Quidditch players seek fun at William Hall Library

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The William Hall Library started playing Quidditch in 2002 after the Harry Potter craze struck and someone donated heavy cardboard tubes to the library.

Edna Hutchins, who works at the Central Library, has run the program and continues to this day. At first, she thought the tubes would be perfect for making Quidditch hoops. In the early years, they duct taped two tubes together and duct taped a hula-hoop to the top.

“It was pretty fragile and took a lot of time to assemble. Over the years we've made adaptions and improvements, many of them constructed by my father, C. Kenneth Hutchins of Acton, Maine,” said Hutchins.

In the book series, there are four positions: Chasers, Keepers, Beaters and Seekers. Chasers use red balloons for quaffles and try to get them through the hula-hoops. The Keepers try to block them. They only use 4 hoops, 2 on each side, rather than the 6 (3 on each side) they use in the books, mostly for simplicity. Teams get 10 points for each quaffle that goes through their hoop.

“The Beaters would normally use their brooms to block the bludgers but we don't use brooms. Since we play inside in a limited space I'm afraid someone might get hurt. Instead, our Beaters use pool noodles to block the bludgers. And since we haven't perfected the self-flying ball, we've added a position called Bludgers. They stand on the stage in the auditorium and throw beach balls at the Chasers. If a Chaser is struck they must drop their quaffle and wait for another to be available,” said Hutchins.

Meanwhile the tallest volunteers play a game of keep away with the Seekers. They have a beanbag snitch with two small wings that is tossed between volunteers. If a Seeker catches it in mid-air, their team gets 25 points.

“In the book series, the game ends with the catching of the snitch but because it's easier to catch in our game we play a timed game of 15 minutes,” said Hutchins.

They stop if there are any fouls, and twice for players to change positions.

Before the game the kids (entering grades 4 - 9) are divided into the 4 houses of Hogwarts. Two teams play, followed by the remaining two teams, and a break is taken for refreshments and door prizes and then the two winning teams play for Quidditch cup. This year Team Hufflepuff won.

“The size of the teams and the number of players at the different positions varies depending on the number of kids who attend. Teams can consist of anywhere from five to nine players, although we have played with as many as 11 players on a team (they have players on the bench). This year we had nine players on the teams,” said Hutchins.

Volunteers from the teams not currently playing run around picking up stray balloons and beach balls. Stay tuned for next year’s Quidditch match.

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