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Play Folk #7: Quidditch

Myles Nye

Isn't Al an amazing photographer?

This game was about a month ago and a lot has happened since then: in my personal life, and there was also IndieCade and Come Out and Play in SF so there have been a lot of games since then. This won't be an old-school style epic length post, but I still have fond memories of the day.

Major thanks go out to the Lost Boys for allowing us to crash their practice and for being so kind and patient. The event was advertised as 2 hours and I asked the managers what they were going to do and they said, "Scrimmage for another hour" so while some of us took off, a few others remained to play.

The rules to Quidditch (or, as I called it, Muggle Quidditch: no one else calls it that) are available online, but the Lost Boys athletes explained them to us over and over, and welcomes us newbies into the game. Quidditch is great: if you like running. I am not an athlete, so I was pretty spent after playing for 20 minutes or so, but it delivers all the wind-in-your-hair, get-outside-and-move exhilaration you could ask for, in spades.

Westwood Park was a great spot, full of pick up games of all varieties, and our game attracted plenty of interest from passersby. Greg S. became a lifetime member.

Um, what else? The main thing I remember was my experience as the Snitch. I confess that it was my agenda all along to be the Snitch, and after playing a bit as a Chaser, Vanessa and some of the other athletes gave me some coaching on how to play the Snitch.

There's a real skill to it: it's not just a crazy man with a tennis ball in a sock dangling off his butt. (Like I said, if you want to know the rules, they're out there: I'm not going to Google it for you.) Fending off two oncoming attackers is really hard. They trained me on just one. I'm happy I did not know that the woman who helped train me (and I'm afraid I've forgotten her name) was a marathon runner, a trained Seeker, and a formidable athlete. I mean, the lattermost was clear, but I didn't know just how unevenly matched we were, which worked to my benefit.

Vanessa taught me the ropes and I practiced fighting her off. I'm just going to call her Tank Girl. Hands on shoulders, OK. Hands on boobs, not OK. Like I needed to be told that. So eluding her and fighting her off as she tried to yank my sock out was tough enough, but once we played for real, and Greg was the other Seeker, it became very difficult. The bummer is, if you suck as a Snitch (and I sucked), you end the whole game, so it's doubly bad, because those people are having fun. Well actually a lot of them looked pretty hot and tired but just because I was too old and slow to outrun the Seekers, they didn't want their game snuffed out.

My second time as Snitch in a non-drill situation, I was so exhausted by the end that I got on my hands and knees and crawled to the shade for water. "That was good," said Vanessa encouragingly. "You lasted a couple minutes longer that time." "DON'T PATRONIZE ME," is what I could have said if I'd been able to catch my breath.

My third time as Snitch I caught on to a great tactic: if you can yank the broomstick out from under the Seeker, they have to run and touch their goal. This changed everything! First of all, I realized I could run faster than them because the broomsticks are so cumbersome, but yanking the stick out is an enormous advantage for the Snitch.

This technique worked great and allowed me to fend off Greg and Tank Girl for a few minutes, my best performance as Snitch by far. In fact the only reason I didn't do it more and last longer is I didn't want to be a one-trick pony. I should have been a one-trick pony. As soon as I tried to engage them in combat, it was all over.

A marvelous, exhausting, energizing day. I'm glad our next game will be less athletic. Speaking of which, you should come! Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1492310124365405/

Group photo by Al, who was probably the best Quidditch player of the bunch as well as a fine photographer.

Final note to say that this was our first play date without our friend and co-founder Lily. She is missed. I hope London is treating you well, chica.