Quidditch sweeps into Princeton
Monday afternoon, the Middlebury Quidditch team stopped at Princeton University as part of its annual spring break Quidditch tour in an attempt to promote its ground-bound version of the sport at other American universities. So far this year, Middlebury has visited Bard and Penn and has games scheduled against Columbia and Vassar.
Like a certain teenage wizard’s favorite pastime, the non-magical version of Quidditch features seven players on a team, one quaffle, three bludgers and a golden snitch. This is where all similarities between the versions of Quidditch played at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and at Alexander Beach end.
The role of the snitch is filled, not by an enchanted, plum-sized, golden-feathered ball, but by a hyperactive college student dressed in yellow with a penchant for running and wrestling. To capture the snitch, one of the seekers must grab a black sock hanging from the snitch’s shorts.
Middlebury students have also been unable to figure out a way to make broomsticks fly, and as a result, the game is relegated to a patch of grass about the size of a basketball court. To stay true to its wizardry roots, participants in the game must play with a broomstick between their legs at all times.
Mathey College Dean of Student Life Matthew Frawley organized the inaugural Middlebury vs. Princeton Quidditch Cup.
“We started playing Quidditch at Princeton in the fall,” Frawley said. “Middlebury found out about it and mentioned they were coming to the East Coast in the spring.” The Middlebury students stayed in Rocky and Mathey last night.
Adding to the excitement of the first intercollegiate Quidditch match in Princeton’s illustrious 262-year history, television crews from CBS News, ESPN and MTVU were on hand to film the game. Though Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour was unable to make an appearance, Middlebury Quidditch Commissioner Alex Benepe oversaw the day’s festivities.
“We’d like [for] there to be regional and national competitions in the future,” Benepe said. “One day, we hope that there could be an international competition since we’ve heard that people are playing Quidditch overseas.”
When the first game began, the Middlebury side certainly appeared ready to take on the world and used its definitive edge in Quidditch experience to thoroughly outclass Princeton. Following a slew of early goals, the Middlebury seeker grabbed the snitch to cap a 100-0 massacre.
In a great sign of compassion, the Panthers offered Princeton a rematch, and the Tigers took full advantage of the opportunity to regain some of their lost pride. During the second game, Princeton was buoyed by the excellent teamwork of dynamo freshmen chasers James Krendel-Clark and Alex Rosen, whose early goals staked Princeton to a 30-10 lead.
Middlebury responded with its own display of offensive prowess, going on a 60-10 run to regain the lead, 70-40. The Tigers refused to wilt under the pressure and knotted the score at 80 behind the much-improved defense and offense of freshman beater/chaser Travis Faust.
Following a 20-minute hiatus, the golden snitch finally reappeared carrying a bag of bagels from Panera. Despite this momentary handicap, Princeton freshman seeker Rafael Klein-Cloud was unable to capture the Middlebury snitch, and the Middlebury seeker grabbed the elusive black sock for the second game in a row, giving the Panthers a 160-90 victory.
After the game, the Middlebury side expressed admiration for the Tigers’ fast improvement, and freshman keeper Gavin Byrnes was named captain of Princeton’s delegation for the Quidditch World Cup, to be played this November at Middlebury.
“[Princeton] has a lot of good players,” Middlebury keeper Rafael Velez said. “They showed a ton of energy, and that really helps in Quidditch.”
In a related story, Frawley is thinking about filing a complaint that Middlebury bewitched one of the bludgers. All inquiries should no doubt be forwarded to the Ministry of Magic.