Yes, I invented another quidditch word if no one else has. If you already have, I heartily apologize and say thank you for your creation.
Anyway, I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. Let’s run through what I’m talking about:
- Something happens in the quidditch world
- Whatever it is, some part of that event is voted upon, disputable, or otherwise open-ended to interpretation
- Someone doesn’t like that
- That someone decides to write a blog/Facebook post/video/etc. voicing their displeasure. Often emotionally charged and occasionally expletive-filled.
If you’re a part of any of the Facebook groups related to quidditch, and have been for any longer than all of, say, 4 days, you’ve seen an example of this. I’ll recount a few:
- UCLA v. Middlebury and the controversial snitch grab in the Elite 8 of World Cup V
- The ranking/seeding snafu at World Cup V, leading to the phantom Middlebury v. Marquette game, among others
- The decision to split World Cup into Divisions 1, 2, and High School
- America’s Finest. Just in general
- Just about any newspaper/magazine/online journal written about quidditch by someone not involved in the sport directly
- Team USA- the selection process, players selected, geographic distribution of players selected
- World Cup 6’s selection process, final location, and final date
- Western/Southern/International teams complaining about having to travel to World Cups 3-5
- Northeastern teams complaining about having to travel to World Cup 6
- Western/Southern/International teams complaining that the Northeastern teams are complaining
- Halftimes/Play stoppages/Snitch play in the future of quidditch
- Whether quidditch should continue to grow toward the direction of professional sport, stay a sort of fun past time, or somewhere in the middle
- Just about half of anything on Luke’s page (Sorry Luke, it’s just an example)
- Any and every game that comes down to the snitch grab
- Any game where any refereeing decision is open to interpretation
- Pittsburgh Quidditch attending last year’s Midwest Cup (they’re not a part of that region)
- Mercenary Teams
- How to handle players who have graduated from their school
- 2012-2013’s season preseason rankings from Team USA
- Feeling that your team/region is unrepresented/underrated in your area/across the US
- Being left out/added to your team’s final spots for tournaments
- X position is the most/least important in quidditch
- Distribution/shipping of Olympic Quidditch jerseys
- You know what, just about everything about Middlebury in general has at some point been disputed/criticized
As a community, we have dissected and torn apart just about everything that can be, and a lot more that I didn’t even know were open to interpretation. I know the above list probably only covers all of 10% of what everyone could think of- remember, I only got in to the collegiate quidditch scene last September. One calendar year. I’m not stating my own view here and I understand that a lot of the above issues have already been resolved. I’m just bringing to the surface that, at one point (which could still be now) these issues were strongly divisive across the quidditch community.
On almost all of these issues, I found nearly every possible viewpoint: positive, negative, neutral, changing the perspective, and simply reiterating facts. And from all these viewpoints, the mood would range from polite, to-the-point discussion to those expletive-filled explosive rants where the writer basically says “You’re wrong. You’re so wrong. Sit in your wrong-ness and be wrong. Dumbass.”
And I would read all these posts, and would come out somewhere on the scale of “I agree with every single thing you stated” to “No, you’re wrong. Dumbass.” I try to hover around “I agree with parts of what you’re saying but think your idea could use improvement around this specific topic”, whether or not I also voiced my opinion. And when talking to those around my personal quidditch circle, I would be able to discuss all our viewpoints and try to come to an understanding of all the sides of the issue if we couldn’t all agree on it.
The thing is, there would always be one person who would listen/read these posts, and have this response: “You know, I don’t really get this. Who cares.”
We care. Benepe cares. I care. We all care. Everyone that has voiced their opinion cares.
And you know what? We all should care. No, wait it’s a lot more than that.
We need to care.
Quidditch started in 2005. It’s now 2012. That means our sport is 7 years old. Let’s just think about that a bit. I know quidditch has come an incredibly long way in just 7 short years, from wearing capes while holding lamps between your leg (because that photo is just too priceless) to teams like Texas and Lost Boys starting players 5’10”, 195 pounds- and they’re the small ones.
7 years. By comparison, soccer, the most popular sport in the world (since we are an international sport) has been around officially since the late 1800’s. Derivatives of it can be found all the way back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries (http://www.historyofsoccer.info/). American football started in the early 20th century. Baseball, golf, tennis, NASCAR, just about every other established sport has been around for somewhere around a century. These sports have grown in to their own, are established across an international basis, and are not going anywhere anytime soon. They are, to use an analogy, adults.
7 years in comparison to hundreds. Let’s continue using that analogy. Quidditch, as a sport, is an infant. New born, fragile, and more than just needing guidance- it needs someone to watch over it to survive. It needs parents.
Think about it. When you see parents taking care of their child, at some point, that child is inevitably going to show some sign of sickness. The child will cough, throw up, have a fever, sleep too long, sleep too little, not eat, or some other symptom that isn’t typical of normal behavior.
And, I think most of us agree, a responsible parent will do the opposite of ignore it. No, some of them will positively flip out, take that infant to a doctor and want that doctor to run any and every test. Why? That cough, odds are, could have just been a bit of a tickle in the throat. Or, it could be the beginnings of polio, ebola, or God-knows-what super-rare degenerative disease that needs immediate and strong response. And no matter what you think about that parent being over-protective or over-analytical, you respect that parent at the very least for caring and doing everything they can to take care of the problem.
So, in quidditch, who are the parents? We are. We all are.
Behind every single Facebook/Tumblr/personal rant that is expletive-filled, over the line, and horribly offensive, the same thing sits behind it. A parent of quidditch.
That’s what we all are, by the way. We’re still part of that first generation of quidditch players. This sport, in effect, is our baby. And we need to make sure we take care of any and every problem as soon as we see it. The odds are, a tiny problem such as whether or not Middlebury should have pulled the snitch against UCLA will not directly lead to the ultimate demise of quidditch as we know it. But if we don’t address the problem at all, it could possibly grow into a serious problem, a disease. One that ultimately takes this sport away from both our generation and the future generations that could come.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think that we need to make sure we hold our emotions in check and respond in a proper manner to problems that arise in the quidditch world. The best parents are the ones who are able to not over-react but still respond correctly.
I’ve been trying to keep this in mind myself. I still see all the posts that just make me so angry that I want to go to Facebook or my page and just rant and rant about how horribly wrong that person is, about how everything out of their mouth is going to ultimately kill this sport.
But then I remember- they’re just looking out for Quidditch’s best interest down at the deepest level of the rant. They want to see this sport grow into adulthood, to be able to sustain itself.
They’re not really any different from me.
And it helps me smile on the inside.
Don’t be the “who cares” guy. ‘Cause I care, and my rants reflect that.