A Quidditch Comedy
“Welcome fans to another season of Baumbergstein Boars Quidditch. As always, I’m Howard Kosell, here to bring you the play by play of today’s match against the Tutshill Tornados. And the Quaffle is up and quickly into the hands of Boars’ captain Crash Cooper, it’s quickly dumped off to Lisa Conway, and Cooper, Conway, and Burt Taylor are all making a power play for the baskets. What’s this? Uh oh, the Boars Chasers seem to be slowing up. They’re clutching their stomachs. It appears they all have some gastric problems. That’s not good for the Boars, as the Tornados are closing in.
“This is Howard Kosell reminding you: If you have gas drink some E-Z-Pass. E-Z-Pass for all of your digestive problems. E-Z-Pass can be found at your local apothecary. Oh my word, it appears the Boars Chasers have all given birth to Quaffles. I wasn’t aware men could give birth, let alone to inanimate objects. And Conway should have known better than to fly so late in her pregnancy. Boars Beaters Blake McNeal and Charlie Hobbs just put the hurting on Tornado Keeper, Thomas Jones, and mazel tov, it’s a girl, no, wait, quadruplets. Forty points for the Baumbergstein Boars.
“I have never seen such a blatant disregard for sportsmanship, well since the last Baumbergstein Boars game I broadcasted. And the fans here at the pitch couldn’t be happier. The crowds are roaring here for more exciting play from the Boars, which some would say crosses nearly all ethical boundaries of the game. Well, winning isn’t life or death, it’s so much more important than that to these Baumbergstein Boars fans.
“Play continues here at the pitch, as Jones returns to his post a bit shakily. He seems a bit puzzled as to why there are four Quaffles in the baskets. He pulls one and returns it to play passing it off to Gary Beckham. The Boars are in trouble now. This kid can fly. Look at him as he weaves effortlessly in and out of the Boars defenses. Some would call Beckham a Quaffle-hog, a showoff, a pretty boy, but those people obviously haven’t read his cover story in Gentlewizard’s Quarterly. And Beckham breaks free from the pack. It’s just him and Boars Keeper, Lance Harper, now. Harper comes out to challenge and, ooh, that’s gotta hurt. Strike pretty boy from Beckham's resume. I never would have guessed an elbow could do that much structural damage to a man’s cranium.
“Cooper scoops up the loose Quaffle. The crowds here at the pitch just love to watch this guy play. It’s just electrifying. What more can I say about this crafty, wily veteran. The style, the grace, the humility, the wand he just pulled from his robes and with blasted three opponents out of his way. Jones comes out to challenge, not looking too sturdy on his broom. They’re flying right at each other at terrifying speeds. They are going crash, neither Cooper nor Jones is backing down. His name isn’t Crash for nothing folks. Cooper leaps from his broom tackling Jones in midair. That old dog still has a few tricks and this trick is going to leave quite the impact in the game and the ground when they come out of that free fall. But wait, the Quaffle is up, Cooper must have got off a shot, it’s going, it’s going. Bozo Buckets! I don’t even know what that means. All I know is ten more points for the Boars and the grounds keepers here at the pitch will busy fixing that divot.
“It appears the Boars and Tornados are swooping down to check on their teammates. No, wait, it seems the Tornados weren’t to happy with Crash Cooper's style of play and are casting spells of their own. It’s a bench clearing brawl as the reserve teams for both squads roar out onto the field into the action. This is breaking out into the most vicious battle royale since that match against the Falmouth Falcons last season. There’s flashing lights, blood, and things going bang, the fans here at the pitch couldn’t be more riled up. In fact a few crazed fans have made their way onto the playing field and are letting the Tornados know exactly what they think of them by way of fisticuffs and one big Scot chucking boulders onto the field. Creaothceann, as you know, is being debated as too dangerous a sport, must be some sort of protest or he just doesn’t know what game he’s at. This is why people say the Baumbergstein Boars have the greatest fans in all of Britain, such dedication, such loyalty, such a right hook into Beckham's jaw. The fans are definitely getting their money’s worth here today.
“Hang on, the Seekers appear to be tracking the Snitch. Or rather the Seeker appears to be. This doesn’t look good for the Boars, as Seeker, John Smith, is being laid out with a pummeling by Tornados Beater, Barnaby Smith, no relation, my those Beater Bats are gruesome. Tornado Seeker, Ed Smith, again no relation, at least not to my knowledge, spins out of his dive, hands are in the air. Yes, he done it. He’s caught the Snitch. And into the horizon he goes, abandoning his team, smart play by Ed Smith, as these Boars fans probably would have lynched him, but I’m pretty sure any of the other Smiths in the Professional Quidditch will do. And that’s the ball game. The fat lady has sung. Baumbergstein Boars fifty, Tutshill Tornados one hundred fifty. Bringing the close to another abysmal start of the season for the Boars. This performance will obviously give Coach Fritz, a few more gray hairs. This is Howard Kosell reminding you that Brandon’s Butterbeer is just better. And good night.”
Two Medi-Wizards hauled John Smith in on a stretcher, dumped him on a table, and went to work shaking their heads rather annoyed. The rest of the Boars limped their way into their locker room moaning and groaning. Crash Cooper took a seat on the bench in front of his locker and began wrapping ice around his knees, arms, and shoulders. Blake McNeal and Charlie Hobbs stood near their lockers breathing rapidly and wincing as they snapped each other’s noses back into place. Burt Taylor was disrobing to hop into a bath of mixed healing potions. Lisa Conway sat at her locker slowly shaking her head with her chin buried in her chest. Coach Fritz sat down fiendishly tugging hairs from flowing beard. Even members of the reserve team were tending their wounds from the brawl. Only the Keeper, Lance Harper, seemed to be relatively unharmed in the match, disrobing, grabbing a towel an heading for the showers, all the while menacingly staring at Smith.
After minutes of silence, except for the occasional outburst of crying and screaming from Smith as the Medi-Wizards looked him over, Lisa Conway lifted her head and softly uttered, “We shouldn’t have lost,” as her eyes slowly made their way to Smith.
The back of Crash Cooper's head softly tapped his locker. “Let it go, Lisa.”
Lisa looked frantic.“Let it go? Let it go? You more than anybody should be holding a grudge. I mean how many years has a legendary player like you been playing this game and still haven’t taken home the Cup. Let alone we always seem to be in a battle with the Chudley Cannons about which one of us will finish dead last every season all because we have a halfwit for a Seeker. I mean when’s the last time he even saw the since let alone caught it? I might as well go see if I can still get that spot on the Harpies.”
“You might as well next year,” said a tall portly man draped in a rather eccentric fur coat standing in the doorway.
Coach Fritz turned his head and muttered, “You just can’t let our top scorer go walking out the door, Boss. It’s the first game of the season for Merlin’s sake.”
“You all might as well find new teams to play with next year and that’s even if they’ll take you,” said the plump man as shrugged his fur coat.
“Mr. Baumbergstein, the team can’t be going under? You’re one of the richest men in the world,” Crash Cooper said in defiance.
“This has nothing to do with money, Crash,” Baumbergstein retorted as he tossed a doorstopper of a book into Crashes lap.
Crash read the title in a confused manner, “Rules and Regulations of the British and Irish Quidditch League. What the flobberworm is this?” Crash tossed the book to Blake McNeal.
Charlie Hobbs simply asked puzzled, “There’s rules in Quidditch? Really?” As Blake began to peruse the enormous tome scoffing here and there. “This is gonna ruin the game.”
“The Wizards’ Council has the league going legit next season and they are going to start slowly implementing the new rules this year to ease the transition. Needless to say this will curb our ever so famous and popular antics and playing style. Another change is there is going to be a cut back on the number of teams allowed to play in the league-“
”So, we’re one of the most popular teams, they wouldn’t cut us,” pled Charlie.
“Based on performance,” Baumbergstein continued. “At the end of the season the top fourteen teams will remain in the league next season. The others the League has agreed to buy out and disband the franchises.”
Burt Taylor rose his head from the lip of the tub. “So all we have to do is make the top fourteen?”
“Yeah, and we haven’t made it out of the bottom fourteen in five years,” chimed Lisa.
“Yeah, it’s a bitter pill to swallow. For you I mean,” Baumbergstein chuckled. “If you do decide to win this year great, but if you don’t I still make a lot of Galleons so it doesn’t much matter to me. What does matter is the fact that my team has been perennial losers for the last decade, haven’t made it to the finals since Crash’s first year; we’ll win it next year, huh? Bet those words are still biting you in the tuches, eh Crash? And we haven’t qualified for the tournament in fifteen years. In other words I can’t have my team’s last hurrah be that of loveable losers. I have a reputation to uphold.”
“Oh yeah. Maybe it wouldn’t be our last hurrah if you managed to get us a Seeker worth a darn!” shouted Lisa.
“I already did.” Mr. Baumbergstein turned to Smith, “John, you’re fired. I don’t care that you are my nephew, you are probably the worst Quidditch player I have ever seen and I hate to say it but you’re dumb. A Seeker doesn’t get into a brawl unless his team is at least a hundred-sixty points ahead.. That’s why I traded you to Montrose.”
Coach Fritz shot up and hugged Mr. Baumbergstein. “Thank you. Thank you. It’s about time. Who’d you get?” he asked as he released his embrace. “Tell me you got Jackson.”
“Come on now, I traded John.”
“Jones? Best reserve Seeker in the league and still better than Smith.”
“No, didn’t get him either.”
“What? Who you’d you get? We need a Seeker! You don’t expect Wilson to actually play do you?”
“Hey!” Wilson blurted from amongst the rest of the reserve squad.
“Shut up, Wilson, “ Coach Fritz snapped back.
“I got quite the kid. Hotshot. Right out of Hogwarts,” Baumbergstein said with an uneasy grin.
“Oh, that’s just great! We might as well have just kept Smith. This is professional Quidditch, Boss, a hotshot in Hogwarts is like a third string Beater in the pros. This is a completely different league,” Crash interjected.
“Then why did the Magpies sign him when they have arguably the best Seeker and reserve in the league?”
“Still they traded him for Smith,”chirped Coach Fritz.
“Trust me, he’s good. Cost me more than just John, in fact I paid them to take John. Now the kid be in Hogsmeade tonight. I’d like it if you all could make him feel welcome. Look after him. Bring him up to speed with the finer points of the game.”
“You mean babysit.”
“Whatever. I got to go. Just break the kid in gently and I mean all of you,” Baumbergstein added as vanished from his perch near the door.
Lance Harper walked back into the locker room from the showers rubbing his head with a towel. “So what’d I miss?”
“Well we’re gonna need new jobs next year, the teams going under because the league’s restructuring, apparently Quidditch has rules, and the boss got some snotnosed rookie punk to replace Smith. That about sums it up,” replied Charlie Hobbs..
“All right. Good times,” Harper said with a smile nodding his head. “Hogshead?”
“Hogshead,” the team replied in unison.