Four Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Quidditch
By Allyson Burton
I started quidditch in spring 2010, the first semester it came to the University of Texas at Austin. I joined because I love Harry Potter, but like many other quidditch players, I stayed because I love the sport. During my three-and-a-half years in Texas Quidditch, I had the opportunity to take on a lot of different roles. I was a House Captain, Yule Ball organizer, Tournament Director, Vice President and President. My experiences in various leadership roles gave me the opportunity to learn a lot of lessons and a large part of me wishes I could share that information with my past self. Although time travel is currently not possible, I do have the opportunity to share some things I have learned with others who might find it helpful.
Do not be afraid to ask for help
Balancing schoolwork, other curricular activities and quidditch was sometimes overwhelming, causing stress that hurt my participation in all of those areas. As my involvement with quidditch increased, I finally started asking for help. Sometimes I asked people to help me organize matches, carry equipment and coordinate events. Every time at least one person would step up and assist me or take over the task entirely so that I could focus on other things or simply have a break. Whether the task is big or small, do not be afraid to ask for help or worry that no one will respond. Chances are, there is someone who is happy to assist you.
Network with other teams
If your team is just getting started or planning a tournament for the first time, there are plenty of people from other teams who can provide tips based on their experiences. In addition to learning useful information, connecting with other captains and players can enrich your overall quidditch experience. Maintaining contact and forming friendships online makes attending tournaments more fun because it provides an opportunity to spend time with people outside your own team. It also can create feelings of mutual respect that make interacting with and playing against other teams more enjoyable and less likely to create unhealthy tension.
Focus on similarities, not differences
Sometimes drama within the quidditch community or within your own team can make you lose sight of the reason why you play in the first place. After struggling with this for several months, I realized that rather than get frustrated with people who held different opinions than I did, it was more constructive to remember that everyone wants what is best for their team. This idea changed my approach to how I handled conflicts. When choosing captains for our teams, my officers and I spent over three hours debating the various candidates. Although this was sometimes exasperating, I thought to myself, “Wow. Everyone here really cares about this organization if they are taking three hours out of their study time to discuss this.” I came to relish comments and opinions of every kind, because the fact that so many people feel so passionately about the sport ensures that it will continue to grow.
It’s okay to take a break
During my junior year, quidditch took up most of my life. If I wasn’t playing quidditch, I was organizing quidditch events, thinking about quidditch or participating in quidditch discussions online. Toward the end of those few months, I became overwhelmed and quidditch stopped being as fun as it used to. I decided to take a break. The summer between my junior and senior year, I tried to minimize my participation in quidditch. That turned out to be a great decision, as I was able to start my presidency energized and enthusiastic about returning to the sport. I took mini-breaks throughout the year to ensure that I would maintain a more balanced lifestyle. Whether it is one day or one week, taking a break from quidditch can help ensure that you don’t get burnt out.