This column initially contained what was SUPPOSED to be a mic drop about Dan Marovich. It has come to my attention that his omission from the LA/SF games wasn’t just a temporary thing so the article has been edited to reflect that.
By Ryan Smythe
That’s how much notice the LA Guardians were given by Phoenix Sol before they made the “decision” not to travel a single time during the MLQ season.
Guardians Captain Steve DiCarlo was noticeably more level-headed in his response to Phoenix’s last minute drop than I could ever be.
“It’s definitely unfortunate that both of our attempts to play Phoenix didn’t pan out,” he said via Facebook message. “[B]ut we understand their roster struggles and look forward to seeing them perform in League City. We plan on being as productive as possible and continuing to hold a series of games this weekend, so we aren’t going into Championship Weekend with less experience than the other division winners.”
The games they played were against a motley crew of players from all over the country, and may have proven just how good a second LA team could be.
Yes, some of these players are from the Hive, but imagine if West Fantasy wasn’t on the same weekend. | Photo credit: Alex Beaulieu.
The fact that Guardians leadership didn’t drive out with the team to Arizona just to kick Phoenix’s collective ass surprises me. I know how far these SoCal players will drive to play quidditch; California is huge, but we still end up at more USQ tournaments than most other teams. According to USQ’s standings, five of the 16 teams that played the most games during the regular season were from the West: #4 Crimson Elite (40 games played); #8 Silicon Valley Vipers (36 gp); #10 Fighting Farmers of America (35 gp); and, coming in tied for #13, the Lost Boys (33 gp) and the Northern Arizona University Narwhals (33 gp).
What the hell happened, Arizona? You dropped the ball on us. Yes, Rochester and Ottawa dropped out, but that might just be because neither of them can risk a small roster that has no chance against Boston or Austin, let alone LA, Salt Lake, or Indy. Rochester was only one of five teams with a positive quaffle point differential—though if Salt Lake was allowed to play Phoenix, I feel like the team would improve its current -1.1 qpd to a positive number—so that dramatically opens up the field between the 5-8 seeds.
I’m sorry, Ottawa, but you were going to stay in the 13-16 seed range throughout championship weekend, no matter what. Texas is fucking far, school is about to start up, and your team is broken. I understand your desire to drop. You played out the season, saw where your team left you, and showed everyone that it might be a good idea if the MLQ regular season counted.
What if it wasn’t just ranking that determined seeding for the championship weekend? What if ending up as one of the four bottom teams meant you didn’t qualify? Right now, this kind of rule isn’t feasible because a lot of teams wouldn’t know if they made the cut until the last set of games, and flights only get more expensive the longer you wait. MLQ doesn’t pay anyone other than refs—probably? Honestly, Ethan and Dallas may be pocketing chestfuls of gold doubloons for all I know, so buying tickets as soon as you make the roster is more financially reasonable.
All I’m saying is that I’ve never seen either of them in the moonlight.
Before I sign off, I do need to say one thing about the ‘Frisco Argonauts; they have too much talent on their roster to be completely written off before this weekend starts. They’re a prime candidate to ruin a lot of champion hopefuls’ dreams, so don’t be Saltzy if your team is eliminated by this underachieving squad.