Things were just starting to settle for them when he got the letter. An owl had gotten into their house that evening. With last night’s game tape blaring before him, Coach Eric Taylor stood on his couch, with a roll of wrapping paper, swatting at the evasive ivory bird. He licked his lips and pierced his eyes at it with determination when suddenly the door opened.
“Shut that door!” A statement as loud as it was sharp.
“Fine dad, calm down.”
It was Julie. She had just gotten home from a party with some new boy. Coach Taylor knew this by the unfamiliar sound of the noise that dropped her off.
“Are you seeing some boy with a dirt bike?”
“DAD! I’m 16!” she shouted back. She then paused, thoughtfully, “Why are you on the couch… Is that an owl?!”
“Your mother’s going to talk to you tomorrow! Go to bed.”
She slammed her bedroom door. It startled the bird and Coach Taylor squared it under the wing. It dropped a letter and flew out the chimney. The letter opened on its own accord and spoke to him.
The next morning Julie had little to say when Coach Taylor told his wife Tami about the dirt bike suitor. Tami sighed when Julie stormed out claiming to have to leave for school early. Something about a teen outreach program. Now alone, Coach nestled up to Tami and offered to pour her some coffee. Tami knew this gift came with a price. She looked up at him, matching her inquisitive puppy dog eyes with his shameful puppy dog eyes. She won.
“I got a new job,” he said.
Her shoulders broke at the news.
“But you just took this one, you said you were done changing things!”
He said nothing. She said nothing.
“Well where is it?” she gave up.
As he spoke he winced as if he knew it sounded like he was being incredulous.
“It’s called Hogwarts.”
She wasn’t impressed with a coaching job at some place called Hogwarts. So Coach upped the ante with a smile.
“It’s in England.”
“And they want me to be Headmaster.”
She threw her arms around him and told him it was wonderful.
The car packed, Julie slammed the trunk and then slammed the rear doors and the passenger door and the driver door. Tami and Coach didn’t like to see her this way but they knew this move was going to be tough on her. Even telling her that the school had a moving art collection did little to get her interest.
Convinced they were lost, frustrations were cutting in. Eventually they were shown to a train and there they sat for what seemed like hours in silence. When they arrived, Coach was separated from them by a large hairy man. He was the groundskeeper and Julie smiled in front of her parents for the first time all year.
“Ello ‘Ulie” the man said, familiarly.
“What are you doing here?! Mom, Dad, this is Hagrid!” she blossomed.
Coach Taylor looked through this man and then up at him as if he was studying every inch of him. Then he saw something behind this man. A motorbike with a sidecar. Tami looked just as nervous but thanks to three hours of butterbeer she pointed out that Julie always did have a thing for teachers. She grabbed Coach by the arm and nudged him away. She didn’t approve but did find the man mysteriously comforting. Like a giant dog with a teddy bear face. She looked at Eric and wondered how he would look with a beard.
That evening Coach was instructed to give a few words to the incoming class. He started by introducing the other teachers. This seemed easier than introducing himself. There was Professor Flitwick, Minerva McGonagall, Poppy Pomfrey, Pomona Sprout, and someone who wasn’t on the list but in a seat nonetheless by the name of Sybil Trelawney. Coach made a mental note to look into this. Severus Snape was there as well having put a Confundus Charm on anyone who said he killed the previous headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. Coach Taylor then smiled and winked at Julie and then sneered at the man whose giant hairy hands were clumped over her shoulder when he announced:
“And your new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Mrs. Taylor!”
She spoke as if it were her turn to speak. Minerva rolled her eyes. Headmaster speaks first. Then the hat. Then the teachers.
“Hey y’all. It’s such a pleasure to be here, I’ve never taught magic, I guess you’d call me a Moogle, but I’ve been a principal and I’ve been a guidance counselor so I’ve really seen a lot and I look forward to growing with you all.”
Coach stepped back to the podium and began his speech.
“Now I want y’all to take a knee."