We went to North Myrtle Beach to see the seventh Quidditch World Cup and it was crazy awesome. If you're new to the term, here's an explanation of the rules from the International Quidditch Association.
Quidditch is a co-ed contact sport with a unique mix of elements from rugby, dodgeball, and tag. A quidditch team is made up of seven athletes who play with brooms between their legs at all times. While the game can appear chaotic to the casual observer, once familiar with the basic rules, quidditch is an exciting sport to watch and even more exciting to play.
Three chasers score goals worth 10 points each with a volleyball called the quaffle. They advance the ball down the field by running with it, passing it to teammates, or kicking it. Each team has a keeper who defends the goal hoops. Two beaters use dodgeballs called bludgers to disrupt the flow of the game by “knocking out” other players. Any player hit by a bludger is out of play until they touch their own goals. Each team also has a seeker who tries to catch the snitch. The snitch is a ball attached to the waistband of the snitch runner, a neutral athlete in a yellow uniform who uses any means to avoid capture. The snitch is worth 30 points and its capture ends the game. If the score is tied after the snitch catch, the game proceeds into overtime.
This was my first time seeing Quidditch in person but it was easy to catch on to how everything works. It's a very exciting sport to watch and much more dangerous than I expected. Some matches were actually hard to watch because the players were just so brutally physical.
In between watching the games, we wandered around and played mini golf, hit up a local comics store, and had lots of coffee and snacks.
|feeding the psychotic fishes at Broadway at the Beach|
Somehow we never actually made it to the beach but we enjoyed staring at it from our hotel window.
|a pier being built nearby|
There were eighty teams competing from around the world. Saturday was pool play and all of the teams played multiple games to see who would proceed to Sunday's bracket play. Most of the day there were eight games going on at any given time. Insane!
|Saturday's sunburn - hurt worse than it looks|
After being outside all day Saturday, I had a bit of a burn. It didn't even look that bad honestly but it felt miserable. I have no tolerance for sunlight.
Sunday morning SIL made us breakfast -- chicken lo mein and breadsticks! Oh yeah.
Then we were off to see the games get even crazier. Sunday was high stakes crazy. During one of the semi-final games, play was paused twice for injuries that required the players taken out on boards with braced necks. Quidditch players wear little to no protective gear and it's a rough rough game. I couldn't believe how many injuries we watched happen over the weekend and they were more and more heartbreaking as the weekend went on. We saw lots of players walking around with bags of ice taped to body parts, using crutches, etc. I heard someone even broke their collarbone.
We watched the final game from the ground just inches away from the boundary line.
Not sure if the picture really shows how close we were. That line at the bottom is the field boundary and the three hoops in the upper left of the picture are the goals. We were as close as we could possibly be without being in the way.
It was such an experience and I hope that World Cup VIII comes back to SC next year so that we can be there again!
|a bit of video from the beginning of the final match|
|a bit of video from right after UT Austin won the final|
P.S. I got hit by a bludger during a match on Saturday. I'll brag about it always.