Over the weekend, my daughters and I got our first taste of Quidditch played by Muggles. Curious as to how a game that's supposed to be played by wizards on broomstick would look when played by the non-magical, we went to a demo by the University of Kansas's Quidditch team (http://www.kansasquidditch.com). We found a spot on the sidelines and watched while while sipping butterbeer and clutching our newly-purchased "Kansas Quidditch" t-shirts. (Now my eleven-year-old will have something other than her Godzilla shirt to wear on "favorite sports team" day at school!)
Picturing a bunch of college kids willingly running around holding brooms between their legs, throwing a Quaffle (volleyball) through hoops to score points, and trying to hit each other with a Bludger (dodge ball) wasn't much of a stretch for my daughters and me (we are nerds, after all), but we were wondering how on earth they would manage to re-create the Snitch, the elusive, flying golden ball whose catching automatically ends a Quidditch game. We figured a robotic Snitch could be programmed to fly within certain parameters easily enough, but doubted something that delicate would be able to withstand being snatched forcefully from the air. Our question was partially answered when we heard a triumphant yell and saw a girl waving a tube sock with a tennis ball shoved into its toe - okay, so that must be the Snitch, but where had it come from? Our attention had been elsewhere on the field. Shortly after the next game started, a guy in a yellow shirt sprinted into the crowd and past us, pursued by one of the Seekers. It turns out he was the Snitch, and the sock was tucked into the waistband of his shorts. The next time we saw him, he was on the other side of the alleyway where the game was being played, apparently having run halfway around the block to get there.