The Middlebury College freshman class had a great drive for Bocce, which they would play with proper English accents since Italian ones were too hard, wearing stereotypical old-school Victorian outfits. When Xander Manshel devised to play Quidditch instead one weekend, the costumes were downgraded to towels as capes, but the activity was far more intense.
That first match was played in the morning on a lawn behind the freshman dorm. Over 20 classmates, clutching brooms between their legs, threw volleyballs against trashcans. One player from each team chased a very fast runner named Rainey Johnson, who had a tennis ball taped to his upper back. If you were hit with a dodgeball, instead of the current rule of returning to the trash can, you had to spin around five times. There was no ref, and Alex Benepe played wearing Doc Martin boots. It was a BYOB (Bring Your Own Broom) event, which someone had not been able to find.
Fortunately for the poor lamp, the Middlebury broomball team upgraded their brooms that winter, and the old actual brooms were borrowed by Quidditch players for the rest of the year.
Following the success of the first day, Manshel began an intra-mural league that continues to this day. Rainey Johnson continued to be the only Snitch for a while, and when there were a few more, they competed to be the longest lasting. When graduation loomed, Johnson began to develop the next generation of Snitches that would continue to draw out Quidditch matches into the future.
Everybody else has the potential to be a winner. We are just here to please the crowd… and to lose.
There’s something about the below Vine that most people feel after their first match. I can’t stop either.
So it’s finally here! Quidditch has now been played for a decade. Grab a broom and run erratically outside, maybe grab a dodgeball or volleyball if one’s nearby. Probably don’t tuck a yellow sock with a tennis ball down people’s pants… unless you get their permission. Tell us how you’ll be celebrating, and give Quidditch your birthday wishes in the comments below.
If you want to read more of Quidditch’s history, we’ve been counting back the years the last ten days.