One of the most appealing things about the Prospect Park Quidditch Club is how it only meets biweekly: just the right amount of commitment an introverted couple like us can handle. We send over the club fee of $20, receive a schedule, and are placed on a team: The Team Who Must Not Be Named. Our logo—a huge, superimposed face of Lord Voldemort—is meant to strike fear in our opponents’ hearts, we assume.

Before our first match, you give me a crash course on the game of quidditch by playing a 10-minute, best of Harry Potter quidditch YouTube compilation: chock-full of wizardly trap music and slow motion reverse cuts of Daniel Radcliffe whipping through the air on a broomstick.

When it’s done, I look over at you and go: what if I’m a secret quidditch phenom and I end up being so good that I grace the cover of EA Sports' Major League Quidditch 2021? How sick would that be?

You roll your eyes and tell me no chance—not with the way I run.


September 26. Game day. We get to the park 15 minutes early and meet up with our team by the playground area. Our captain Jared—a gangly, pale-skin dude with a stick-and-poke lightning bolt tattoo—quickly goes over the rules and positions. Before walking to midfield to meet the opposing team—Dumbledore’s Army—Jared gives us a pep talk, telling us to have fun and to expecto patronum all the bad vibes away.

Jared then says that we need someone to be the Golden Snitch so he reaches into the sorting hat—which is really just a sweaty biking cap—and rummages around until pulling out a name. My name. Crap.

Jared hands me a tennis ball with a sock tied around it and explains that I need to attach this real-life Snitch to the back of my waist. I also have two important things to remember: (1) If someone manages to grab this from me, game over. And (2) stay away from Mikey C.: he’s the meanest S.O.B this side of the Hudson has ever seen.


The referee blows their whistle and players are off, running around with their broomsticks. I spot Mikey C. halfway across the field with biceps the size of tractor tires. He sees me, puts two fingers to his head like a bull, starts charging, and screams yee-haw, pawt-nah. Scared shitless, I duck under opposing players’ legs, crab walking outta trouble, attempting to hide by the bleachers. If i can just keep this pace for the rest of the match, there’s no way Mikey C. can catch me.

15 minutes in and everything is going fine. I start to get a little cocky that Mikey C. will never find me. I let the autumn air blow through my hair, taking in the sounds: the laughter of people forgetting about their day jobs, forgetting about life and kids and wives and student loans then—

BAM!! Stars. Glorious stars. Chest hurting. Wheezing. Cracking. More stars.

Mikey C. runs me over and snatches the Golden Snitch from my waist, proceeding to flex over my feeble, semi-unconscious body. My nose is bleeding, I think. Bones probably broken. I'm not sure I can move.

I hear the phrase: better luck next time, ya jabroni!

But there’ll never be a next time.

Mikey C. crushes my dreams of becoming a quidditch superstar before they even have the chance to fly. Feeling sad that I let everyone down on my team, I walk back to the bench to collect my honor. Back home, I drown my sorrows with a keg of Butterbeer while bingewatching past Inter-House quidditch highlights on YouTube, mentally replaying what went wrong in my match. So many things I could’ve done differently. Perhaps I should’ve hid better. Maybe I should’ve carboloaded on chocolate frogs so I had more energy. Suddenly, I come across a random video in the playlist called Potion Making 101 and inspiration strikes.  Mikey C. may have killed my desire to be the best quidditch player ever but my new and improved dream of being a world-class potioner are alive and kicking. Take that, Mikey C. You can’t keep me down forever. 

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Shawn Berman runs The Daily Drunk. His recent works has been featured or is forthcoming in Hobart, Rejection Letters, and No Contact. Follow him on Twitter @sbb_writer