The High Table Club carries on the Quidditch tradition
By Jordan Schilit
It started as an April Fools Day joke, but the Bryn Mawr College muggles just couldn’t stop playing.
For the past decade, Quidditch has soared across Bryn Mawr’s campus. “Doublestar,” the Science Fiction and Fantasy club, started its presence in the late 1990’s. “High Table” has continued the tradition.
High Table, led by junior Rebecca Rubin-Glanz and senior Beth Curtiss, now organizes Quidditch games for both the Fall and Spring Semesters. The club promotes a carefree, stress-relieving environment, known for using distinct table linens and table decorations for Sunday brunch.
The Quidditch games definitely don’t lack silliness. It’s hard to miss a group of students, with brooms between their legs and capes on their backs, running around on Merrian Green tossing Nerf balls towards golden hula-hoops. One team wears magenta for Gryffindor, and the other green for Slytherin.
The most recent match on Oct. 25 saw eight people. Meanwhile in Vermont, Middlebury College was hosting the annual Intercollegiate Quidditch Association (IQA) World Cup.
“We had no idea that they were playing today,” Curtiss said. “We typically don’t keep track of the other teams around the country.”
Quidditch squads from colleges and universities across the country have caught on to the game’s competitiveness, and many aspire to compete in the IQA World Cup – only 24 qualify. A total of 226 schools are part of the IQA.
YouTube videos and advertisements for muggle Quidditch depicts the sport as a competitive activity, best suited for varsity collegiate athletes. Even in Harry Potter the game is described as violent and dangerous. But that isn’t Bryn Mawr’s style.
So, joining the IQA’s membership is not on the agenda for Bryn Mawr.
According to Curtiss, the style of Quidditch that the Mawrtyrs play follows the goals of High Table: “be silly, and don’t take life too seriously.” Bryn Mawr Quidditch is non-competitive and the players believe having fun is the top priority.
Quidditch, as described in Harry Potter, is played with a Quaffle, two Bludgers, and a Golden Snitch. Chasers try to throw the Quaffle through golden rings for points, Beaters use clubs to hit Bludgers towards opponents, and Seekers try to capture the Golden Snitch. And with magic, everyone flies around on broomsticks.
Bryn Mawr’s Quidditch players wish to mimic the game, but only what is reasonable for a small field of muggle players. Everyone runs around on brooms. Players try to throw a large red ball through gold hoops. Others try to prevent them from scoring by beating them with foam tubes. But no headshots are allowed.
Who has the Snitch?
The game ends when the Snitch, a painted gold ball, is revealed after players sneakily pass it around from pocket to pocket. Games typically last about two hours and are played on select Sunday afternoons.
“We try to follow the rules in the book, but if we don’t have enough people we don’t worry about it,” Curtiss said. “It’s very informal. We wouldn’t enjoy it if it was competitive.”
They don’t even keep score. Players tend to switch teams to make teams fair. No rulebooks will be brought out if positions cannot be filled.
Quidditch games are typically promoted through simple posters titled, “Want to play Quidditch?” Not only is the invitation welcoming, but also encourages anyone who wants to have fun to come play. It’s made clear that no athletic ability is necessary.
But even after the group starts playing, they still welcome people walking by. Those who say, “I don’t play sports” won’t get off the hook – High Table would still encourage you to play. You’ll just be asked, “Do you want to be Gryffindor or Slytherin?”
High Table has started planning Quidditch games for the Spring 2010 semester. Games do not conflict with religious holidays or school breaks. Warmer weather is typically preferred.
They will be encouraging all students – and even teachers or security guards – to have a silly afternoon. So, Bryn Mawr students shouldn’t be surprised if they hear “Come play Quidditch!” from the open fields of Merrian Green. High Table will be easy to find.