Tuesday, October 21, 2014

An Open (But Positive) Letter to the Quidditch Community

By Brad Armentor via Fly Like Quidditch

Some of you may know me, some of you may not. If you’ve spent any significant amount of time on the internet quidditch community, then you’ve likely come across me at some point. I comment on everything. I was once a very vocal opponent of the IQA/USQ and just a very outspoken person as a whole. I’ve calmed down a lot, a result of finally maturing and also no longer playing.

For those that don’t know me, my name is Brad Armentor and I’m a former chaser for LSU. I played on the team for five years and captained for 3. I’m writing this letter because I want people to know that despite all of the negativity that has been around the sport for some time, it isn’t all bad. Being a part of the community has changed me for the better and opened up so many opportunities for me.

Firstly, playing quidditch allowed me to travel all across the country, and even across the pond to the UK. Before college, I was just a boy from backwoods Louisiana who hadn’t been anywhere more exotic than Washington, D.C. In my very first tournament I ever attended (which happened to be World Cup III) I traveled to Middlebury, Vermont. Since then I’ve been everywhere from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City to New York to London and places in between. Never had I imagined that I’d have the opportunity to travel all of those places during college.

And with travelling to all of those places, I have made a multitude of friends and acquaintances in every corner of the world. I met my best friend because I was offended by a video she was in that made fun of southerners with a horrible accent. (It actually was funny, but I was a bit vitrolic back then). In a roundabout way, I met the girl that I am in love with through quidditch. We first “met” when a friend of hers did a feature on our team for a class.

Throughout these last 5 years, I was also able to keep my competitive spirit alive and well through the sport. Growing up and throughout high school, I was a four sport athlete. When I started at LSU, I thought I’d be resigned to intramural sports at best. But quidditch found me, and I was able to thrive in it. For once in my life, I wasn’t just an average player on an average team. I was a good player on a great team. I was even given the honor of being chosen for the first Team USA. I partially got back into the best shape of my life because of the game. During the 11-12 and 12-13 season, I ballooned up to 230 lbs. But towards the end of the 12-13 season, I wanted to improve my body and become a better player again. I had rested on my laurels and gotten complacent with my abilities while everyone else around me got better and better. I was once again the middle of the pack player. And so I got back in the weight room and haven’t stopped since.

Playing quidditch got me through one of the most difficult times of my life. In the spring of 2012, my younger step-brother was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer. And for two years, he fought it. He went into remission twice. All throughout that time, quidditch kept me sane. It gave me an outlet to channel my frustrations. He never got to see me play, and even though he was a little turd and made fun of me for playing, I’m sure he would have enjoyed just to watch. When he passed in January, I almost quit for my last semester. I almost made the decision to take an entire semester off of school. But I decided I couldn’t do that. And just like my family, friends, and significant other were there for me, so was the game.

I just wanted to share that, because I felt like everything going on lately has been in a relatively negative light, and people are angry and frustrated with how some things are going. Rightfully so, I say. But I just want everyone to not lose sight of what this game, and any sport that you love, can do for you if you realize.

No comments:

Post a Comment