2017 Year in Review: Quidditch

Holy shit, how it is 2018 already?  Is it because every year takes up a smaller percentage of my life and therefore feels increasingly insignificant? Is it because I can feel my youth slipping away from me in silver hairs and creaky joints?

bth

A new year is as good a time as any to reflect back on the last 3.1% of my life. (I think it did the math right. But if you ever had a look at any of my math grades, you’d know that the likelihood of me getting it wrong is pretty high.) Each week for the rest of the month, I’ll be looking back at some of the things I blogged about the most in 2017.

So, let’s start with the topic that gets more hits to my blog than anything else: quidditch.

January-February: lol retirement

As fraught as my relationship with the r-word is now, I returned from my self-imposed hiatus last January with a double whammy:  being named the manager of the San Francisco Argonauts and playing at the Tegan and Sara Invitational.

But the thing that enticed me back into playing more than anything else? The opportunity to play in Spartan Stadium.

I also wrote my most controversial post of the year because of that tourney: NCQC Crisis: Blazing Burnouts and Falling Sky. It was my most clicked post of the year, clocking in at 306 hits in February and 341 over the course of the whole year. I would never have been able to write so frankly if I hadn’t left my volunteer roles, so I like to think that some good came of my sabbatical.

March-April: The Road to Regionals (and beyond)

Reflecting on my first three regionals was more cathartic than I expected, but I’m glad that I did it. I’m headed to Arizona with SJSU again this year and I hope our performance there gets us a bid one way or another.

But nothing, nothing compares to winning a bid in person.

Okay, except maybe playing at nationals in games that matter. Except maybe making it to Day 2.

This what losing the right way looks like
Sam Harris is still my hero. And a troll, but a hero nonetheless. Credit: Chris Rothery Photography

I also got to sit down with one of my favorite quidditch people, Sequoia, and film a YouTube video about being a woman in sports. There was more I wanted to write about how my experience as a woman has intersected with quidditch, but for once, I couldn’t pull the trigger. That’s something I’ll have to revisit someday.

May: A trophy… but not for me

One of the things I’m most proud of is extending NorCal’s quidditch season into the limbo between US Quidditch Cup and MLQ. Not only is NCQC’s championship in late May, but SJSU hosts Best Coast Classic, my favorite tournament after US Quidditch Cup is over.

At the NCQC Championships last year, I was within one snitch grab of winning a trophy. And not a measly single tournament fluke: a culmination of a whole season. (Never mind that I only played for half of it.) The Skrewts went 2-2 with Cal that year but those meddling kids won when it counted.

Is it good for NorCal quidditch (and the sport in general, really) for college teams to succeed? Absolutely.

But I wanted it.

Alas, you don’t get trophies for volunteering or creating conferences or for having a lot of feelings about quidditch and writing them down. You get trophies for winning and Cal won Game 3 of the NCQC Championship fair and square.

I don’t plan on dropping the r-word again (you only get to do that once), but I was hoping to stop playing with a trophy in hand. That didn’t happen, so I signed up for another year of playing.

When you want more, giving up is hard to do.

June-August: The Argonauts and the Quest for the Benepe Cup

I didn’t have time to ruminate over my loss for long. I’d transitioned from Spartan to Skrewt during the USQ season; now it was time to go Greek again for MLQ with the Argonauts.

I’m not quite done with quidditch just yet so this declaration might be premature, but that managing that team may go down as the most rewarding thing I have done in this sport. It just checked off all the boxes that make me happy.

Put my organizational skills to use? Check.
Be on the same team as my SJSU kids again? Check.
Make NorCal quidditch better? Check.
An excuse to make literary puns? Check.
Win games because winning is fun? Check.

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See, I told you Sam was a troll.

I didn’t write much about the Argonauts last summer because I didn’t want to be a distraction. I wanted their performance to speak for itself. It’s something I worry about the more I write about quidditch. Is what I think and what I write reflecting badly on my teams? I hope not.

Looking back on last season, it’s easy to think about all the highs: beating SLC and PHX, sweeping SEA, and leading the Night Riders for 14 minutes with only 14 players.

On the other hand, there’s room for improvement. As in all sports, I want to #BeatLA. I’d like to sweep an official MLQ West team. But the improvement that’s most in my hands is getting 21 players to Madison next summer. Leading Boston with only 14 was great… but imagine if we’d had a full squad. I do. Often.

I can’t wait to #GoNauts again this summer.

September-December: Balancing two teams

After a long journey from Spartan to Skrewt, I decided it would be a good idea to play/manage one team while coaching my alma mater. Me? An overextended overachiever? Shocking, I know.

Coach Mom
Expect to see more of that coach polo this spring.

As my Spartans are heading into a new semester, now’s as good a time to grade myself as their coach. I’d say that I’m that student that shows up pretty regularly at the beginning of the year, bails on classes mid-semester (though you try balancing nights of school board meetings and Portuguese classes with four practices a week) but showing up for exams and finals (tournaments) managed to save their grade.

So yeah, a solid C+/B-. I didn’t fail my Spartans, but I can do better. I can talk all I want about helping college teams to succeed, but I need to do the work, too.

As for the Skrewts, my practice appearance is shameful… but hey, at least I do a decent job at management tasks? A solid C, but an A+ if we curved it because really, who else wants to do it?

Looking ahead to 2018…

Welp, I committed myself to two teams and trying to run a conference in a very different landscape, so I am going to see those commitments through.

But after that? I may have a big head, but there’s not as much room for as many hats on it as there used to be. Quidditch is a big reason my #2 resolution this year is to do fewer things, better.

I’ll be scaling down in 2018… but I’m not done just yet.

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