Harry Potter countdown: Day 2, How to play quidditch (muggle edition)

Muggles were first introduced to quidditch when Oliver Wood, keeper extraordinaire, taught Harry Potter the do’s and dont’s of the magical game. This private lesson launched a quidditch-frenzy. All around the world, envious muggles mounted ordinary brooms and even the rare pool noodle, gathered a group of friends, and attempted to reenact the game.

However, their attempts were futile. Even Oliver Wood’s teachings could hardly begin to unearth the rules and the process of the most popular wizard game in the world.  Which is why, in light of the upcoming final chapter to the Potter cinema sensation Eastside has provided a how-to-guide for those bored muggles with an unused pool noodle or two.

First, a playing field must be established. Any open field or area works just fine, as long as there is room to run…ahem, “fly” around freely.

Once the playing field is established, the proper goals and sidelines must be identified. The center of the field should be marked with some sort of distinguishing object: a cone, a circle in the ground, anything will do. In addition to the center of the field, the goals must be set up as well. There are three hoops on each side of the field in which the players attempt to toss the quaffles inside. These hoops should be of varying height, and big enough to comfortably circumscribe the size of a soccer ball. The hoops can be set up using any sort of materials. Get creative. A common strategy is the use of hula hoops, either hung from overhead barriers or taped to poles and stuck in the ground. The height of the hoops are preferably varied, but it does not matter.

Next, the “brooms” must be selected. Brooms are optional, for they can in fact pose as a hindrance when running or may even cause one to slip and fall. For those conventional muggles who wish to stick to tradition, pool noodles work best because they do not hurt when they are positioned between the legs and will not fall down when one runs.

The teams can have as many people as one wants, as long as the following positions are filled: keeper, beater, chaser, and seeker. However, the customary amount of players for each team are: 1 keeper, 1 seeker, 2 beaters, and 3 chasers.

The keeper acts a goalie. He guards the goals and tries to block any chasers from scoring.

Chasers try to throw the quaffle (soccer balls, volley balls, or even frisbees work best) into the goal hoops of the other team. Each goal is worth ten points. The chasers can pass the balls to other chasers and may run with the ball as well. One quaffle is used.

Beaters must tag the opponents on the other team. They can either use their hand to tag the players, or can use a stick of some sort, known as a beater bat. Preferably, the stick should be soft, so as not to injure the other players. When a player is tagged, he or she must drop what they have, such as a quaffle, and run to center field. Once they reach center field, they may resume play. More experienced players may use bludgers as well: these are the balls the beaters can use to throw at their opponents. They may also use their beater bats to hit the bludgers. If hit with a bludger, the same rules apply for when a player is tagged. Only two bludgers may be used during a game.

The seeker tries to catch the snitch. There are two possibilites for a snitch. Once may be that a person is assigned the role of the snitch and must run around, trying to evade the seekers (he or she may leave the boundaries of the field to do so) or a third party must hide a flag or item of some sort and the opposing seekers must find it. A tennis ball works well in this case. The seeker who finds the snitch first gains 150 points for their team and the game is over once the snitch is found.

So, for those aspiring to be like Oliver Wood, or even Victor Krum, find a pool noodle, a hula hoop, and a few other people willing to run around for a few hours or so, and start practicing. You don’t need to be a wizard for things to be magical.