A Return to Sacred Ground
This is it. This is what I came back to quidditch for. Not to let the cold damp of Sacramento sink into my bones, not even really to play at regionals (and maybe nationals) one more time—though that would be sweet.
No, this weekend I am taking to the field to live one of my dreams. I am playing quidditch at SJSU’s Spartan Stadium. (Yes, I know they changed the name this year. No, I don’t care.) I never dreamed that it would happen. I’d accepted quidditch’s place as a nerd sport on campus, I knew that SJSU Athletics was stingy about their facilities, and I was just happy to have been a part of the transition from club to club sport at SJSU.
So when I heard that my kids managed to book Spartan Stadium, I was overjoyed. Never mind that we’re not playing in it all day. I wore my quidditch jersey the last time I set foot there, so it just feels like it was always meant to be.
And because fate is cruel (and so is Chris Lock, who wrote the NCQC schedule this year) my quidditch homecoming also marks the first time I play against the team I poured so much of myself into. As I packed my things to move out of Casa Barcelos and into Casa Gold Bar, I kept unearthing pieces of my SJSU Quidditch history. Binders full of quidditch players (aka my trading card collection). Newspapers. All the artifacts of my quidditch life are marked with the blue and gold of Sparta.
While playing at Spartan Stadium was always a dream of mine, beating the Skrewts was one, too. After graduating, I decided that if I couldn’t beat them, I might as well join them. Considering that I’m still winless as a Skrewt, I’m going to be pretty invested in not letting that happen this time around. No matter how the game ends, it’s going to be one of the hardest postgame hug lines to walk through.
I hate to say it, but I’m still more emotionally invested in my college team. I put so much effort into running and growing that team that it’s hard to switch gears. Every time one of them calls me Mom, my heart grows three sizes. I want them to do well but I also want my team to do well.
I can’t be the only college to community player that feels this way, right? I love the Skrewts, they’re my people, they work harder than I do (please don’t ask me how much I’ve practiced lately), but I still feel like a Spartan in Skrewts clothing. I imagine it’s probably easier for people who move away from their team, like the Spartans who headed north to play for the Seattle Admirals or the University of Richmond contingent we have on the Skrewts. Still, I think most players making the college to community transition have it harder than you’d realize.