We finally had our next Quidditch practice this week with Coach. Us Duggles were practicing sprints on our Dogsweeps when coach strode onto the field with a ball in her mouth. We gathered excitedly, watching closely as she dropped the ball on the ground near her generously sized front paws.
“This is a bludger, pups,” Coach announced. Before we could bark, she continued, “Have respect for the bludger. Know the bludger. Beware the bludger.” She gave off an ominous growl.
Honey tapped my paw to get my attention. As interesting as the coach’s introduction was, I was busy looking back and forth between Chase and Hairy Pawter, who had become best friends. Whenever I was near either of them, I just wanted to wag…so I was holding my tail still by sitting on it.
But Coach doesn’t miss a thing. “Harper, since you seem to be familiar with the bludger, maybe you can tell the class what it does.” Now everyone was looking at me.
“It bounces and we chase it?” I asked hopefully.
“This isn’t the Duggle world! This is Dogwart’s,” Coach woofed. The wrinkles around her muzzle were shaking side to side, accentuating her resemblance to a manatee. “The regulation bludger is made of iron…two bludgers in every match…bewitched to knock Quidditch players off their brooms.” Hairy Pawter looked at Chase. It looked like they were smiling! I wasn’t…I was shaking. That bludger was almost as big as my entire body.
“Who wants to get up on their brooms first, and give us some evasive maneuvers?” Chase raised his paw and hopped onto his Dogsweep 2000. “Keep your eyes out pup!” Coach woofed as Chase began to circle higher above us. Without warning the bludgers took off and began closing in on Chase, one on each side. Chase was flying so fast his golden-doodle ears were blowing like flags in the wind, and he was using his tail for balance. Suddenly the bludgers surrounded him, one on the left, one on the right.
“Evasive maneuver! Lose altitude,” shouted Coach. But before Chase could descend, one of the bludgers knocked him right off his broom. As Chase plummeted, Coach began an incantation which must have worked because Chase’s body was righted and he came to a feather-light landing on all four paws. Everyone was barking and howling and giving the high-five paw.
I’m not ready to play games with bewitched balls, so I might have to have to re-think whether I want to be on the Quidditch team. I’ve always believed the dog should chase the ball, not the other way around. Maybe I’d be happier in the stands…or I could be the announcer! Give me a microphone!