Wizards on Wickwire

One Moment society pulls off Quidditch game

- March 26, 2008

Looks like a good one! (Photo courtesy One Moment)

“One, two, three, four, we love Voldemort!”

I’m a busy student, with papers to write, laundry to do, coffee to drink and story ideas to scrupulously scope out. So how did I end up here – dressed in three layers of my warmest clothing on Wickwire field, watching ostensibly grown men and women ducking dodge balls on broomsticks?

PHOTO ESSAY: Wizards on Wickwire
VIDEO: Quidditch Match at Dalhousie University

Since my first article on One Moment, the fledgling charity has been busy earning its wings. One Moment founders Jillian Soh, Fahad Kabir, and Geoff Seto quickly turned their attentions to the practical application of their newest big idea – putting on a Quidditch game for philanthropic fans of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I can only imagine the seriousness with which important, Quidditch-related questions were asked at One Moment meetings. How to enchant Bludgers into attacking players at random? Who is going to referee a sport properly played only by wizards? Most importantly, how do a team of earthbound Muggles play a game on broomsticks?

The version of Quidditch played at Dalhousie was based on one created by Alex Benepe, founder of the “Intercollegiate Qudditch Association,” with a few digressions and improvements pioneered by Kabir, Seto and Soh. I made the mistake of standing in front of Jillian while she was plotting charitable exploits, and subsequently was enlisted as a commentator in the rapidly approaching Quidditch game.

“What do I commentate on?” I protested on the day of the event, as Jill shoved a megaphone into my gloved hands. “I’ve never even seen this played!”

I don’t think anyone in the crowd had anyone seen anything like it. The day of the Quidditch match – Saturday, March 22 – dawned bright, sunny, and merrily blizzardy. The snow had lightened by the time the 2 p.m. start time rolled around, but it was still bitterly cold – players jumped up and down on the field to keep warm, One Moment volunteers did a thriving business in black-market hot chocolate, and Appleby Arrows seeker Hannah Sarrouy nearly did a faceplant when her quest for the Snitch took her through a patch of icy slush.

“I hope people show up,” I said worriedly to Fahad.

He laughed. “Really? Me too.”

People did – a sizable crowd of students and locals turned out to support friends and fans. Three teams played in the Quidditch tournament – Hannah Sarrouy’s Appleby Arrows, in sparkly green capes, Logan Astle’s Chudley Cannons in orange, and, in shiny black robes that looked suspiciously like garbage bags, claimed Azkaban-escapees They Who Must Not Be Named, captained by Chris Sponagle. This particular team seemed to catch the attention of the crowd, which broke into a “One, two, three, four, we love Voldemort!” cheer with worrying regularity.

“Everyone seems rather partial towards evil today,” I remarked.

“Yes,” Sarrouy agreed, as she handed her team their transportation (the event was strictly BYOB, Bring Your Own Broom). “I noticed that too.”

The actual games were fast and furious, a bizarre combination of rugby, dodge ball, and a scavenger hunt. Seekers search for the sprinting Snitch – everyone else concentrates on getting the Quaffle (ball) into the hoop (net) while evading Bludgers (dodgeballs hurled with unseemly elation by “Beaters”). The Appleby Arrows won the first game; every match after that fell to the nefarious They Who Must Not Be Named. Eventually, They Who Must Not Be Named were proclaimed victors, and took home the coveted Quidditch cup.

“It’s definitely a work in progress,” Soh says soberly, when asked how she felt about the match. “There’s a problem with the Snitch getting caught too fast. And it’s just way too cold.” What she doesn’t mention is the Quidditch On The Quad event raised more than $300 in profits – more than any event put on by One Moment since the Grawood benefit.

Plus, it’s earned One Moment attention. “Awesome game! We drove from Musquodoboit Harbour to see it!” trumpets a comment on the Quidditch is Coming to Dalhousie Facebook group. There’s no word on what One Moment is planning next, but it’s going to be difficult to top a Quidditch tournament. Perhaps a moon landing might be in order?


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