Op-Ed: After All This Time – A Skrewts Farewell From an Outsider

By Carlos Flores

Editor’s note: We don’t have a preview of Skrewts Memorial, but we do have a look back at the old Bay Area team from Carlos. Honestly, this is better than guessing about a bunch of west coast teams playing in a tournament early in the season. We’ll have a recap recording after that also won’t be better than this heartfelt letter to a team that meant so much to the region for so long.

My quidditch story started off like I imagine many others did. I started reading the books after a recommendation from my mom when I was about 10 years old. I quickly fell in love, diving deep into the books, the movies, and video games, and found myself hypnotized by the magical game of quidditch within its pages. I would reread the chapters in the books where matches would be played, rewatch scenes from the movies on repeat, and play the games nonstop.

Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup is still a great game. They should port it to the Switch.

A few years passed, and one day I was scouring the internet as nerdy teenagers often do. I stumbled across a website for a team based only about 30 minutes from where I lived. They wore custom-made t-shirts with nicknames and either jersey numbers or weird-ass shapes on the back, bearing a name on the front: Silicon Valley Skrewts. These probably Google-employed young adults were riding around on broomsticks – literal broomsticks – throwing dodgeballs and volleyballs, and playing a sport bearing the name of something that used to be just a fantasy: quidditch. I was captivated, and wanted to jump in as soon as possible, but found myself feeling too shy and apprehensive to reach out and see how I could get involved, as much as I desperately wanted to.

So I waited.

A couple more years passed, but I never forgot about my newfound desire to jump into the childhood fantasy that quidditch created. I found the USQ website and quietly kept my finger on the pulse of Northern California quidditch, keeping track of who the other local teams were, which schools had teams, and most importantly how the Skrewts were faring. In those early years of established quidditch in the Bay, the Skrewts were the ones leading the charge. Before MLQ, before an actual World Cup, before the abandonment of actual brooms – which were heavy as fuck in retrospect – before teams even needed to qualify for Nationals, the Skrewts were there.

Soon, it came time for college, and even then quidditch played a factor in my decision on where to go (don’t tell my parents). Whenever I picked a place to apply, I scoured the internet for any semblance of a quidditch team on their campus, hoping to finally get my chance to jump into the world that the Skrewts showed me. Eventually, my time came, and I found myself playing on a beautifully ragtag team at University of the Pacific, at least playing the game and living the dream that had started so long ago. I started to dive deeper and deeper into the quidditch community, and some of the most prominent members of the Northern California community still were members of the Skrewts.

Former members, present members, and future members all played a hand in welcoming my Pacific teammates and I into the beautiful community quidditch had created. People like Sam Fischgrund, Ra Hopkins, and Liz Barcelos were always there, trying to help us get off of the ground, no pun intended. The Skrewts’ members worked tirelessly for the betterment of NorCal quidditch, before and after they were part of the Skrewts. Over the years, I played against them, merced for them, even traveled with them and fell victim to their infamous travel curse. I had the distinct pleasure of calling many of them my friends, some of the first friends I made in this community.

The Silicon Valley Skrewts circa fall 2011. Photo credit: Silicon Valley Skrewts Quidditch

The Skrewts have done so much for the sport of quidditch, especially in the West. I never imagined there would be a day when they would be gone, but the effect that the Silicon Valley Skrewts have had on our community should never be forgotten, even to someone that’s watched you from afar for so long.

Thank you so much for everything, my friends. I’ll see you at the crossroads.

– Carlos

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