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Bewitched

Published: October 22, 2010
Section: Features


Magic was in the air at Brandeis’ first-ever intercollegiate Quidditch game against Tufts University Sunday.

The rules of intercollegiate Quidditch stick closely to those featured in JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter” novels—other than the whole flying thing.

The game is played with seven players per team.

There are three chasers, who throw the quaffle through the other team’s hoop, two beaters, who throw bludgers strategically at other players in order to cause them to drop the ball and run back to the goalpost before they can return to game play, one keeper, which is a position similar to goalie, and one seeker, the player responsible for catching the snitch.

Players are differentiated by headbands of different colors; keepers in green, beaters in black, chasers in white and seekers in yellow.

All players must keep a broom between their legs at all times.

There are four balls involved. One is the quaffle, which is a slightly deflated volleyball, to improve the players ability to grip it. It is touched only by the chasers and keeper and is used for scoring.

There are three bludgers: classic, red dodgeballs (think elementary school). :Beaters launch the bludgers at other players on the field, forcing them to drop any ball in their hand and run back to their team’s goalpost.

Perhaps the most entertaining deviation in intercollegiate Quidditch from the magical version is the incredibly creative interpretation of the snitch.

Instead of an enchanted ball, the collegiate snitch is a player dressed up in yellow with a sock-enclosed tennis ball tucked into the back of his shorts.

The snitch is not bound within the pitch, leaving him or her free to roam about the campus.

Seekers chase the snitch and work to grab the tennis ball in order to gain 50 points and end the game.

The snitch seeks to run from, hide from and generally irritate the seeker and evade capture to elongate the game.

Now that the rules have been laid, we can get to the game.

Despite a slow start—there was some disorganization on Brandeis’ side and the Tufts team was late—the Brandeis Basilisks took the field opposing the Tufts Tufflepuffs.

The Tufflepuffs came clad in matching t-shirts bearing the Tufts logo. Some Basilisks wore there Jury shirts but most were dressed in normal clothes from gym shorts and t-shirts to jeans and hoodies.

Their uniform t-shirts had not yet arrived, but keep an eye out for them next game.

Brandeis fans were out in large numbers in support of their team, cheering with their voices and the occasional vuvuzela.

They shouted their encouragement and frustration towards the pitch and even occasionally joined the game themselves.

During the early stages of a pre-game scrimmage, several spectators jumped into the competition from the sidelines.

After both teams had fully warmed up—the Tufflepuffs by doing laps around the pitch, lunges and squats and the Basilisk’s by holding one ear and jumping on one foot—the game began with a shout of “Fly! Fly away!” from the game’s commentator, Joshua Seiden ’13.

Both teams rushed the pitch, chasers scrambling for the quaffle and beaters for the bludgers.

Players hurried to shoot the quaffle into each other’s goal posts—three hoops at each end of the field.

The crowd quickly realized that Quiddich is no game for mere muggles. Players dove and wrestled and body-checked. Quidditch is unquestionably a contact sport.

Right out of the gate, Tufts scored on Brandeis and that early success served as a springboard to clinch the game. In the blink of an eye, the snitch was caught and the game was over.

Though the crowd was disappointed at Brandeis’ first loss, Seiden was quick to jump in and boost morale with a quick pep talk.

“I know that Brandeis is disappointed that they didn’t catch the snitch, but the first time Harry Potter caught the snitch it was in his mouth. Did [the Tufts player] catch it in his mouth? No. Not that good of a player,” Seiden said.

In the second game, the Basilisks pulled ahead with a quick lead but the Tufflepuffs overcame the lead and flew to victory once again in the second game.

The Tufflepuffs also proved victorious in the third and final game.

A major defining point of the entire match proved to be the good humor of the crowd, announcer and players themselves despite the spectacular loss.

One Brandeis fan exclaimed in despair “this is like Ireland vs. Bulgaria.

But we have no Victor Krum!” Despite Brandeis’ loss, all were in agreement that the Basilisks’ first-ever intercollegiate match was a huge success.

The Brandeis Quidditch sponsored a coffee house in Chum’s. Performers Thursday included False Advertising, TBA, Up the Octave, Bad Grammar and Starving Artists.

The coffee house also marked the debut of the Brandeis Quidditch t-shirts, now available for five dollars.

In the wizarding spirit, butter beer was served—and it was delicious.