On Sarah Woolsey’s Appointment

Editor’s note: It has, since initial publication, come to my attention that Sarah Woolsey’s nickname “Swoolsey,” though known by many throughout the community, is generally used only by her closest friends, and its usage in the title of this piece may have been construed as mocking or condescending. That was not the intent, and so I have edited it, with my apology. 

By Sarah Goad

The illustrious board of directors at USQ has finally stopped dragging its collective feet and decided on the next executive director for the organization. I don’t think anyone is particularly surprised to know that it’s—*jazz hands*—Sarah Woolsey. No offense intended to Sarah because she seems like a nice lady based on the casual interactions I’ve had with her and the frenzied rageface she displayed at QCup9.

As I assess the state of the league looking forward, neither offense nor praise are really at the forefront of my mind. So many people have already mentioned quidditch being in an important place right now, but I feel as though it’s become an afterthought. It’s the tenth season, people! Shit’s happenin’.

Or it should be, anyway. The selection of Sarah Woolsey as USQ’s “next” executive director feels more like staring back than stepping forward. According to the statement released with her hiring, “more than 250 candidates applied for the position.” Are you telling me that there really wasn’t someone in that relatively expansive pool more qualified/experienced/educated in nonprofit work than Sarah Woolsey, who joined USQ’s staff straight out of undergrad?

I do not want anyone to think I’m disparaging Sarah. It’s important to recognize that Sarah did great things for USQ and quidditch during their respective nascent years. I’m excited as a woman in this sport to see another passionate woman helming what is arguably the most important quidditch organization in the world, but I do not think she is the right person for the job. I am having a very Hillary Clinton moment over this. Political commentary aside, I think the sport has quickly outgrown the organization responsible for its welfare in the United States, and that is troublesome.

Quidditch from three, four, five years ago is very different than quidditch today. USQ as an organization needs to catch up. I think that the organization’s upper management needs to rise to the occasion and be open and receptive to the not-infrequent criticism it is fielding from the league’s community. I do think that hiring from within the community was the right idea; I do not think that hiring someone whose real professional work experience has 1) been limited to USQ since her graduation from undergrad, and 2) been fostered by USQ upper management—the same upper management afraid to look toward the future and explore the 250+ candidate pool that applied for this position with any seemingly serious deliberation—was a wise decision for an upward and outward trajectory.

I think USQ is afraid of change, and that’s more than a little worrisome to me.

I’m not going to spend too long dwelling on this, since there’s both a very productive roundtable article scheduled to be published this afternoon from Alex Scheer, Mitch Hatfield, Ryan Sparks, and guest writer Eric Andres. A further piece on the topic will come later this week from Ryan Smythe. All of this aside, I did feel it was important that I say something myself.

Anyway. We’ll be back to our mostly irregularly scheduled nonsense and puns tomorrow.

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