483 ½ Wizolympics – Day 3 Update: Snowball Fight

‘Ello again, Daily Prophet subscribers! Barnabuss Cuffe here bringing you coverage directly from the Wizolympics in Sochi, Russia. Today’s report is brought to you by the Nimbus Racing Broom Company. Flying now to a store near you, the Nimbus 2014 is the superior model to all of its predecessors. Not only is it the most exquisitely designed broom of its kind, but it is also the speediest ever produced by wizard hands! Nimbus is excited to announce that with the ’14 model they have at last outpaced Firebolt as fastest model racing broom on the market. Get it while you can!

It was a bright and cold morning on this Sunday, February 9. The Squib protestors and the WETS had finally seemed to come to their senses after yesterday’s brouhaha, for they were now shoveling slush around the perimeter of the stadium with bright smiles on their faces. (Evidently Russian security had had a few words with them.)

Today marked the day of the first round of the Snowball Fight Tournament. A “snowball fight,” for my readers who are caught off guard by the strange concept, in fascinatingly the exact same thing as Snudgeboll! They call Snudgeboll “having a snowball fight” in the Muggle world, and I am not sure why.

At 1:00 PM sharp, the eight competing teams of five descended on the pitch, which had been completely covered in a foot of wet snowfall for the occasion. I grabbed a fistful of the perfect Snudgeboll snow in my hand as Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Finland, Iceland, Jamaica, Peru, and Thailand made their way to the middle to shake wands.

Meanwhile, the lower stands were full of Pogrebins, who seemed to have doubled in number since their appearance at the Opening Ceremony only a few nights before. It also seemed to me they were waiting with extreme expectation, whether for the game to begin or for something else… I contemplated the thought no further.

Suddenly, a burly man with an enourmous beard Apparated between the teams and magnified his voice so that we might all here the following:

“Greetings, teams, guests, and honored Porgebins!” – the Pogrebins collectively uttered a piercing squeal – “Welcome to Day 3 and Event 5 of the Wizolympics! You may have heard that Muggles have a sport in their world modeled after one of our games – Snudgeboll – but from our research of the Muggles over a period of time, we have discovered this game – which for us is no more than a childhood fancy – for them is a sport of high regard, and as per standard Wizolympic tradition, we have included it among our own games that we might learn the hidden strength, speed, and skills of the Muggles by doing what they do, as it were.

“Please,” he continued, gesturing to the teams to listen closely. “All of you spread out! Find a corner of the pitch that you prefer, and begin gathering snow. In Muggle snowball fights they build walls, forts if you will, out of snow before they begin attacking one another. In this first round, all teams will be judged based on the size, durability, and aesthetic appeal of their defensive walls. You have twenty minutes. BEGIN.”

I watched in earnest as the teams struggled in the snow, for no such thing as the ref had just described had ever been done in a proper match of Snudgeboll, where players usually had to close their eyes for ten minutes and spin around in a circle while the other players stuffed snow straight down their wizzy jam jams.

About five minutes into the competition, a member of the Finnish team called out to the announcer, “Can we use magic?”

“What did you say?” boomed the announcer.

“CAN WE USE MAGIC?” he screamed louder.

“What?” asked the announcer again. “Speak louder!”

Clearly giving up and now using his wand to amplify his voice with the Sonorous Charm, he now asked quite clearly, “Can we use magic?”

“What!” the announcer’s voice boomed again, suddenly furious. “Improper use of magic by section 4B in the rule book! No magic will be used during the Snow Ball Tournament. Disqualified!”

“But you didn’t tell us the rules!” the Finnish competitor argued back, but he was too late. With a menacing squeal of delight, the large group of Pogrebins launched into the air and rained from the sky. There must have been hundreds of them. They slowly descended like a terrible cloud of death upon the Finnish team and proceeded to usher them out of the stadium through a large door. A single Dementor followed the procession, as if intrigued.

Those poor men and women sure didn’t need Sonorous Charms to be heard now. Unfortunately, team Finland was never heard from again.

Until I saw them at dinner later that evening.

Thus, it was ruled Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Iceland, Peru, and Thailand would proceed to the next round, for the Jamaican team, confused about the rules as well, had spent the entirety of their twenty minutes sitting close together in bobsled position, waiting to ride.