Quidditch, a Nerd Sport: an Entreaty

Editor’s note: This is an opinion piece and therefore does not represent the views of the entire staff.

by Ali Markus

Hello, fellow nerd-sport players.

Oh, does that offend you? Well, I don’t hate to break it to you, but that’s what you play. A nerd sport for nerds.

Since saying offensive things without much—if any—regard for the feelings of those who hear officially qualifies me to hold office as Highest in the Land™, everything I say henceforth shall be taken as truth and law. If this offends you, then remember: it’s all just locker room talk.

(Oh wait, I forgot. I’m a woman. #StillNastyTho)

Here’s the thing. If you’re reading this, you probably play quidditch. Whether you like it or not, this sport exists because of Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, the Chosen One, the Youngest Seeker in a Century, the Not-Heir of Slytherin, AKA Roonil Wazlib.

Regardless of your opinion, Harry Potter was an international phenomenon in this muggle world of ours, and that is the reason you have a sport to play. But every single one of you glee-club-hating, varsity-football-playing, pilot-episode-Noah-Puckermans need to sit down and realize that this sport is not mainstream.

And that is its beauty.

Not one player in quidditchnot even those at the elite levelknows everything there is to know about it. Like all sports, quidditch is perpetually growing, changing, evolving. This community is an incredible thing to be a part of, and the failure of some to recognize that is deeply upsetting and disappointing.

Moreso, it upsets me that players considered top-tier in their respective regions do not do their best to assist teams that have not enjoyed matching levels of success. It upsets me that many new or rebuilding programs struggle to foster growth, and oftentimes the only way for such teams to get better is for them to play against squads more experienced, storied, and knowledgeable. It upsets me that no one can take responsibility for a loss.

It upsets me that members of our community rage on about “butthurt” quidditch players while apparently not realizing that, in doing so, they are actualizing the definition of the word themselves. It upsets me that anyone in this sport gives a single shit about its legitimacy. Because quidditch is already legitimate.

Help your fellow quidkids.

This sport is not easy. Quidditch is young, and we are all still learning, as evidenced by the very fact that its existence is widely disbelieved when players and volunteers try to explain the community to new people. Outsiders sure as hell don’t understand how expensive it is to sustain a season.

There are a ton of teams that have managed not only to successfully finance themselves through season after season, they’ve chanced upon or studied up on the right formula to produce quidditch athletes. A few teams per region have developed players into dominating forces in their respective regions. And if you are lucky enough to be part of one of those teams, you should be sharing that wisdom.

Help a new team out. Invite its players to your practices, if you are close enough for such a thing to be feasible. Share with its leadership all of your fundraising horror stories; disclose all of your fundraising successes. Talk to the players about how you recruit, how you retain, and how you get 20+ people to travel to South Carolina and back without dying or getting stuck at a truckstop on I-70. Invite them the next time you host a tournamenteven if you’re convinced you’ll blow them out and learn nothing from a game against them. Do it for the other team’s players. Do it for the experience they’ll get.

Guess what? This sport you’re so good at? It’s only ten years old. You are not the GOAT. In a couple of years, quidditch will be unrecognizable to you and to all of us. It will have evolved and changed so much that contemporary popular playing styles and trends will be more outdated than a dowry.

The point is that every game played is a lesson. Whether one chooses to capitalize on that opportunity is up to the player. Not playing against a particular team because one finds them lacking—in experience, in athleticism, in anything at all—is pathetic, and such a mindset is shameful.

You know what makes you better at quidditch?

Practice.

Lose well.

Stop making excuses. Your life is not over if you don’t get a bid to World Cup (Editor’s note: She means USQ Cup). Your life is not over if you do not make Team USA. And—my gosh, let’s just take note of the fact that no one’s life will end if Team USA doesn’t blow out all of Global Games (Editor’s note: So she means World Cup, but refuses to use the right words because she’s Ali and likes to be a rebel). This sport is not about winning. No sport is all about winning. If all you care about is a ring, go play football. Tom Brady has a bunch of Super Bowl rings and he’s still a terrible person.

Which brings me to Consolation Cup, the best thing to happen to this sport since we got rid of capes.

Quidditch media gave no coverage to Consolation Cup because the community didn’t give a damn about teams that didn’t qualify for USQ Cup 9. That said: it wasn’t the national championship, but the teams who competed there exhibited some of the best quidditch I’ve seen in a long time. The furthest out of range I ever saw a game go was 50 points, and we all know that there is a big difference between needing one goal to get back in range and needing ten goals. Considering the blowouts I saw in South Carolina last April, I’d say the “best of the best” have a long way to go before they can actually call themselves that.

If you don’t contribute, your whining doesn’t count.

How many times do the more outspoken members of our community need to be told to volunteer or shut up before they actually do one or the other? Somehow, it’s always the loudest people who do the least amount of community contribution and volunteering. Players are not exempt. If you are in this community and benefit from the unpaid, hard work of others, you should know that your time does not mean more than theirs. Their time off pitch makes your minutes on it possible.

Embrace your nerd sport.

This sport matters. When members of this community claim it lacks legitimacy, they do it a disservice. If you read the word “quidkids” in this article and do not roll your eyes, you’re doing it right.

All others: sit down and think about why you put a stick between your legs in the first place. You walked into a practice, picked up a broomstick and a ball, and suspended disbelief for just long enough to try something new and fall in love with something that actually brought a little bit of whimsy into your lifenot to mention the people said whimsy accompanied.

Fellow quidkids: I implore you. Let this sport be what it is. Don’t try to force quidditch to fit the mold of something it isn’t, especially because you’re too self-conscious to admit that you like something that other people don’t understand.

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