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Liana Chapman
Cause glory positions are nowhere near as fun
Sat Sep 25, 2010 21:00

Leather jacket zipped up to her chin, Liana slowly walked towards the group of students already standing on the Quidditch pitch. Her fingers trembled against the handle of her broom, but not just from the cold; she honestly couldn’t remember being this excited about something in her life.

“Of course, I’ll probably just end up making a complete fool of myself,” she said out loud, squinting against the wind as she fought to keep walking in a straight line. In weather like this, talking to herself seemed like the only way to keep her concentration. “Especially seeing as all I know about Quidditch comes from a ten-year-old.” She tried to remember the rules of the game. Definitely three goal-hoops... but were there six players, or seven? “And my broom has been living in someone’s attic for probably the past half a decade or so.” She was distracted from mentally naming the four different balls by a gust of wind that blew what felt like a field’s worth of dust into her eyes. “Though I’ll probably fall off anyways, so what difference will that make?” Blinking furiously, she nearly fell in a mud puddle from the next wind that came her way. “Is this coach dude bleeping INSANE to hold tryouts in conditions like this?”

Lee couldn’t hold back a laugh after that outburst. Who was she kidding? She could wish away the weather all she wanted, but it really just added to the exhilaration of the moment, and in the end only one thing mattered.

She was totally, completely, utterly stoked.

A piercing whistle cut through the storm, catching her attention. Lee looked up and realized that, without noticing it, she had arrived at the edge of the cluster of students waiting to try out for the team. She kind of hoped that none of them had overheard her rambling on into thin air.. oh well.

“Good morning everyone, welcome back to some of my players, and for others welcome to The Roaring Fireballs,” the man who had blown the whistle called out. Blowing her long black bangs out of her face, Lee grinned at their team name. “I am your coach Alex Bradford. I’d like you all to introduce yourself, what positions you’re trying out for, and how much experience you have on a school team.”

Lee glanced at the people around her as they introduced themselves, curling and uncurling her fingers to keep them from stiffening up. When it was her turn, she cleared her throat and spoke as loudly as possible over the rising wind. “Hey, my name’s Liana, Liana Chapman. I’m gonna be trying out for Beater. I’ve never played on a school team. But,” she added hastily, feeling the need to justify herself for trying out against all these much more experienced players, “I’ve played a lot of Muggle sports. I’ve got good reflexes.” I’m a force you should be reckoning with, she added silently.

There was a reason why the position of Beater appealed to Lee the most out of them all. She didn't want to score goals, she didn't want the pressure of having to win the game. She'd much rather spend her time hitting things. It was more in her nature to play for herself, rather than playing for the others, like you had to do in the roles of Seeker or Chaser. As Beater, how well the other players did wouldn't affect her; she could just focus on doing her job and doing it well.

She paid close attention to Bradford as he told them what they would be doing in their tryouts. After he blew his whistle, she followed the other potential Beaters towards him, ducking down quickly to grab the bat closest to her. As they made their way down the pitch, Lee carried her broom under one arm so that she could roll the bat between her hands. It was fairly heavy, and it wasn’t as evenly weighted as she would have liked, but she thought she could make it work. If she swung it right, she might be able to get a bit of extra force out of it.

Once they were on the west side, the first student got on their broom and flew off to meet the Bludgers while the rest huddled together to wait their turn. Lee carefully studied the first couple players, trying to figure out their different techniques and compare them. Before she knew it, someone was calling out her name and it was her turn to fly. Planting her muddied sneakers firmly in the dirt, she mounted her broom and kicked off without hesitation. Though she wobbled quite a bit at first, Lee was able to re-familiarize herself with the feeling of weightlessness pretty quickly, which was good because she was fast approaching the Bludgers.

Leaning back, Lee slowly advanced up to the Bludger that was waiting for her. “Let’s do just a practice run first." Switching the bat to her left hand, she pulled up sharply beside it and swung her arm around. In the strong wind, it was hard to keep the bat straight and she wasn’t able to connect it in the center of the Bludger; it flew off into the air a good five meters from the Chaser she had been aiming for.

Thinking she had a better sense of how to handle the bat now, Lee caught the second Bludger with a backhanded hit as it came towards her, adjusting the position of the bat to compensate for the strong winds. This time, her aim was straight, and she watched with deep satisfaction as the Bludger hit one of the charmed Chasers in the torso.

Hearing a faint noise behind her, she looked around and saw another Bludger heading straight for her. With a grin, she pulled a tight 360 and flew towards it. Watching for other Bludgers and players out of the corner of her eye, she locked the majority of her attention on the one in front of her, shifting her weight slightly to match its path as it weaved back and forth. Drawing her arm back, she spotted a charmed Chaser over by the goalhoops just in time; she was able to windmill her arm, not a very efficient strategy but one that managed to hit the Bludger at just the right angle on its underside to send it flying towards the Chaser at a surprisingly fast speed. She saw some other students on their brooms nearby the goalhoops and had a split second to hope that they were able to get out of the way before another Bludger caught her eye.

The air seemed to narrow around her. All she saw were the charmed Chasers speeding across the pitch, all she felt was the bat in her hand and the broom between her knees, all she could hear was the wind and the shouts of other students and the softest of metallic whirring as the Bludgers flew all around her.

Lee realized that it was both incredibly difficult and incredibly easy to be a Beater. Difficult, because you had to hit a moving ball towards a moving target. There was science behind it; you had to determine the speed and angle to hit the Bludgers at depending on how fast they were coming towards you and from what direction. It was a split-second decision. On the other hand, there was no need to worry about scoring points or anything. Their job was to take out as many players as possible. It was simple, and a simple task meant she had more time to fulfil it.

Guessing that her time was close to running out, Lee sped after the first Bludger she saw, pushing her broom as fast as it would go. "Come on, come on, come on," she said tensely as she slowly caught up to the Bludger. Noticing the dull ache in the muscles of her left hand, she switched the bat to her right on the way and came up on the Bludger's right side, slamming to a halt and following through with the speed she’d picked up to strike it with a resounding crack towards the nearest Chaser. It came within mere centimeters of its face, clipping it across the nose with enough force that, if it had been a real person, it would've broken their nose for sure.

Sure enough, her two minutes were up almost immediately after that. Hearing her name being called below her, Lee whirled around quickly, her hand that held the bat swinging out from the momentum and almost catching another kid in the face. "Sorry!" she shouted to them over her shoulder as she flew back towards the group of Beaters. Nudging her broom handle, she leaned into a steep dive, loving the feeling of the wind whipping her hair back as the ground got closer and closer to her face.

Pulling out of her dive, Lee swung her legs over the broom and hopped off before her feet had touched the ground. A couple of the other students congratulated her as the next one in line flew off, and she accepted their mild praises with a nod and a muttered "Thanks."

Finding a relatively clear patch of grass at the edge of the pitch, she sat cross-legged in it with her broom in her lap and her elbows on her knees, prepared to watch the rest of the group take on the Bludgers. While massaging her sore hands, Lee reviewed her own tryout in her head. She felt that she had done a fairly good job; she reckoned she'd hit about seventy-five to eighty percent of the Chasers she aimed at, which was pretty decent considering it was the first time she had done it. She hadn't counted the exact number of times she had hit the Chasers, but judging by the disturbing amount of pain in her hands and arms she hoped that she had hit the Bludgers hard enough to at least not be laughed off the pitch.

"Guess all those years paid off," she said softly to herself, watching someone in the sky swinging their bat around to meet a Bludger. "My aim and balance were alright. And at least the slower speed of my broom didn't affect my playing as much as it could have." Though that probably came from being a shrimp.

Moving her broom to the ground beside her, Lee pulled her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them, hair flying around her with a life of its own as her dark brown eyes followed the path of the different players and balls currently on the pitch. At this point, she didn't really care if she made the team. She had gotten the chance to fly again, and it had been amazing. It was a better high than chocolate chip cookies and thunderstorms and mosh pits combined.

  • BEATing the opposition.Lucy Featherwick, Sat Sep 25 12:23
    The weather was good, Lucy decided grudgingly as she made her way over to the pitch. The mud squelched underfoot unpleasantly, although her boots were sturdy and leather - the mud shouldn't affect... more
    • Cause glory positions are nowhere near as fun — Liana Chapman, Sat Sep 25 21:00
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