I went to my first SJSU Quidditch game (okay, it was unofficial preseason scrimmage) where I was a spectator and only a spectator. Not a ref, not a TD, just a Quidditch Mom with a lot of feelings and love for my kids that I know are gonna have a great season.
A great season without me. While SJSU had a version of the community/college split rule already in place before this season, this year I’m joining a far larger pool of players than ever before that are being forced to transition from a college to a community team. As a college player, I believed this was a necessary transition. Having the same players on a team for four years and more would stifle the player pool, keeping new players from ever making a roster. Turnover may not have been great for individual teams, my own included. but it was necessary for the pool of players as a whole to grow. Now I’m on the outside looking in, missing the team that I still slip and call “we” or “us.” Yes, even around my new team, the Skrewts.
The funny thing is that at this time last year, I thought I had a whole year of undergrad ahead of me but that I was gonna transition out and do as little as possible. I definitely practiced as little as possible. (And boy, am I paying for that now!) Last fall, I played only one tournament because we were desperately shorthanded. Then I started focusing more on being a referee, tournament director, conference commissioner, and regional coordinator. I was looking forward to graduating in the spring and transitioning from being a player to a non-playing volunteer.
I went to Snow Cup saying that I’d stop playing when I graduated, that I would never join a community team. A friend replied, “This just in: Elizabeth Barcelos announces that she’s joining the Silicon Valley Skrewts!” We laughed about it but I would soon regret it. Before I even got home from Utah, SJSU decided to graduate me a semester early without telling me. My first thought was, “I can’t play for SJSU anymore?!”
There’s nothing like losing something to make you realize how much it means to you. Luckily, I was able to get back home and sign up for credential classes, making me an SJSU student once more. I still didn’t practice nearly as much as I should have, but my team indulged me and let me get some minutes in, including letting me keep for a few possessions so I could say that I had played all four positions before I left SJSU Quidditch. I even managed to play not terrible at the NCQC Championship, doing my small part to get us a fourth place finish. I had been expecting us to finish sixth. My kids proved me wrong.
I did a whole lot more not practicing this summer, telling myself that I would totally make up for eating my feelings all summer. Well, September is here and PSL season is upon us along with the new USQ season. Time to pay for my sins.
This is the most out of shape (or most round shaped, I guess) I have ever been in my life. I hit 160 pounds when I was twenty-five, decided to make a change, and worked my down to 130 in about six months. I’m thirty-one now and I just tipped the scale at 170. I contemplated making this the new normal before accepting that I am too eternally displeased with the status quo to take anything lying down. Yeah, even if lying down and watching YouTube makeup tutorials (ugh, who have I become?) sounds so much more appealing than running around with some of my favorite nerds for a few hours.
I’m not on a team that’s just gonna allow me to do what I want because I’m #TeamMom anymore. I know that. That’s one of the biggest reasons I chose the Skrewts; year in and year out, they keep taking the roster they have and developing them to their highest potential. Fucking off is not an option. I need to work harder. I can’t just accept that being the oldest woman on a USQ roster (until proven otherwise) is an excuse to settle. If Michael Phelps can keep winning gold medals at my age, the least I can do is go to practice is not complain. Too much, anyway.
It’s gonna be a good year. The Skrewts are good people and a great team. Soon I’ll be able to say “we” and “us” about them instead of calling them, well, “them.” I’m not there yet, though. But I’m working on it.