diabetes Association.

Generally speaking, the rules of Quidditch are somewhat similar to lacrosse — offensive players (“Chasers”) aim to throw the Quaffle (a volleyball) through the opponent’s round goal, guarded by a Keeper. Meanwhile, defensive players (“Beaters”) try to stop the Chasers by flinging “Bludgers” (dodgeballs). If a Bludger strikes a Chaser, the Chaser must drop the Quaffle.

Each successful score translates to 10 points. The game will take place on the BVHS football field.

But there’s an interesting wrinkle: in magical Quidditch, both teams have a player called the Seeker, whose job is to catch the Golden Snitch, a fast-moving, flying tiny ball. Since a magical ball isn’t an option for Muggles, a person dressed head to toe in gold will carry a tennis ball, the stand-in Snitch, in their back pocket.

When the Seeker catches the Snitch, the game is over. The Snitch-carrier will be unburdened by a broomstick, and is thus in theory must faster than the Seeker. The playing field for the Seekers and the Snitch will essentially be the entire BVHS campus.

The team whose Seeker catches the Snitch gets 50 points.

There’s more evoking the wildly popular books: the teams will be broken down by grade level and named after the different dormitories at Hogwarts, the wizards-in-training boarding school from the novels. Seniors will be Gryfindor, Juniors will be Slytherin, sophomores will be Ravenclaw and freshmen will be Hufflepuff.

The winners of each match will face off on Friday. Spectators can be able to purchase T-shirts, “cockroach clusters,” “butter beer” and other cuisine from Harry Potter universe.

The game will be accompanied by a Harry Potter “spirit week,” where students will be encouraged to dress up like various characters from the books and sport their team colors.

Had enough Harry Potter terminology?

“At first we were embarrassed to say all the details we knew about the books… but now we don’t really care,” said a smiling Sanna Kenney, 17, who along with 18-year-old Kayla Heineike organized the event.

Both Kenney and Heineike were named fall and winter homecoming queens, respectively; traditionally, the BV homecoming queen organizes some type of fundraiser. And rather than Powderpuff football, Kenney and Heineike opted to go a more unconventional route that would attract a wider audience.

“We wanted to get people involved who might not participate otherwise,” Kenney said.

Kenney first got the idea when she visited Loyola University as a prospective student. She and her aunt saw students running around wearing safety goggles with broomsticks between their legs.

“I think my aunt assumed it was some kind of sorority hazing ritual,” she said. “But I found out they actually have a Quidditch club,” as many universities now do.

Kenney got together with Heineike, who’s the greater Harry Potter buff between the two. And the rest is history.

Teams will gather this weekend to practice, and take a crash course in Quidditch rules. The girls hope to organize an inter-school game against Delaware Hayes’ own Quidditch club.

Even though some might peg Harry Potter as nerdy, Quidditch is not for the clumsy or the faint of heart, Kenney cautious.

“You definitely need to be coordinated to run with a broom between your legs,” she said.