Match of the Month
The Ballycastle Bats vs. The Falmouth Falcons
"Ach! Sit down!" An angry voice calls from behind you.
"Sorry! Sorry! Just trying to find - my seat! Ah, here it is!" You call back, holding up a placating hand. You sit down quickly - that man does not look happy. Soon, though, you are distracted. Way down on the pitch you can see seven players in gray and white robes crossing to the center of the field amid shouts and cheers from the crowd.
"And here are the Falmouth Falcons!" The announcer roars. "Broadmoor, Lougherty, Mard, Miken, Porter, Vissin, and Whitehall!"
"Let us win, but if we cannot win, let us break a few heads!" The chap who yelled earlier bellows. No wonder he seemed so testy.
"And now, here come the Ballycastle Bats!" The commentator calls, and two separate sections of the crowd cheer. One side, you notice is wearing a great deal of orange, while the other half is clad in green. They're both cheering for the Bats, however, who are wearing their customary black robes with scarlet bats across their chests.
" Bunting, Curran, Cusack, McCorkell, O'Callahan, O'Connor, and Quigley!"
You gaze down as two women and five men jog onto the field, waving up at the stands. They seem to be a much cheerier lot that the Falcons, whose Beaters (Broadmoor and Miken) seem to be trying to knock each other out with their brooms.
The referee blows her whistle shrilly and twelve of the players kicked off. Broadmoor and Micken look startled at the sound of the whistle and get started a bit late.
"And Quigley takes the Quaffle for the Bats, right off the bat - no pun intended," He laughs at his own joke as a few Falcon's fans boo.
"She's soaring in for the goal - but wait! No, she's passed off to Curran who puts it past Lougherty easily! Bats score, ten - nothing!"
You begin to clap excitedly, but that man from before is giving you a nasty look, so you stop rather quickly.
The game quickly turns into a messy one. After Curran's goal on the pass from Quigley, Mard goes after her with a vengeance. Instead of throwing the Quaffle at the goals, he hurls it at her head!
Quigley dodges it easily, though, and laughs happily, because this strategy is certainly not helping Falmouth's score.
The angry man a few rows back scowls and grips his butterbeer tightly.
You're beginning to wonder just how much that man has had to drink when a scuffle breaks out across the stadium.
One of the Falmouth fans has one of the green-clad Ballycastle fans in a headlock, and a group of rowdy Falmouth supporters is surrounding them, cheering.
Suddenly, one of the Ballycastle fans in orange came up and socked headlocker, releasing the headlockee.
Then, the man dressed in green (headlockee) ran at the man who had attacked him, and both went tumbling onto the field.
Far off, you see security wizards running towards them, but it looks like the players are taking things into their own hands.
Vissen, the Falcon's seeker, was streaking towards the pair, who were still scuffling on the pitch, as was O'Connor, who was close on his tail.
"They're going to hit!" screeched a woman in the seat in front of you.
And sure enough, it looks like O'Connor is going to plummet into the two fans, who are still unaware of the commotion above them.
Miraculously, O'Connor doesn't collide, but yanks his broom upwards at the last second and reaches up to grab the snitch?
"The Snitch! The Snitch!" the loud woman screams, "He's got the snitch!"
And he had. Finally, the two fighters looked up and realized what they'd missed. Gleefully the man from Ballycastle gave the Falmouth fan one last punch and stood up to congratulate O'Connor and the rest of the bats, who were landing around him.
"Will you look at that!" the announcer was calling, "What a capture - really spectacular! And that fight!"
The man who had yelled at you earlier, now stands up and stalks out of the stadium, looking bitter. You hide a smile and are grateful you don't have to go with him. It's been quite a match.
Author's Note: For those of you who are unaware of the conflict in Northern Ireland (home of the Ballycastle Bats), there are definite divisions between people of Catholic and Protestant faith there - green is the signature color of the Catholics, and orange is the color of the Protestants, hence the colors I chose for the Ballycastle fans. I thought it would be cool to have them work together for a change in this. If you'd like to learn more about the conflict in Northern Ireland and some of the ways that people are attempting to solve it, check out:www.ulsterproject.org.