Harsh conditions make for good Quidditch

First-year athlete recounts Quidditch tournament in Kingston

Lydia Reid, Mohnish Mistry, and Matt Rogers attempt to block a shot from a McGill Chaser
Lydia Reid, Mohnish Mistry, and Matt Rogers attempt to block a shot from a McGill Chaser

Snow, ice, and below zero temperatures. These were the weather conditions for the Quidditch tournament held on Saturday, Feb. 11, hosted by the Queen’s Quidditch Club. 

That morning while I sat with my first-year teammates in Leonard Hall for breakfast, we looked out the window at the falling snow and debated how difficult this tournament would be. We walked through the cold to the tournament at City Park and began trudging across the snow-covered field. We weren’t even halfway across when Lydia, a first-year chaser, slipped and fell on the ice. It became clear to us that today’s toughest opponent might not be the other teams, but the weather.  

As this was not an official tournament, the only teams participating were Queen’s, McGill, and Valhalla — Canada’s first community Quidditch team. Quidditch Canada’s national rankings currently show that Valhalla, McGill, and Queen’s are ranked third, sixth and ninth, respectively.

While some players helped to set up the quidditch hoops I chose to mingle with my teammates, huddling together to try to keep ourselves warm despite the -7 degree temperature.  When teams began jogging around the field and stretching out their muscles, it became clear that “warming up” in this temperature might prove impossible. 

Our first game of the day against McGill gave many of our less-experienced players a chance to test their skills against one of the top teams in Canada. Despite the fact that many of us couldn’t feel our hands or feet, we made many successful plays and won the game. Kyle Ross, our team’s captain, made the victorious snitch catch but injured his knee in the process, forcing him to sit out for the rest of the tournament.  

During our second game against Valhalla, it was clear that even though this was an unofficial tournament, players from both teams were still taking the game seriously. One crowning moment of the game came from our Team President, Samantha McCaul, who managed to maintain control of the ball while a Valhalla beater wrestled her for it in the snow for more than 20 seconds. Upsettingly, the Valhalla seeker caught the snitch first, winning them the game. 

The silver lining was that the 40 minute lunch break that followed gave us all a chance to gather in the ARC to grab hot chocolate and attempt to thaw our frozen bodies. 

As the day continued the temperature dropped, but the good company of teammates kept everyone in good spirits. The cold, however, was a force to be reckoned with. By our third game, I abandoned the hope of keeping a good grip on the ball and opted to wear my mittens to keep my fingers from falling off. Eventually, we mastered the ability to avoid patches of ice, and even if you did happen to slip and fall, your legs were so numb you wouldn’t even feel it.

Our last game ended with McGill catching the snitch, but considering the circumstances of the rough weather conditions and team injuries, no one was disappointed in how we played. After the game, Kyle limped over on his injured knee to join the team together in one final group huddle. Circled up together, some of the senior members of the team reflected on how even though we didn’t win, we held our own against two of the top teams in Canada and that’s something to be proud of. 

Quidditch is a game that we all love, but there’s something about playing it in the snow that doubles the fun despite the painfully cold conditions. Though we sometimes couldn’t feel our fingers, and though running was made nearly impossible, when we’re holding onto each other for a team huddle, it’s easy to ignore the freezing cold.  

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