Chapter 5: Quidditch Tryouts
A/N: Anything you recognize belongs to the awesome J.K. Rowling!!
The first two weeks of school passed uneventfully. On Friday the 11th of September however, there were quite a few nervous people in the Gryffindor common room, along with a few over-confident ones. There was a lot of talk about the upcoming Quidditch team trials the following day.
Albus was having a quiet conversation with Rose in one of the corners of the common room.
“So Al, are you ready for tomorrow’s tryout?”
“As ready as I can be I guess. I figure the worst that can happen is that I don’t make it, but at least James will leave me alone about trying out.”
“Well, that is something I suppose. Wouldn’t you prefer to actually make the team though? I mean, are you at least going to give 100% while trying out, or are you just trying to get James off your back?”
“Oh, I definitely want to make the team and I am going to give it 100%, it just won’t be absolutely devastating for me if I don’t…unlike some of those people over there.” Al said motioning over to the fireplace where a couple people were having an intense conversation about how they just HAD to make the team this year, as though hoping the captain would hear and have pity on them or something.
“It’s not like Roxanne hasn’t ever seen you play Quidditch before since we always play at Grandmum Weasley’s house, but then again….”
“Then again what?”
“No Rose. Spit it out. Then again what?”
“Well, I was going to mention how the last few times we played you either weren’t focused or something because you never seemed to be able to find the snitch and that definitely won’t help your chances of making the team.”
“Yeah, I know, but I’ve actually been practicing so I should do better than the last time we all played at Grandmum’s house. I just hope Roxy notices a difference. We’ll find out tomorrow for sure anyway. Hey, are you trying out this year?”
“Yeah, I figured why not. I’m gonna go out for Chaser and see what happens. There are a lot of people going for Chaser this year, but I hope to at least make a reserve spot.”
“I think you’ll do great! I’ll definitely be cheering for you!”
“I’ll be cheering for you as well, Al. Want to meet for breakfast tomorrow before tryouts?”
“Sure. Is 8:00 in the common room okay?”
“Yep… I’ll see you down here at 8:00."
“Great! Well, I think I’m gonna head up to bed early to make sure I’m well rested for tomorrow. Good night Rosie.”
“I’m going to go on up as well. Night Al. Sleep well!”
Rose went up to her dorm and spotted Ary sitting on her bed reading. Noticing it was not a textbook but in fact a book about Quidditch, she smiled. It was nice to know that she was at least slightly interested in something other than schoolwork.
“Hey Ary! How are you?”
“Oh...hey Rose! I’m good…you?”
“I’m okay, just making sure I’m well rested for tomorrow’s tryout. I see you’re reading a book on Quidditch. Are you coming to tryouts tomorrow? It should be a lot of fun.”
“I thought about it, but I didn’t know if I was allowed since I’m not actually trying out.”
“Tryouts are open for anyone in Gryffindor who wants to watch. It really helps to have a cheering section, especially when you’re nervous.”
“I’ll definitely be there then. After all this reading about it, I’m interested to see what it actually looks like for real. What time do tryouts start?”
“They start at 10:00am. Did you want to join me for breakfast tomorrow beforehand as well?” I’m planning to be in the common room at 8:00.”
“If I’m awake by then, I’d like that. If not, don’t bother waiting for me. Since I’m only going to be a spectator tomorrow I can always grab something on the way to the pitch if I’m running late.”
“Okay sounds good. I’ll see you at the pitch either way though.”
“Okay then…Good night Ary."
“Good night Rose.”
After bidding Rose good night, Ary went back to reading her book. She had learned about all the positions and what the balls were for in Quidditch. The part with the Chasers, Keeper, and Quaffle almost seemed like a muggle lacrosse game without the little nets, played in the air on brooms instead of running on land, and having three goals to tend instead of only one. The Beaters hitting the Bludger would be like playing tennis with clubs instead of racquets (except they’re actually aiming the ball AT someone), and the Seeker chasing the Snitch was just an entity of its own.
By attending the tryouts, it would give her a chance to see each part of the game played separately, unlike a game where it all happens at once. She was indeed excited to find out she could watch tryouts. Plus, she could watch her friend play as well and cheer her on. Actually eating breakfast with someone for a change seemed nice as well, as long as she awoke in time, which occasionally proved difficult for her on the weekends. Ary finished reading the chapter she was on, closed the book, and let her mind drift off to sleep looking forward to the next day.
Ary woke up the next morning to the sound of her alarm going off. She had set it the night before for 7:30 in the hopes of actually meeting Rose in the common room. Upon looking at the clock, however, she noticed that it was now 8:45. She was very thankful that the charm she had cast on her bed each night worked as well as it did. She had slept through her alarm before, but that was during the week and Rose woke her up when it happened. She wondered if her hearing was getting worse, so she left the alarm going off and began this morning as she began every morning by casting the spell on her ears.
As soon as she cast the spell on her right ear, Ary jumped in fright from the sound of the alarm. She didn’t realize just how bad her hearing had gotten over the summer, and was even more thankful her amplification spell still worked. As she began to get ready for the day ahead, she was also thinking that it was probably time for a new type of alarm for the morning.
I couldn’t believe I actually got invited to breakfast and then overslept. I did warn her last night that it might happen though, so at least it wasn’t a surprise. I figure she’s probably more focused on tryouts today anyway.
I finally reach the Great Hall for breakfast at around 9:20. As I walk in, I see Rose, Al, and a few others getting up from the table and heading toward the door. I wave to Rose and tell her I’ll see her at the tryout. She smiles and continues to walk out the door.
I sit down and serve myself some eggs and toast. I am really excited to see what Quidditch looks like in real life rather than pictures in a book, even if they do move. After eating my food and having a glass of pumpkin juice to wash it down, I stand up and begin walking to the Quidditch pitch. I want to get there before tryouts begin so I don’t miss any part of it.
I arrive at the pitch and sit in the area designated for those of us who aren’t trying out. Looking around, I notice that different sections in the stands are marked off according to position. I immediately spot Rose in the section marked off for Chasers and Al in the section for Seekers. I also see a lot of other people with red hair and I assume they are all related to Rose somehow.
One of the redheads whom I guess is the captain Roxanne gets up to address the people trying out, explaining that being on the team in previous years doesn’t guarantee a spot on the team this year. There were a few disgruntled looks at that statement, but no one said anything. She then called those trying out for Beater to come forward and the tryouts began.
After the Beaters finished their tryouts I hear Roxanne call for the Chasers. I see Rose and seven others rise and head toward the center of the pitch. It looks like they have to do some kind of obstacle course on their brooms while holding a quaffle and score a goal at the end. After the first couple of people fail to complete the course and leave the pitch, I figure out that it must be a challenge meant to weed out the lesser experienced players. Rose is the first one to actually complete the course and returns to the center of the pitch to wait for the next part of her tryout. Following the course, I notice that there are only four people remaining. I know this means that Rose will at least be on the reserve team, which is better than not making it at all.
Rose ends up being on the reserve team and the tryout moves on to the Keepers, of which there are only two trying out. It didn’t take very long to complete since Roxanne chose the person who didn’t let any goals get scored. The last group is the Seekers, but I see that it isn’t really a group, but one person. As I look closer, I see that it’s Al up there trying out for Seeker. Well, if he succeeds at his tryout, at least I’ll know one person on the team. I watch him zoom around the pitch twice at top speed and then fly around looking for the snitch. I’m sure he must have to catch it in a certain time since he has no competition but I’m not sure exactly how long he has. I just hope he does well.
Al is successful in catching the snitch in time and is announced as the team’s new Seeker. I see Rose go down to congratulate Al. I decide that I’m going to go back to the dorm and relax before dinner. I figure Rose will come up to change and I will congratulate her then. I look once more down to the pitch just to make sure Rose isn’t looking for me. She is quite distracted, so I turn and leave the stands.
Al woke up at 7:30 and was down in the common room at 7:50. He felt more excited than nervous and was actually quite hungry when Rose came down at 8:00.
“Ready to go? I’m starving!!”
Rose just looks at me and says with a laugh, “Yeah, c’mon…let’s go.”
The Great Hall is relatively empty except for the Gryffindor table. It seems like most of the house is up and ready to either tryout or watch the tryouts. Rose and I find a seat and begin eating.
“Are you nervous Al?”
“A little I guess… more excited though I think. I just want to prove to Roxy that I really can find the snitch first. Plus, I want James to leave me alone about trying out. As long as I do my best, that’s all that matters to me. Are you nervous Rosie?”
“Same as you I suppose. I really would like to at least make the reserve team though. It would give me something to do besides schoolwork, plus I think it’ll be fun!”
“Well, maybe we’ll be on the reserve team together if nothing else. That would be brilliant!”
We finish eating and get up from the table with the other Gryffindors and leave the Great Hall, heading to the Quidditch pitch. The anxiousness I felt earlier is slightly more than it was, but not enough to keep me from focusing on my tryout. I have a good feeling about today no matter what happens.
As we enter the pitch, I notice that certain areas of the stands have been marked off according to position. I give Rose a hug and we wish each other good luck before going to our respective areas to wait our turn. I am the first to arrive in the section for Seekers, so I take a seat and look around at the other sections. I see Rose sitting with James and quite a few others in the section for the Chasers. There seem to be quite a few going out for Beater as well, and two or three for Keeper. I also notice quite a few people from our house have come out as well and are sitting in the section for spectators, including my sister Lily.
Hearing Roxanne’s voice grabs my attention. She is giving the instructions and schedule for today’s tryouts. The Beaters will be going first, followed by the Chasers, Keepers, and finally the Seekers. After Roxanne finishes her speech, the Beaters stand up and walk onto the pitch to begin their tryout. I look over to Rose and see her looking at me as well. We give each other a smile and a “thumbs up” sign and go back to our own thoughts.
We had a total of 10 people trying out for the two Beater slots. It was a fierce competition, but at the end it was announced that this year’s Beaters are going to be Freddie Weasley and Dominic Wood. The stands erupted at the announcement and, after congratulations were shared, it was on to the Chaser tryout.
There are eight people trying out for two Chaser spots, since Roxanne is a Chaser as well. The first part of the Chaser tryout is like an obstacle course of sorts, meant to simulate having to maneuver, dodge, and still be able to hold the Quaffle and then score a goal. Every person who wants to be a Chaser has to successfully complete this course, or they will be eliminated immediately. After watching the first two fail to complete the course (one finishing everything but missing the shot wide of the right hoop), I see Rose hop on her broom and zoom toward the start point.
“Go Rosie!!” I shout, knowing she probably can’t hear me over all the other cheering. I watch her easily dodge the two bludgers and the oncoming player, swooping up and around and aiming the Quaffle directly in the middle of the left hoop. I jump up out of my seat cheering and notice that everyone in the stands are also on their feet cheering for her. I am so proud of Rose for being the first one to not be eliminated after the course.
Following the obstacle course, the number of Chaser hopefuls went from eight to four. Knowing that Roxanne will probably take two Chasers for the reserve team makes me really proud of Rose because I know she wanted to at least make that. Plus, I see that her competition includes my brother James and Kimberly Jones, daughter of Gwenog Jones. I know we’re going to have a great team this year no matter what, and that makes me glad I decided to try out. My suspicions came true about 30 minutes later when I hear Roxanne announce that James and Kimberly would join her as Chasers this year.
We only have two people trying out for Keeper, so I know that tryout won’t take very long. I start to get myself ready for my turn, and it’s only then that I notice I’m the only one sitting in the Seeker area. I can’t believe I’m the only person trying out for Seeker. However, I do know that Roxanne is a competent Seeker as well and could easily call up Rose as Chaser and just play Seeker if I don’t do well enough. I have to show her that I can actually do this, at least for my own confidence’s sake.
Following her announcement of Trevor Jordan being selected at Keeper, Roxanne comes over to me.
“Ready to go Al?”
“I sure am, What do I have to do?”
“It’s pretty basic. I actually let the snitch go during the Keeper tryouts so it’s already up there somewhere. All I need you to do is get up there on your broom, fly two laps around the pitch as fast as you can, and then find the snitch and catch it as quickly as you can. Since you are the only one trying out this year, you will have a time limit instead of trying to beat someone else. If you can’t catch the snitch within 45 minutes from the time you begin your laps, then you will not be on the team. Any questions?”
“Nope, seems pretty clear to me. Shall I begin now?”
“Fly up to the center of the pitch and wait there. I will be up shortly to start you off.”
“Okay,” I say, mounting my broom and charging for the center of the pitch. I am riding on my Dad’s old Firebolt, which still flies surprisingly well for how old it is and everything Dad put it through when he was younger, including losing it while escaping the Death Eaters when he was almost 17. I didn’t really want to try out on a school broom and never had a reason to have my own broom at school, but after I owled Mum and Dad telling them I was going to try out this year, I got an owl the next day with a letter saying how proud they were of me and a package that contained the broom.
As I’m hovering above the center of the pitch, I see Roxanne flying up toward me with a stopwatch in her hand. She asks me one more time if I’m ready and, after I nod, I hear, “GO!” I take off quickly and lie almost flat on my broom as I zoom around the pitch. I really love speeding around on a broom. The two laps go by very quickly and all too soon I am back at the center of the pitch with Roxanne.
“Wow Al…that was a great time! It only took you 5 minutes to finish your laps, so now you have 40 minutes to find and catch the snitch. I will be in the stands watching with all the others, but will announce over the loudspeaker when you have 15, 10, 5, 2, and 1 minute remaining. Good luck!!” And with that, she leaves and I am left to hunting for the snitch.
After about 10 minutes of searching I see something shiny near the left hoop, so I fly that direction hoping it’s the snitch. It is indeed the snitch and I get excited until it senses me and immediately flies away. There is no way I’m giving up on it though. With a new sense of purpose I go all out, chasing the snitch in more directions than I ever imagined I would have to go. It finally pays off though when I finally wrap my fingers around the tiny golden ball. I fly over to Roxanne to hand her the snitch, which she accepts with a huge smile on her face.
“Wow Al! I think that’s the first time I’ve ever seen you actually find the snitch! James said you had been practicing and I can see it paid off for you. Welcome to the team! Great job!!”
I fly over to the stands as Roxanne was announcing that I would be the Seeker for this year’s team that practices would start next week. After I land I am engulfed in a big hug from Rose.
“Al, you were great up there!! I am so proud of you! How do you feel?”
“Relieved, stunned, excited, nervous…you know, the whole spectrum of emotions at the moment. It’s like it hasn’t really sunk in yet. I suppose it will become more real to me next week when practices start.”
“I know what you mean. Roxanne wants the people on the reserve team to show up at practice as well for now. That way we will know all the plays and be in shape so we can sub during a game if necessary. That means we get to be at practices together at least.” Rose smiled and gave me another big hug. “Come on. Let’s head up to the dormitories and get changed. It’s almost time for dinner and I think there’s going to be a celebration in the common room afterwards!” I start to laugh as we race into the castle. So far it has probably been the best day I have ever had during my time at Hogwarts, and I’m glad it’s not over yet.
Ary was sitting on her bed trying to figure out ways to tweak her alarm so it would actually wake her up in the morning. She heard the door open and saw Rose come in wearing a huge smile on her face.
“Congratulations Rose! You looked great up there today!”
“Thanks Ary! I’m glad you made it! I missed you at breakfast this morning.”
“Yeah, sorry about that…I slept through my alarm again.”
“I didn’t hear it go off either. In fact, I think I’ve only ever heard it go off a few times.”
“I usually put a silencing charm around my bed so that no one else is bothered by my alarm…especially on weekends. Although I usually don’t set it on the weekends and end up sleeping until lunchtime.”
“Are you coming down to dinner? I’m going down as soon as I change.”
“Sure! That sounds great! Just watching Quidditch made me hungry. I can’t imagine how hungry I’d be if I was actually playing!”
Rose laughed. “I’m starving! I didn’t eat much before tryouts because I didn’t want to get sick on my broom. Just give me a few minutes to shower and change and we can go, okay?”
I laughed with her. “That’s fine. Take your time; I’m not going anywhere.”
As Rose goes into the bathroom, I finish the chapter I had been reading when Rose came in, then put it my book away and waited to go to dinner. Rose came out about 15 minutes later and we headed down to the common room. I saw Al at the bottom of the stairs. He seemed to be waiting for Rose.
“Hey Al! Ary’s gonna go to dinner with us, okay?” Rose said, practically skipping down the stairs.
“Um sure…that’s fine. Hi Ary. How are you?”
“Good thanks. Congratulations on making the team. You looked great up there today!”
“Thanks. I’m really excited. Do you like Quidditch? Most girls here don’t get into it much.”
“To be honest, I had no idea what Quidditch was until I found a book in the library and started reading about it a week ago. I thought reading about Quidditch was fascinating, but watching it was much more exciting. I can’t wait to see the first match!”
“You mean you actually went to Hogwarts for a whole year and didn’t see one Quidditch match? I didn’t think that was possible."
“Well, I spent a lot of time in the library and getting extra help last year since I started a year late and was trying to cram two years of study into one. I really didn’t have much time for anything else.”
“Oh that’s right. Rose told me about that. Well, I’m glad you’re experiencing more of what Hogwarts has to offer this year. Shall we go to dinner girls?”
And with that, we leave the common room and head for the Great Hall.
Following dinner, Rose, Al, and I went back up to the common room. I hang out with them for awhile and they introduce me to a game called Exploding Snap, which is actually quite fun now that I’ve got the hang of it. After about an hour or so a celebration seems to be starting for the new Quidditch team, so Rose and Al go over to join in. I decide it’s time to call it a night. I still have to figure out how I’m going to tweak my alarm so that it will actually wake me up and I want to spend some time on that before I actually go to sleep. I bid my friends good night and head up to the dorm, thinking about how today was probably the best day I’ve had since I first came to Hogwarts.
A/N: I hope you are continuing to enjoy my story. If you can, please review! Thank you!!