At the 2015 National Order of the Arrow Conference, the Snitch is an Arrowman from New York named Tom Gwinn.
Gwinn, from the Kittan Lodge of the Twin Rivers Council in Albany, agrees to play the part before Craig Clark explains the rules.
“The Seekers’ job is to chase after the Snitch and try to tackle him,” Clark says.
“Wait, physically tackle?” Gwinn asks.
Modeled after the sport J.K. Rowling created for her Wizarding World, Quidditch has become popular among Muggles (that is, those without magical abilities).
At NOAC 2015, Quidditch is one of several off-the-wall sports Arrowmen can try. There’s also Human Battleship, Human Foosball and Drunk RC Cars (where you try to drive a radio-controlled car while wearing drunk goggles, thereby experiencing just how dangerous drunken driving is).
After Clark explains the rules, I ask Gwinn if he’s ready to be the Snitch.
“Nope,” he says plainly. Then he runs off to stash his phone somewhere safe.
Quidditch looks like a lot of fun. Arrowmen straddle broomsticks as they run up and down the field trying to throw a yellow ball through a hula-hoop goal. They do this while avoiding purple dodgeballs that, if they hit you, put you out of the game temporarily.
It’s a little more complicated than that, because certain players have certain roles. But it’s really just about having a great time and being silly with your friends.
After some back-and-forth scoring, everything changes once the Snitch comes in. Gwinn waits for his cue a few minutes into play and then runs on the field. He’s quickly tackled by a member of the red team, ending the game.
But, true to the brotherhood of the Order, the tackler helps Gwinn back to his feet.
Teams of seven Arrowmen were split into one of four roles:
- Three Chasers: These guys, wearing yellow armbands, are the only ones who can hold the yellow ball, or Quaffle. Their objective is to score it through one of three elevated hula-hoops on the other side of the field. Doing so gets their team 10 points.
- Two Beaters: These guys, wearing green armbands, are the only ones who can hold the purple ball, or Bludger. Their objective is to throw the Bludger at the opposition. If he makes contact, the opposing player must drop the Quaffle (if he’s carring it) or run back to his goal, broom held high, to re-enter the game (if he’s empty-handed).
- One Keeper: This guy is the goalie. He wants to block the Quaffle before it goes through the goal.
- One Seeker: This guy’s goal is to catch the Snitch, a guy on neither team who is carrying a tennis ball. If a Seeker successfully tackles the Snitch, the game ends and the tackling team gets 150 points.
Confused? It makes more sense when you’re playing or watching it, I promise. The Arrowmen here played a slight variation of Muggle quidditch, but you can read this Wikipedia page if you’re interested in the “official” rules for this magical sport.
In fact, Muggle quidditch seems like a fun game for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts or Venturers. Have you tried it in your Scouting unit?
See my other NOAC 2015 posts here.