I got the opportunity to play Quidditch in the fall of 2012.
Fun side note, I was 22 that year and the song “22” by Taylor Swift had just come out. Disclaimer though–I really, really, really, really, really dislike T Swift.
Back to the story now…
October 2012, one of my sweetest friends was turning 21. We went out and got drinks, had dinner, and then went back to her parent’s house and drank pink champagne in our pajamas…seriously though, best birthday ever!
The evening after this birthday celebration, I was supposed to join the youth group of the church I was attending at this camp-type thing and take over as chaperon. There were three girls, 15 and under that I was supposed to hang out with all day and night Saturday at this place called Fort Faith and then drive them home Sunday.
Upon arriving at Fort Faith on Saturday afternoon, these girls were relieved to see me; apparently, all the other youth group kids were weird and creepy. The girls I was chaperoning told me that half the people they had met knew who I was, “Mel, you are already so popular here!” they exclaimed to me.
Curious, I went to the cafeteria with them to get lunch and as I surveyed the room not one face looked familiar.
“Yup,” I thought to myself, “These kids are weird and creepy…”
Not to mention the amount of other chaperons who thought I was a teenager was alarming! Shortly after arriving, I approached an older looking woman who seemed to be in charge somehow and asked if I could get a schedule for the next few days.
“Sorry honey, those are only for chaperons.” she said eyeing me suspiciously.
After a long, drawn out explanation of who I was, and who I took over for, it finally registered to her. Her eyes lit up, “Oh yes! You were taking over for Lauren…”
All day Saturday was spent hanging out with the girls and trying to avoid as many encounters with everyone else as possible. Our youth group was a tiny one compared to the other youth groups in attendance so it made for really awkward situations. We had to participate in some group activities, which were fun, but halfway through the day the consensus was that we were all ready for home.
Night settled in, I was looking over the schedule of events for the few remaining hours before curfew and my eyes settled on a word; a word that was so familiar and strange at the same time. I had to glance over it over and over and over just to make sure I was reading it right! The beautiful sentence that read “Quidditch – 8:30″
I gasped aloud, “Girls, is this for real?” I asked, pointing out the schedule.
They explained that they had heard someone mention it at some point.
“Oh my gosh, we’re going!!!!!”
The whole day, group activities had been a drag and I could see the look of disappointment cloud their eyes.
“Okay, you guys don’t have to go but…I have to go, you don’t understand!”
We talked it over and we decided that they would watch while I played.
The time approached, 8:15 and I’m digging through my bag praising my luck at packing my Gryffindor quidditch shirt.
8:25 – we’re strolling towards the quidditch field, I’m proudly decked in my Gryffindor shirt, heart pounding with excitement.
The set-up: two soccer goals with 3 hula hoops strung up in them were the goal posts. The quaffle was a frisbee. The bludgers were volleyballs. The snitch was a person with a glow stick strung around their neck who went to hide in the woods during the game until they were found. Basically it was a mash-up of ultimate frisbee and quidditch and it was brilliant.
I was handed a broom and given the position of chaser, inwardly I was beaming and squealing like a kid who had just been given a gold star! The game began and I was holding my team up. The people on my team did not play well.
I never played sports growing up and normally, I suck at them. Maybe it was the intense desire to prove myself a true Potterhead, I’m not sure, but I shone as the chaser. Me and the two girls who were the beaters were synchronized beautifully……the rest of the team, however, was not.
At one point in the game, I dropped the quaffle and shouted, “Oh shoot!” (you know, since I was around a bunch of kids and was supposed to be setting a good example and shit–oops!) A boy on the opposite team shouted for the ref and said, “Hey! She said a bad word!!”
“Hey!” I shouted back, “I said ‘shoot’!”
He kept waving the ref down, trying to get me in trouble.
“Look, I don’t know how much good that’s going to do since I’m a chaperon.” I said
He scoffed at me, “No you’re not!”
I rolled my eyes at him, “Dude, how old do you think I am?”
“I’m 22 man.”
“I’m old enough to be married!” I flashed him my wedding ring and he looked oddly confused.
We played three games. My team never won but I didn’t care. I was really a Gryffindor and I was really playing Quidditch and I felt that in a small way, I had made Miss Rowling herself so proud. I was sore and bruised and sweaty but grinning from ear to ear.
After a shower I crawled into my top bunk and settled in for the night……..it was the worst night of my life since the lady who had earlier thought I was a teenager snored the entire night and I could not fall asleep for the life of me!!!
As soon as we could sneak away the next day, us girls jumped in my car and drove home as fast as we could and complained about how miserable the trip had been. But in my heart of hearts, the one thing that had got me through that miserable weekend was the fact that I had lived out one my fantasies and was in fact, a very happy woman!