My name is Mollie and this my more personal and quidditch focused blog. I have played both chaser and beater for Texas A&M. I also have served as a beater coach. If you have any questions at all in regards to quidditch please feel free to ask as I am here to share my wisdom and help the next generation of quidditch players keep the sport going!
With the start of the 2013 quidditch season under way, there have already been some major games shedding light on which teams will likely be at the top of their region this year and which teams we could possibly see contending for the Cup this upcoming spring in Myrtle Beach. However, much of the quidditch world has been impatiently waiting for one specific unofficial warm up tournament that will be held this weekend on the Rice University intramural fields. All eyes will be on the 3rd Annual Breakfast Taco Tournament this weekend as much of the top competition in the Southwest descends upon Houston, Texas to square against each other and assert which teams will be on top of arguably the most competitive region in the IQA this season.
This time around its probably more like the 6th or 7th reiteration or version of the gender debate that has plagued this community forever, but I don’t care to go back and count exactly how many times this has been debated. Vanessa Goh has made some fantastic posts about women in quidditch recently which have received some unnecessary backlash from a few people. I don’t even know how I can expand on what Vanessa has said to try and help these people understand the reality of the situation, but I am going to try to the best of my ability. Also, I really hope I don’t regret this, as I have tried to stay out these sorts of arguments, but at this point I found it necessary to make a few comments.
Privileged vs. Unprivileged
First off, I want to address the concept of privileged vs. unprivileged or in other words any time someone says your argument is invalid because you are privileged in way that creates bias in whatever you are attempting to argue. In our case, I’ve seen a lot of women claim a man’s argument is completely nullified because he is privileged by having that Y chromosome. I’m sorry but that is ridiculous. Not every guy is sexist, yes some are going to be, but that also works for women as some of us can be sexist as well, so does that make some of our arguments in this debate invalid as well? The bigger picture here is that it isn’t fair to just claim someone’s argument is invalid solely based on their gender without actually trying to understand their opinion. Most likely what they are arguing for is some way to improve quidditch as a whole, which is what we all have opinions on that other people can agree with or disagree with. These arguments can’t simply be invalidated by someone’s gender right off the bat.
Also to be up front, I want to share my privilege resume:
Female – Unprivileged
White – Privileged
Lesbian – Unprivileged
Rich family – Privileged
So pretty much I come out even in terms of my privileges based on things I have no control over. I am fully aware that all these factors about myself do affect my opinions and they affect how people understand my opinions. BUT being on both ends of the spectrum in these different areas has made me extremely aware of my own biases and shown me that it isn’t impossible for someone on the other side to understand me and vice versa. Therefore, lets please stop invalidating arguments due to uncontrollable factors and focus the debate on the content of what everyone is saying.
Sports and Athleticism
Now that I got that out of the way I can continue with my main point which is that sports and athleticism go hand in hand. Absolutely, there is strategy and a mental side involved in any sport which is a huge asset, and sometimes a less athletic player that is more strategic is a bigger asset and will make the team over a more athletic player. However, generally speaking every sport has multiple divisions or leagues separated out based on athletic ability (or sometimes experience) for that particularly sport. The best players make the top teams and the developing or not so good players make the lower teams. This is how it’s always been and anyone with a sports background understands and for the most part respects this system.
Focusing back in on quidditch and the gender rule, the biggest frustration for most people is that in many cases this forces teams to play not so good players over their better players, which absolutely sucks and I hate that to be honest. I do love the coed aspect of quidditch and many female players can bring a lot of unique aspects to the game (I wrote an article on that for T8M awhile back), but the reality is that what seeks to promote equality actually diminishes the fairness in determining who is most worthy of playing and who isn’t. The best deserve to play no matter what, no matter the gender. That is what is fair.
We have gotten to a point to where the best female players in the game are widely recognized as such and would not be denied a roster spot on many teams even if there wasn’t a mandated gender ratio. I will say that thanks to the gender rule many female players with the potential to do great have succeeded thus far and have shown that it isn’t impossible to compete alongside the boys. The unfortunate truth however is that there aren’t a ton and many of these players might not end up being starters because as great as they are, there are many male players that are still better. It sucks but it is the truth as of right now. My point here is that the best players should play period in a perfect world.
In my opinion, one of the biggest problems currently in quidditch that is also related to this gender debate is a lack of understanding on how you gain respect and a playing spot on a team. From a coaches perspective, I don’t owe you anything. You are entitled to absolutely nothing. You must prove your athletic ability to me and show me why you deserve to start over other players.
If you want the ball passed to you, you better prove that you will do something productive with it and so on and so forth with other parts of the game that involve trust. Players that don’t perform as well as other players are not typically going to start, and they are not going to be as trusted to make game changing plays.
So this brings us to the interesting situation at hand, where some teams are forced to play less capable female players over more capable male players to meet the gender quota. Some female players are absolutely phenomenal and are more than deserving of these spots while others are not. For the ones that are not, I can imagine the frustration of the team. This also leads to added frustration with those female players because many of them feel that since they made the team and essentially have to start they are entitled to passes and certain opportunities on the field. But as I just stated, if you aren’t as good as the other players on the field, they typically aren’t going to trust you and play the ball to you or allow you the opportunity to make big plays.
Vanessa has done a great job highlighting this specific issue, so I am just going to reiterate what she has said. A lot of female players complain about not receiving passes, and they jump to the conclusion that guys are simply not passing to them because they are a girl when in reality more often than not it’s because you aren’t as good as they are. Yes, there are still instances to the contrary, but not as many as I would have believed a year or so ago. If you aren’t as good as they are, you shouldn’t feel remotely entitled to a pass your way. This goes for guys as well. I have seen plenty of male players not pass to their male teammates out of a lack of trust as well.
This brings us even deeper into another issue that encompasses everyone and not just female players. The issue is that many people have no comprehension of their true skills. They can’t be honest with themselves on how good they actually are. Chances are the more excuses you are making and the more you are blaming other people for not passing you the ball, trusting you with an opportunity, etc. the worse you actually are. Again there are some exceptions, but this is overall a pretty accurate generalization. The good news is that once you come to terms with how good you actually are and lose the sense of entitlement, you can focus all your efforts towards becoming a better player and you will have a much better sense of what specifically you need to improve on.
I want to share something interesting that I really want everyone to mull over. Entering into the workforce I was very aware of the conservative industry I was planning on working in and how coming out as a lesbian could affect me in the work world. I am not ashamed, but I didn’t want that to define who I was over my work ethic and capabilities. Well, I ended up coming out to a few of my peers around my same age and they were all supportive and cool with it, but then something interesting came up. One guy asked me if I was going to tell my manager and HR and I said probably not because I don’t want to make it a big deal and what not. And he was like, “Yea, but you know it could help your career.” What he was implying is the fact that some companies promote minorities essentially wanting to show off diversity. And I mean this would also apply to me being a woman as well and not just being gay. I told him I would feel absolutely sick about that. I would only ever want to be promoted based on my merit and skills to be successful in that position. I wouldn’t want to use my sexuality or gender to get ahead in the work world because I want to know that I truly earned that opportunity otherwise it wouldn’t mean anything to me.
Going back to quidditch, my point is that while I loving playing coed and hope that it continues naturally, I would never feel right taking a spot away from a more deserving player just because I’m a girl. And I would hope that many people agree with me. So I know that the gender rule isn’t just going to go away tomorrow, and maybe it doesn’t need to go away just yet. But what does need to happen is for female players to really assess their current skills and improve to the best of their ability to affirm they are fully deserving of their spot and will be an asset to the team. Your team and coach don’t owe you anything if you don’t prove yourself.
Note: If you are one of the phenomenal female players who has already proven your worth over and over again in the quidditch, then you can pretty much ignore everything I said and just continue inspiring and being generally awesome.
If there’s one thing that makes Southwest Regional Director Becca DuPont (Texas A&M) fit for her leadership position, it’s the fact that her followers always have something great to look at while they walk behind her through the proverbial desert on route to the Promised Land of Kissimmee, Florida. Anyone familiar with A&M knows that they work out, they’re sexy, and they know it: well, so does everyone else (and if they didn’t before, they certainly do now). I hit Becca in the face with a 107mph bludger at Western Cup, and was petrified that I’d destroyed something beautiful like
Jacob AdlisEdward Norton in Fight Club. Fortunately, buns and abs aren’t the only things made of steel on the Aggie chaser. Becca and I both wear number 33, and I can only assume that, being from Texas, she was also inspired by Friday Night Lights’ Tim Riggins. As they say down in Dillon: Clear Eyes, Great Butts, Can’t Lose.
Yup, this is totally why we are dating ;)
I can’t begin to express the pride I have for my alma mater right now. It has been a pleasure seeing this team grow and improve year after year. Even though I have graduated I still feel a huge connection to this team. I watch them play now and get just as anxious and excited as I did when I played. They are 20-0 this semester, and I’m just speechless at that astounding accomplishment. At the beginning of the summer I know some people felt the team wouldn’t be as good as we were last year due to some of the starters graduating. Well, I think they have definitely proved that theory wrong. They came out stronger and with more drive than I could have imagined.
And I have to give a special shout out and recognize one amazing player on that team that I have been the most impressed with this year. You all know her as the Southwest Regional Director or the Texas A&M Quidditch President, but I know her first and foremost as my girlfriend: Becca DuPont.
I truly believe she is one of the best chasers in the game right now. I mean yea obviously I could be called out for being biased, but I feel like most people who have seen her play especially this season would agree with me. She will juke and spin and drive to the goal herself without any need for assistance. This weekend alone she scored roughly 13-14 goals with most of them requiring her to get past at least one defending chaser. Her biggest asset though is that she is fearless. She will go up against any player no matter how big, and she will take some of the hardest tackles I have ever seen and just pop right back up and shrug it off as if it were nothing. She also can dish out some of the greatest tackles. Her size is extremely misleading to those that don’t know her because she is much stronger than she looks (Trust me, I thought I was strong, but I get my ass kicked every time we wrestle.)
And did I mention this is her first serious team sport!!! She was in band in high school, and only played a little football and a few other sports casually. I was utterly shocked when I found that out. However, she has made up for her lack of experience with a drive to constantly improve and better herself at every practice. And now its amazing to watch her play because she has gotten so great. I am so beyond proud of her.
She is a true role model to not only players that lack a sports background, but to anyone that plays. She is one of my role models (I know that is super cheesy but its true!) She is a class act and constantly befriending new people at every tournament. I can’t wait to watch her and the rest of the A&M team continue to grow this spring.