Frolicking on the Meadows, broom in hand, a funny hat and a made up sport? “Must be students” as a colleague remarked. But if you can’t play Harry Potter’s favourite game as a student, when can you?
Ironically invented in America and now imported into the home of JK Rowling by Edinburgh University’s Holyrood Hippogriffs, this adapted real-world quidditch pitches 7-a-side teams against each other in a remarkably faithful interpretation. But without flying, not until jetpacks come down in price in any case.
With a broom held between their legs at all times, the players must just like in the books throw the quaffle (a volleyball or similar) through one of three hoops whilst avoiding the bludgers (a dodgeball). The golden snitch in this Muggle Quidditch is not so much a independent flying object, but a tennis ball in a sock attached to the ‘snitch runner’. You have to mug them for it. They can run anywhere and Edinburgh’s snitch was a distant dot on the horizon before a seeker nabbed the ball in the training session I saw.
However the best part of the game for me was the simple improvised anarchy. Brooms ranged from a full Harry Potter replica to one from a pound-shop. Ostensibly there are rules and tactics but the game put on for my benefit looked like a joyous melee. Once it started any self-consciousness disappeared in a flurry of pointed hats, frantic goals, and snitch chasing. Oh, and if you want to join the Holyrood Hippogriffs or indeed challenge them – they are looking for rival universities to do battle with – their facebook page is here.