I get told, if I had to guess, around ten times a week how weird or nerdy I am by the kids at work. This is undoubtedly due to my unashamed love of all things Disney and the fact that when the girls watch Disney movies, I know all of the words. I also talk about Albus…a lot. Some girls have even started asking how he’s doing every now and then. But with all my love for Disney and cats, there is one thing that my true nerd spirit holds dear.
Harry Potter is the series that brought the creative part of myself out of my shell. It’s the first world I really escaped into and one of the few I feel at home with. I seriously can’t count the number of times I’ve read these books. That doesn’t even take into account the number of times that I’ve listened to the books as well (I just started Prisoner of Azkaban yesterday). As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like music that much right now, so I turn to audiobooks. Even though I’ve read and heard the story so many times, it is just as much of an engaging story as the first time I read it.
So it wasn’t a surprise to any of my friends or family when I joined my college’s club quidditch team.
Coming in as one of those fan-girl Harry Potter loving nerds, I was pleased to find just how physical the game is. If anyone were to ask my mom, she would tell them that she has never seen me be more competitive than when I was on the quidditch pitch. I would definitely have to agree. I’ve played plenty of sports in my life and did well. However, being on this team of misfits has been more fun than all of my sports experiences combined.
Not only that, but the quidditch community as a whole is simply amazing. I’ve met several wonderful people through traveling for tournaments and even doing some summer fantasy tournaments. Being a co-ed, full contact sport makes an even playing field for male and female players in that all are treated the same and follow the same rules. This, I feel, helped add to the overall family feeling because it wasn’t a sport aimed towards any kind of specific person. There were several people on the team who had never read the Harry Potter books or seen the movies.
When I first started at Lock Haven University, I was a lonely transfer student with no friends in the area and my cats were three hours away. I was in kind of a dark place after my last college experience, so I was nervous about starting new. I got lucky, though, that one of my first roommates became one of my closest friends.
I attended the club fair that is a college staple everywhere and saw three hoops in the distance. I didn’t stop at any other table. I beelined right for it and saw a group of students tossing around a volleyball. They were all extremely friendly and genuinely excited at my interest in the club. After that, my dark place slowly faded away as I was welcomed into this family.
I use the word family to describe the team a lot because that is exactly how I see them. Just about all of us have graduated and new, young players are carrying on what those before me built and what we all helped to grow and sustain. I may not talk to all of them on any kind of regular basis, but I know if I were to see them, it would be easy to fall back into conversation as if I had just seen them the day before. Some I do talk to quite often and some I consider my closest, truest friends.
Photo credit on watermarked photos belongs to Isabella Gong Photography
Remember that fantasy fiction trilogy I mentioned…well that close friend co-author of mine is none other than my best friend, Zach. Without this team, he and I would never have met and would never have become basically siblings.
My parents were very supportive of the quidditch team and treated them like family as well. My mom even drove Zach about 5 hours from a tournament to his family because his nose had been broken. They traveled to almost every tournament, even though it meant spending money on hotels, gas, and sometimes event tickets. But they loved seeing how happy I was out on the field and were happy to make the trip to see me at my best.
Not going to lie, there were ups and downs with the team just like any other family. At times it was so stressful that I debated quitting. There were so many internal couples that it was hard to keep up at times. But my love for the sport and my love for my team kept me going. Any drama that had happened was settled eventually and I can easily say that I am on good terms with everyone from the team. Being with them taught me so much about myself as a human being and a lot about who I want to be going forward. They took me in as a lonely transfer student with no one and helped me transform into an almost whole adult.
I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be where I am today, as cliché as that sounds, without this group of people. They showed me that anything is possible and it’s okay to struggle because those who love you will always be there. I gained so much confidence in myself while I was a part of LHU Quidditch and I wouldn’t trade my time with them for anything.
To any of my teammates who may be reading this, thank you for being fucking awesome. I love you guys more than you know!
Until next time!