Ellie Darcey-Alden’s Report from the Quidditch Summer Games
by Ellie Darcey-Alden
It all started a few weeks ago when my dad saw an article in the local paper reporting that on July 8, Oxford would be host to the Quidditch Summer Games. Well, this sparked Dad’s interest, and he mentioned it to me and my younger brother Joseph. Not only did I then discover it was in Oxford, but I also realized that it was less than five miles away in Cutteslowe Park.
This was very exciting mainly because I love everything Harry Potter but also because I had never realized that quidditch was actually played as a real sport.
After that, I was so excited that I tweeted about it and told everybody that the Quidditch Summer Games were happening in Oxford and that I would love to go and discover what it was all about.
Well, within a couple of hours, Keith from MuggleNet tweeted me back saying how great it was that we were so interested. He explained how exciting Muggle quidditch is and really encouraged us to go and see for ourselves. He also put us in touch with Alex Benepe, the International Quidditch Association Commissioner and the organizer of the Summer Games. Alex was great; he gave us a very warm welcome to the sport, the IQA, and the event itself.
When we actually arrived at the opening ceremony, I did not quite know what to make of it. All the teams were in their international colors and taking it very seriously; I was so impressed. They started by playing every team’s national anthem – this was very entertaining! We were given a program, which meant that we could see what times different teams were playing. When they started playing, it was all a bit confusing because there were so many balls in play at the same time and Bludgers were being thrown and dropped. It was quite a challenge to learn all the rules.
After that, when I realized that the snitch was a real person, I got more confuddled. I thought it was a joke, but it really wasn’t. It was great to see the teams have a go and really try their best. Okay, the United Kingdom wasn’t the best, but don’t forget that it was only their second time playing a competitive match and they really did quite well. The United States and Australia were brutal. They were barging and pushing people out of their way, tackling everyone (even girls) like they were in a full-on rugby match. All the girls were just as tough!
Although everyone took it very seriously, there were also some very, very funny moments, which were fantastic to watch. Every player looked as though they were really enjoying the whole event; I particularly enjoyed the snitch taunting the seekers, who looked absolutely exhausted.
After a very competitive final, the American team was crowned champions of the Summer Games, lifting the trophy to deserved cheers and applause – applause that was, in fact, to congratulate everybody on a fantastic day of quidditch.
The following day, the US and UK quidditch teams did a demonstration match at South Park, Oxford, as part of the Olympic Torch Relay celebrations. Yet again, the US won, but the UK still did well given their lack of experience. After the demonstration had finished, all the brooms had been left on the floor… so my brother Joe, some of the players, and I decided to have a run around on the brooms. We had the beaters and even the snitch joining in and playing a game with us. I hope that one day, quidditch will be a standard sport in all schools. Hopefully, I can start a team of my own. It was really fun getting to know my new quidditch friends, and hopefully, I will get to meet them again sometime.
I would really like to say a big thank you to them for making these days ones not to forget!