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?


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.

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How to Use Quidditch to Start Your Career Without Sounding Like a Complete Nerd

Earlier this week, Major League Quidditch published an article I wrote when I was trying to convince people to join the Argonauts staff this summer. I’m not going to repeat anything I wrote there. I just want to expand on it because not everyone wants or can apply for an MLQ position.

If you’re reading this, you probably have some quidditch volunteer experience. You’ve probably wondered if it’s worth all the time, effort, and risk to your sanity. Will quidditch actually help you get a real job?

Yes. Maybe. Depends. But it’s not impossible.

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Liz’s Hot Takes: US Quidditch Cup 10 Pool Ponderings

Okay, this might be a bit of a lukewarm take. This was supposed to go up last night, but between Portuguese school, trying to cook dinner, and deciding that watching The Great British Baking Show was a better way to spend my night, this got put off to today.

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Countdown to Kissimmee: Writing a New Chapter

A little over two weeks ago, I was sitting at the airport, putting together the fundraiser for the Skrewts postseason tournament. I found myself pausing when asked to give it a title. I’m a planner by nature and that means planning for the worst case scenario. I’d quietly mentioned Consolation Cup to our team president at our last practice before regionals and he looked fit to kill me. I evaded a swift death but reminding him that I believed in our team and telling him to pretend that the whole conversation had never happened.

But I couldn’t pretend. After several minutes of staring at my laptop, I typed “Help the Skrewts Go East” into the box because both Texas and Florida are east of Silicon Valley and I didn’t want to jinx things. I might be a hockey atheist, but the Spirit of St. Quidditch is still real to me.

real to me

I’m also a big believer in stories. I have a degree in them, after all. Taking events and piecing them together into a narrative helps me bring meaning to life. As I sat in that airport terminal, I was apprehensive. Would the coming weekend be the beginning of the twilight of the Skrewts? It felt like the narrative I deserved after playing Achilles in his tent earlier this season.

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Road to Regionals: Western Cup V

I wish I could say that it seems like yesterday that I was heading off to Arizona for my first regional championship. Since I crammed a lot of quidditch into the last four-ish years, the earlier stuff is starting to get a little hazy. So, in an effort to fight the inevitable decay of memory and to share a look back at how someone can go from knowing nothing about quidditch to (arguably) too much, this week my Road to Regionals will begin in Tempe, head up to Roseville, make its way down to Westwood, and come full circle in Peoria.

Let’s go for a ride, guys.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.