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Capt. Ali Johnson, Seeker
It won't be like old times.
Sun Jan 29, 2017 05:57

Winning had felt amazing.

It had meant a lot to the whole team, after years (for some of the players at least) of hard work, to finally get that reward they’d been striving for. But it had also felt like a personal triumph for Alistair. He’d given his all to the Crotalus Quidditch team since his very first year at Sonora but never before had a taste of victory. And now he had that taste, he wanted more. It was human nature and he was sure he wasn’t the only one on his team who had felt so elated after the win.

Alistair had proved that he could make the switch from Chaser to Seeker so late in the day and still be the best player on the pitch. But the truth of the matter was, Jake Manger had not been much of a challenge. The shady Teppenpaw Seeker had no snitch catches to his name whatsoever. Clark Dill was a completely different ball game. He had a long history of victory after victory. It had been broken by Jamie Park last year but he’d come up trumps again this term so Alistair wasn’t lacking faith in the Aladren’s skills. He’d studied the Seekers closely in the Aladren-Pecari game before midterm and it was obvious that Dill knew what he was doing.

Not only that but the Aladren team organised their Beaters differently to how the Teppenpaw team did. Alistair suspected he would have John Umland attacking him with bludgers at every given opportunity, whereas Liac and Tobi had both been focused on the Chasers as well as him and Jake which split the attacks up somewhat. Umland and Dill seemed to be solid friends off the pitch and it was clear from watching them that the pair worked together a lot.

Alistair wished his team could be as dedicated and slick as that but he knew it was no reflection of his own coaching abilities, especially since the rest of the Aladren wasn’t quite up to par with the Umland-Dill duo. Alistair had been working a lot with Bastien in team practice since he’d decided that he’d take his chances with the younger Crotalus Beater and leave his assistant captain to take care of the young Chaser trio in matches. Alistair wasn’t lacking knowledge regarding any of the Quidditch positions, and would actually bet that he could play any of them better than most across all four teams with a bit of practice, but he had nonetheless encouraged Arne to pay particular attention to Bastien’s performance and give him additional tips and feedback.

There were still so many unknowns about his future but Alistair’s confidence about going pro was only growing. He had known the risks of changing positions but firmly believed it had actually worked out in his favour. Seeking was what he was supposed to do, not Chasing (although he was talented at that too), and it was good that he’d been given the opportunity to realise that before it was too late. It wasn’t that he had doubted his chances at becoming a professional Chaser, but it seemed that the Seeker position just suited him better and really allowed him to show his best qualities as a player, which the scouts were more likely to pick up on.

Alistair was still just a fifth year, yet to sit his CATS at the end of the year, so he wouldn’t be looking at signing with any teams for another couple of years. He was going to graduate from Sonora with his RATS under his belt, that was a definite. Nevertheless, it didn’t hurt to get recognised as early in the day as possible so that they’d remember him when the time came and he was ready to sign a contract. He was aware that he wasn’t going to instantly become the star Seeker for one of the top teams in the country upon leaving Sonora but that wasn’t what he was aiming for, at this moment in time. He just wanted to become a professional Quidditch player and, of course, once he got that far he would only go up from there.

As a child it had seemed like such a great dream, so far off, but the older he got, the closer it became. It wasn’t daunting, but motivating, and was a large part of the reason why Alistair worked so hard. He wanted to be the best he could possibly be, and he wanted that for his teammates too. Even though Quidditch wasn’t their passion like it was his, they clearly enjoyed it at least. And the better you were at something, the more enjoyable it was.

It was spring and the last game of the school year, so Alistair had hoped the weather would be warmer and drier, a nice change from the elements everyone had had to brave in previous matches. He didn’t want blinding sun of course, but he could do without heavy rain and howling wind today. At least they could all survive without warming charms today but Alistair instructed his team to use drying spells, offering his services to his youngest players.

Once satisfied that the whole team had undergone his warm up, Alistair called them to gather around for a few last minute words before the game started.

“This year has been a big step for the Crotalus team,” Alistair smiled at them all. “We had our first win in the last match and we worked really hard for that. We deserved it and I’m really proud of how you all played. But this is the finals, so we need to up our game-” He said this as much for his own benefit as the team’s. “We’ve trained a lot since the last match and you’ve all improved so I have faith that you’re going to perform even better today. We are capable of winning this.” Alistair’s firm belief in this statement came across in his voice.

He’d worked a lot at fixing the gaps he’d seen in the performance of his players in their first game so he was certain that the playing quality would only be even better today. But ultimately he knew that the outcome of the game was largely relying on his ability to perform under the pressure of going up against Clark Dill’s exceptional track record.

“Chasers,” Alistair looked at Dan, Winston and Simon in turn. “You’re doing a lot better in practice so I expect great things from you today. Remember to work together as a team. Daniel will go for the Quaffle at the start like last time, so you two need to get into good positions to help him out once he’s got it. This time, we’re having Winston play defence and Simon attacking, but don’t forget that this will change depending on who's in possession of the Quaffle.”

“Évreux, you’re with me obviously - watch out for Umland, he’s surprisingly good these days,” Alistair told his Seeker Beater before glancing at Arne and giving him a nod. “Arne, you’re on the Chasers but I’d also encourage firing at Dill if you can get a good shot.”

“And last but by no means least,” Alistair smiled encouragingly at Makenzie. “You’ve come a really long way and you’re doing a great job, so just keep up the good work. Spencer’s your main threat but the other two Chasers are a walk in the park compared to the Teppenpaws. You’ll do great.”

Alistair returned to talking to the Crotalus team as a whole. “Alright then team, remember that confidence is the key. Keep your heads in the game and give Aladren all you’ve got. Now, we’ve got a Cup to win!”

With those final words of encouragement, he strode off the meet the substitute professor and the opposing captain in the middle of the pitch.

“Seeker? Ha, good luck with that. You’ll have to go up against Clark Dill - he’s unbeatable.” Alistair knew he still had a lot to prove, but he could do this. He shook Clark’s hand firmly, not allowing himself to be put off by the Aladren Captain’s “good luck” (to which he responded with a slight nod). He wasn’t about to get friendly with this guy, whoever Clark Dill was on the Quidditch pitch.

The fifth year scanned the stands briefly as he got into position. He was a firm believer in skill over luck but it didn’t hurt to check that his “good luck charm” was watching, not that he’d allowed himself to think of her as any such thing before. He spotted a familiar blonde head but didn’t allow his gaze to linger, returning his focus to the game. Alistair was not willing to be distracted by anything, or anyone. This was serious. He’d wanted a challenge and now he was getting one.

He shot up into the air when the whistle blew, enjoying the rush of the wind through his robes and he accelerated upwards. The Crotalus Seeker’s glanced across to note Dill’s initial pattern but decided not to get too close to him straight off the mark. No doubt Umland was already trying to get his hands on a bludger to send his way. Alistair was really going to need his wits about him.

  • Last time aroundClark Dill, Seeker, Tue Jan 24 21:12
    Clark did not normally get nervous before Quidditch games these days. Even last time, coming back for potentially his final game after his first lost, and going against the same seeker who had beaten ... more
    • It won't be like old times. — Capt. Ali Johnson, Seeker, Sun Jan 29 05:57
      • All you targets look pretty much the same to me.John Umland, Beater, Wed Feb 1 15:12
        Toronto was not, in the grand scheme of things, a place John had ever thought about much. His maternal grandparents lived there, but he rarely saw them. His mom was from there, but had completed her... more
        • Yeah, well your face doesn't look pretty to meSébastien Évreux, Beater, Thu Feb 2 15:00
          For the first time since Sébastien had started playing Quidditch – and apparently also longer than that – Crotalus had made it to the final. Sébastien hadn’t yet decided if this was a good thing. On... more
          • I'm feeling feintCaptain Clark Dill, Seeker, Fri Feb 3 12:00
            Clark saw that Alistair was keeping some distance from him for now. Good. That was the way he liked it. Granted, he had a good broom now, so it wasn't a matter of needing a head start now, though... more
            • I'm feeling slightly distracted.John Umland, Beater, Fri Feb 3 12:42
              John supposed it meant he was getting a little cocky, but he was mildly surprised when the little Crotalus Beater, the one who was not a Reinhardt, managed to intercept the Bludger and send it back... more
              • No, this is being distracted.Capt. Ali Johnson, Seeker, Fri Feb 3 13:39
                The downside of being such a committed coach for the Crotalus team was that, when it came to matches, Alistair found it could be difficult to pay the right attention to the other players’... more
                • And this is, hopefully, being distractingSébastien Évreux, Beater, Fri Feb 3 15:15
                  Sébastien was disappointed when Clark dived, missing his carefully aimed bludger. Having moving targets really didn’t making beating easier! Still, at least it meant Dill had needed to change... more
                  • Out of time but posting anywayClark Dill, Fri Feb 3 15:32
                    Upon looking around, Clark smiled at what he found - Alistair was below the altitude of the Chasers which meant he had followed, at least for a little while, and the bludger was heading his way.... more
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