I spent all last season on this long journey from Spartan to Skrewt, only to have a bit of a relapse this year. Or maybe it would be better to call it a reset? I don’t have to be one or the other. I can be both. I’m still playing for and managing the Skrewts, but now I’m coaching my alma mater, too.
Now, I’ve never coached before. I never expected to. I live for the logistics, the planning, the background stuff that makes the sport happen. You know, being a Team Mom.
But you know what? There aren’t enough women coaches in this sport. I couldn’t tell you how many women coach USQ teams, only that I haven’t heard of very many. While I’m proud that the Argonauts have always had women coaching the team, even MLQ has only ever had women as assistant coaches.
Now, it’s one thing to want to upend the typical quidditch gender alignment of women as planners and men as coaches. It’s another thing entirely to actually do it. Like I said, I never expected to be in this position. I know what good quidditch looks like, I know what good coaching looks like, but I always left that to people who were better at it.
Luckily for me, I have teammates who understand what my college team means to me. Having them show up to practices, break down concepts I have trouble explaining sometimes, or even just being there as an experienced hand when work keeps me from practice (which is more often than I’d like) has been a huge help. If one of the themes of this year for community teams is helping college teams thrive, then the Skrewts are doing their part by helping me train up a new generation of Spartans.
On the other hand, not everyone on SJSU Quidditch is a rookie this year. I don’t just have Spartan veterans; I have a boatload (heh heh, get it?) of Argonauts who are used to playing at an MLQ level. While it’s great having players hungry to play at another national championship, striking the balance between keeping them sharp when half the team is still learning to run on a broom is hard.
But here’s the thing. Those MLQ players? They’re better at quidditch than me. That’s why they made the roster while I was on the sidelines. They know what they’re doing. I see them helping out their teammates, explaining what to do, what not to do, and why.
So while I might be SJSU’s coach this year, let’s be real; this is a team effort. I’m just the face. I’m just trying to organize these people who are better at this sport than me so that our rookies can be better than me. That’s a coaching style that suits me just fine.
While we got swept by the Vipers last weekend, they were all close games and I saw improvement. I saw the rust coming off. I saw people beginning to understand what a real game is like. My kids are gonna be just fine next weekend at UCLA. I’m not worried about them.
No, I’m worried about me. I’ll be hundreds of miles away at Crimson Cup, trying to play at one tournament with my mind on another.