Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tales from the Leo Quidditch Tournament

By Hazel Wong 

On 21 Aug., I attended the Leo Quidditch Tournament hosted by the Sri Kuala Lumpur Private School’s Leo Club. I wasn’t sure what to expect mainly because the organizers were not quidditch players themselves but I kept an open mind. The field was very well maintained, with no bumps, holes, or sandy patches. In Malaysia’s Klang Valley this is not a common sight, so I was happy to be able to play on such a nice field!
As promised by the organizers, standing on the field were three quidditch pitches, innovatively built using wooden poles and hula-hoops. Across the field in dispersed groups stood students in well-designed, bold red tournament jerseys. Large tents were provided to the side of the field to shield the players and spectators from the harsh Kuala Lumpur sun.
Before the tournament got underway, the referees from the Leo Club and Damansara Dementors Quidditch played a short exhibition match to demonstrate how quidditch is played to the majority who had never played before.
I was on Team Potter, and we were one of the first teams to play in the first round. We were up against Team Lovegood, which also had one experienced player. Naturally, I told my teammates to watch out for him. The advice that I gave to the team was this: first – and most importantly – communicate with your team members. The second most important thing to do during a game is to always wait for support before attempting to score; that way you have more backup. And lastly, have heaps of fun! 

In the game, I played in my comfortable role as a beater. So I ended up naturally giving more tips to my beater partners, such as, “If there is an extra ball on the field, just chuck it back to our hoops,” and “Try not to beat the opposite player too hard, as that usually means you have to run farther to get the ball back.
The game between the Potters and the Lovegoods started out quite closely, about 30-20 to the Potters. But once everyone got more familiar with their positions, the game started to flow a bit more smoothly. Potter’s chasers were communicating as well as making excellent passes, its beaters were keeping the opposing quaffle at bay, and our keeper was making hard tackles and occasionally scoring. I tried my best to stay behind the hoops and frequently give the team useful feedback on the play. We also had our own dedicated cheerer to help keep our spirits up! With everyone having fun playing, time seemed to sail by, and it was a delightful surprise when our seeker caught the snitch. The game ended with the score 130*-40 to team Potter. I was thrilled, but more so because of the fact that the team played so well.
The second game was against Team Longbottom. Team Longbottom also had a fellow Damansara Dementors player, to whom I referred as the Bulldozer. Prior to the match, we had our now-mandatory team huddle. I gave special commands for the beaters to take out the experienced player, as it was unlikely that my chasers/keeper could tackle him.
For the first few minutes of the second game, I decided to sit out and let the new kids play instead. Before the start of the game, I noticed my teammates frantically swapping headbands as we were trying to decide what roles they preferred most. It was great to see them learn the game so quickly, and I left it to them to decide the starting lineup.
From the moment the second game started, it was clear that both teams were very evenly matched. There were no goals until one of Team Potter’s chasers broke away from the support of the rest of the team and made a sprint toward Longbottom’s goals. I had made it a point that offensive players should always advance up the field with at least one teammate, but this guy saw a chance and scored the first goal. We were all ecstatic. He went on to score two more goals in a similar fashion.
I subbed in shortly after the snitch was released, and the scoreboard showed how nerve-wrackingly close both teams were. Both seekers were struggling to get the snitch, and players on both teams were getting tired. We were ahead and wanted it to stay that way even if the Longbottoms caught the snitch.
Finally, the whistle was blown, and our seeker caught the snitch. This time the score was 90*-40 to Team Potter. I was so proud. The teamwork that all the players displayed was astounding, especially considering the fact that this tournament was our first time playing together.
Oddly enough, the final didn’t take place. This was mainly because of the heat and, in pure Malaysian fashion, everybody was looking forward to lunch. We definitely had time to go ahead with the final, but I guess the organizers didn’t want to risk anybody fainting because of heat exhaustion. The champion was determined by the team that scored the most goals.
Spirits were high after lunch as I sat with Damansara Dementors players who were exchanging stories of how each other’s games went. One of them told us how he single-handedly scored eight points within five minutes of a game’s end, and from there we all knew whose team was going to win first place. Or so we thought.
The wait for the announcement of the winners was an anxious one. Team McGonagall came in third; I was so sure my team was going to place third, so I decided to be a bit more optimistic. The announcer revealed Team Snape as the second-place winner, which was what I expected. When Team Potter was announced as the champion, I was shocked. “No way,” I thought to myself. “We won!”
It was probably one of the nicest surprises that I've ever experienced, and I truly believe that my teammates deserved the result.

You probably realize this, but how fitting that Team Potter emerged overall champion at this tournament!

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