I didn’t have the time to write the pump up, get hyped, let’s go kinda post I wanted because other things demanded to be written and pre-regionals preparations had to be made. But now, as I wind down and get ready for the weekend, I’m back with a little bit of Coach Mom’s Wholesome Quidditch Content.
The seven-year itch
It’s an odd-numbered Western Cup, so I guess it’s time for me to experience the legendary Skrewts qualification by the skin of our teeth. (Do Blast-Ended Skrewts even have teeth?) Oh yay.
In a lot of ways, the Skrewts are not my team. I love you guys, I love being your captain-manager, but we all know I bleed blue and yellow.
No, this is the team I stumbled into. They took me in after I graduated and brought me back after I was done playing Achilles in his tent. I’m blessed that they keep me around as their benevolent benchwarming dictator.
That being said, the legacy of the Skrewts is something I hold in high regard. They were the first team I looked up to. They were the first team I wanted to beat. This team has gone to six World Cups/US Quidditch Cups. They have represented NorCal long and well. Other teams have risen and fallen, but the Skrewts have always been there. Playing, winning, reffing, snitching, volunteering, writing, everything. The Skrewts have always taken care of business on the field and off.
But the heaviest legacy to bear is this: in spite of the changes in the game (no community team would have such a ridiculous name in this whimsy-free era of the sport) and on their roster, this team has never failed to qualify.
I do not want to be the captain of a ship that founders. I steered them into the murky waters of Crimson Cup without Miles or Covel. It was my idea and we got swept. Starting 0-3 has put us on our back foot all season. We’ve crawled back from that, but barely.
If we fail to take bronze and the bid that comes with it, if we miss an at-large by thiiiiiis much, I won’t blame my teammates. They played like champions. We switched positions, picked up each other’s burdens, and did the best we could. This team could have fallen apart and disappeared in the past few years. Keeping it together should be a victory in itself.
But I am tired of moral victories. I want real wins. But the only person I will blame if we’re stuck at home in April is myself. I made the choice that framed the rest of the season. And considering that I might be ending my playing days (just playing; I still intend on sticking around to run shit and rabble rouse) come May, that is not how I want to end things.
There are only two members of SJSU’s World Cup 7 squad still on the team: me and Arianna Jordan. Anna Huang and Matt Ignao practiced and played with us back then, but they didn’t get the attention and nurturing they needed to grow as players. They didn’t come with us to Myrtle Beach.
When Arianna graduates this spring, I’ll be the last one left with that memory.
But she’s not the only one graduating; our core group of players will be mostly gone by 2019. The long hard work of rebuilding is right around the corner and I am not looking forward to it.
That has to wait. I have to focus on this weekend.
SJSU has not been this close to qualifying since World Cup 8, when that regional ended in tears and frustration. I have never stopped blaming myself for the nonsense that went down that season. If things had been different, maybe we would have qualified. Success breeds success. Maybe we could have recruited more people based on that success instead of stagnating into a mid-tier NorCal team.
Maybe, maybe, maybe. Enough of that.
All I know is that the math says SJSU has a good chance at winning an at-large bid. I know how it feels to be invited to the big dance after regionals. It’s okay.
But nothing, nothing compares to qualifying at regionals after years of staying home. I got to experience that last year with the Skrewts. That’s the experience I want to give my kids. They’re capable. They’re worthy. I’d do anything to let them know that feeling.
This team is everything to me and I’m going to give them everything I have. I know they’ll give it everything, too.
Two teams, full heart, can’t lose
As I go into this weekend with more on the line for me than any tournament I’ve been in, I can feel the stress that’s been bearing down on me start to recede. All the hard Team Mom work is done. I did all I can do on that front.
All I have to do now is play some games and have some fun. Winning is fun. I plan on having a lot of fun this weekend.
See you all on the pitch.