How to Quit on a High Note, or, a Not So Dumb Retirement Announcement

Get the laughs out of your system now. I know I deserve them. We’ve been through this before. But it’s different this time.

You ready? You’re sure? Okay, let’s do this.

After a rewarding double season with the Skrewts and San Jose State, I am happy (and relieved, honestly) to retire from playing quidditch the way I always wanted to go out: on a high note.

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So Much For Retirement

In a development that will surprise absolutely no one that knows me (or that has been paying attention), I unretired this weekend with a double whammy: finally making my Skrewts debut at the Tegan and Sara Invitational on Saturday (more about that later!) and being announced as the manager for the San Francisco Argonauts on Sunday.

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King George knows what’s up.

In spite of the “lol retirement” jokes I’m going to get—and probably deserve, so do your worst—I think I stayed true to the spirit of my dumb retirement announcement. Let’s break it down.

I am done with trying to make the big picture happen with people who only care about themselves and their petty rivalries.
I am done with hearing about rivalries and drama that predate me and have nothing to do with me.

I am a NorCal girl now and forever, but so many things I tried to do were worn down by trying to please ten teams with ten different sets of needs, ten different agendas, ten different rivalries. I tried to treat every team the same way regardless of personal feelings, but I felt like I didn’t get the same treatment once I traded a Spartan shield for a Skrewt exoskeleton. On the other hand, the Argonauts are one team that NorCal wants to see do well, no matter what jersey you wear the other nine months of the year.

However, this was also a Quidditch Media problem, which I solved by getting out of a kitchen that was too hot for me and (mostly) sticking to just blogging about quidditch. I happily stand by my writing, but being the face of a media outlet was too much. I know I disappointed people and I can’t say how sorry I am about that.

I am done being asked for help with no benefit to me.
I am done with working with teams that make my life harder.
I am done being the only person who tolerates people I can’t stand.

Everything I’ll be doing this summer will ultimately benefit one team: the Argonauts. No perceived (and I can’t emphasize that enough—no matter what team I was on, I was committed above all else to the good of the sport as a whole) conflicts of interest, period. Three months of giving my all and then laying down my burdens sounds so liberating. So many quidditch volunteer roles are open ended, which feels like a huge burden when you want to stop and there’s no obvious successor at hand.

Everything I do as a Skrewt will benefit me at no cost to others. I want to stop being #fatforquidditch. I want to be a part of a team of people I enjoy being around. I want to play quidditch, guys. I’ve been responsible for so much for so long that I’ve forgotten the joy of picking up a bludger and throwing it at the people I love, tolerate, and can’t stand with equal zeal.

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Pictured: me throwing balls at people I actually like. (Even if Cal Quidditch thinks I keep forgetting them. Come try out for MLQ this summer, kids.)

I am done with knowing that nearly every tournament I run, no matter how detailed my plans and contingency plans are and no matter how much information I put out in advance, will usually end with me doing last minute magic that adds to my white hair count because someone else doesn’t have their shit together and expects me to cater to them.

As much as this behavior drove me crazy, I still loved being a TD. I am all about those Problem Solving Skills. Every TD knows that shit happens. Every good TD has plans for what to do when shit happens. Managers are responsible for running their home series, which is long way of saying that they have to be the TD for their home series. I get to scratch that itch again. I’m excited.

I am done with being the face of choices that no one likes and getting shot for being the messenger.

This was a West RC problem. I loved that role, I miss that role, but I’d be a liar if I said that I enjoyed being the bearer of bad news. #westcoastbestcoast now and always, but I am sure glad that my phone didn’t blow up again this season when hotel prices for regionals came out. (Props to Kym Couch for doing my dirty work until they hire a new Defense Against Dark Arts prof… I mean, find a new West RC.) Luckily, the problem was quickly addressed (more props to Mary Kimball for the swift response), but the whole thing happened during a particularly hectic part of my non-quidditch life.

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Kymberly Couch is a goddamn treasure.


I miss the shield of being an SJSU Spartan, my first and forever quidditch love. It was a light burden to carry because it wasn’t threatening. No one worries about someone from a mid-tier NorCal team. Trading it in for a Skrewt’s exoskeleton got me burned and nearly saw my experience with this sport see a blasted end.

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2015-2016: 4th place in NCQC. 2013-forever: 1st place in my heart.

But it would be an easy out for me to just blame others. The fact is, I didn’t help things. I tried to do too much. Anyone who tries to run a quidditch media outlet, represent a region (though I was trying to transition out of that one), run a conference, be a referee, captain a team, and try to start their non-quidditch career is just asking to burn out.

And yet, we ask this of so many quidditch volunteers! Props to the wearers of many hats, props to the ones who limit what they commit to, and props to everyone who has stepped away for the sake of their sanity. Everyone else: if you see something that needs doing—do it. If that happened, everyone would be more invested in the sport as a whole and our volunteer corps would stop dropping like flies.

As for me, I’m going to focus on pouring all that energy I was splitting too many ways into one thing at a time. I’m going to be the best Skrewt I can be for the rest of the USQ season. That means having a positive attitude and being a good example of how to be a competitor no matter what team I face and no matter what grievances I aired and have now gotten out of my system. (Also, actually showing up to practice. #fitforquidditch)

After the USQ season, I’m putting my Skrewt exoskeleton away and putting on an Argonaut’s golden fleece for the MLQ season. I’ve made my feelings about the team clear, so it’s time to put my money where my mouth is. I’ll never be an MVP on the pitch, but no matter whatever else anyone may think of me, I’ve proven myself as NorCal quidditch’s most experienced planner/plotter/logistician/Team Mom. 

I want to put that experience to work for my home team. For our home team. Let’s join our fellow Bay Area teams such as the Sharks, Quakes, Giants, Warriors, Niners, etc, in the eternal quest to #BeatLA. Losing to the Hive stung last year; I want to invade their nest and make them pay. I want to beat Phoenix again just because. I want to go to the MLQ Championships and stand behind the best team NorCal has ever seen.

See you on the pitch.

Retirement, Whatever That Means

It’s been about six weeks since I retired. Here are the quidditch things I’ve done since then:

  • Cried at all the lovely things people I actually liked doing things for told me after I rage quit
  • Tried to purge my friends list, might have been a little overzealous, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Gave Tyler a crash course in the practical aspects of being an NCQC TD
  • Went to an NCQC event and was responsible for nothing
  • Drafted another Snow Cup team, with all the self-doubt and pre-draft nausea that comes with it
  • Skipped Next Best West and regretted it because all the fun things happened without me
  • Bragged to everyone at work that quidditch is real and on the front page of the Washington Post
  • Started learning to shoot with a DSLR, in part to (maybe?) photograph tournaments

You could argue that I’m pretty terrible at this retiring thing, and while you’re entitled to an opinion, you’d be wrong. I hated being taken for granted for work I was doing for free. Work that was aimed at making things better for everyone, not just myself. Work I loved, but that I had grown to hate more. That’s what I retired from.

But the things and people I love… why should I give that up?

I’ve kicked around the idea of coming back as a player only and taking no responsibility. I’ve been taken aback by realizing that I’d be missed. (It’s easy to get so caught up in the negative that you forget the good things.) It’s not off the table, but I’m enjoying the whole not practicing thing. Being quidditch-adjecent is one thing, but going back and playing would put me in Brett Favre territory. Or Daniel Shapiro territory. (Sorry, Dan. I say this from a place of love.)

And not to make everything about the election (spoiler alert: everything is about the election), but if I regret anything, it’s that I was a woman with a platform that ultimately abdicated that position due to opposition that was overwhelmingly male. (spoiler alert: everything is about sexism now, too.) Was it a small platform in an even smaller community? Sure, but it’s still sticking in my craw.

For now, though, I’m enjoying being quidditch-adjecent. I’m going to Silicon Valley Showdown tomorrow, purely as a spectator.

It’s the first tournament I’ve attended in three years that I’ll have no volunteer role in. How do people even do that? By my second tournament, I was already volunteering as an assistant referee. (Look at me at the 3:50ish mark, being a good AR by watching beater play and not being too distracted by the snitch.)

For all the things I miss and I regret, I am more excited for this weekend (and for Snow Cup later this month!) than I’ve been for anything quidditch related for a long time. Walking away was worth it to #makequidditchfunagain.

Another Dumb Retirement Announcement

It’s 9:30 am on Sunday, October 16th. I should be in the East Bay playing in my first tournament as a Skrewt; instead, I find myself writing another dumb retirement announcement. The tournament was canceled, but there are still games going on at Cal.

Games involving teams that I’ve worked hard for, whether or not I’ve ever been affiliated with them. Games I didn’t hear about until 6 pm the night beforetoo late to get my team together to go and get some much-needed experience playing as a team.

I love quidditch. But I have never hated it as much as I do right now.

So I quit.

I vacate all my roles and responsibilities as of right fucking now.

  • West RC? Regionals are months away and team sign ups are done. Get your damn ref requirements in.
  • Sunset Invitational? Only one team from outside the West was even interested. And why should they be? Traveling sucks for us on the west coast but there’s not much of a choice, so why would other teams volunteer for that hardship?
  • NCQC? Chris and Ra know what they’re doing. I trust them.
  • QP? They deserve a CEO who isn’t having a meltdown every other weekend.
  • Skrewts? They deserve better than an ancient bench warmer who hates practicing.

Why did I take on so much? A few seasons ago, my team got so caught up in doing well at any cost that we became pretty terrible people. Playing illegal rosters (by our school’s rules, not USQ’s), playing to hurt other teams, lying and infighting and imploding right before regionals. I took a break from leadership before coming back, not to lead my own team, but to make things better for the teams around me. I promised myself that my biggest priority would be to make quidditch better for everyone, not just myself. I promised myself that I would be a good example.

I think I have been. It just hasn’t been enough to change the underlying problems of this sport. The workload isn’t the problem; I think I’m well suited to those roles. What I can’t do, however, is change attitudes.

I am done with trying to make the big picture happen, because it would make the sport better, with people who only care about themselves and their petty rivalries.

I am done being asked for help with no benefit to me because it would make the sport better. Yes, that means you, for asking me to help ref at scrimmages my team asn’t invited to because of a stupid petty bullshit rivalry with the Skrewts.

I am done with working with teams that make my life harder because it would make the sport better. I included teams in my conference that I wasn’t particularly thrilled with because I cared more about improving local quidditch than my personal feelings. 

I am done being the only person who tolerates people I can’t stand because it would make the sport better. That list is long and distinguished but I don’t even want to bother with naming names and giving anyone any more attention than they deserve.

I am done with hearing about rivalries and drama that predate me and have nothing to do with me, like all the Skrewts-adjacent community team clusterfucks and the mountain of bullshit I had to deal with from my friends when I had the crazy idea of making QP better because it would make the sport better.

I am done with knowing that nearly every tournament I run, no matter how detailed my plans and contingency plans are and no matter how much information I put out in advance, will usually end with me doing last minute magic that adds to my white hair count because someone else doesn’t have their shit together and expects me to cater to them.

I am done with being the face of choices that no one (including me, so so so very much) likes and getting shot for being the messenger.

This isn’t all Cal’s fault. They didn’t think. Neither did the other teams attending. It happens. It’s just the last time I care to deal with people thinking only of themselves while depending on me to think about the big picture.

It will keep happening until there are consequences. I’m not really your or anyone else’s mom. Maybe that approach was wrong. Maybe I’m too old for this and quidditch needs to grow up. Maybe my leaving will shake things up and change things for the better, but I doubt it. Staying certainly won’t, though.

But like any other dumb retirement announcement, let’s see if this sticks.

This is not how I wanted to go out. I wanted one more season. A shot at playing at nationals one last time. Making sure that I had built a conference that could run itself without me. Quidditch has given me so much, so many friends and opportunities I never would have had otherwise; it’s just that I’ve reached the point where it’s taken more out of me than I get back.