Hey, Staffer, Whatcha Geekin’ Out About: An Interview with Marina Martinez

For our July Hey Staffer post, we’re talking to Marina Martinez, about anime, what it’s like to play quidditch in real life and what those things have in common!

Who are you and what do you do at GeekGirlCon?

I am the Marina Martinez and I am the Panel Program Manager with GeekGirlCon!

What do you do for your day job/when you’re not being awesome as a GGC staffer?

In my everyday life I am a Project Manager at Artech, which is a fine art services company. We pack, transport, install, and provide collection management services to institutions and individuals throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Have you always considered yourself a geek?

I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy books out loud with my mother and watching Sailor Moon after school. Since then my geekiness has only intensified, but now it’s considered to be cool! So yes, I’ve always been an unapologetic geek.

What sort of geeky things do you like to do in your spare time?

I’ve been playing quidditch for the past six years and currently play for the Emerald City Admirals. I spend my Sunday afternoons throwing balls at people and taking hits. I also read a TON of fanfiction and watch probably too much television.

What!?!?! Tell me more about playing quidditch! What’s it like doing that in real life?

It’s a lot of fun! The sport is gender inclusive and full contact and combines elements from rugby, dodgeball, and flag football. It can look (and feel) a little ridiculous at first but once you play it you quickly get caught up in the magic.

Marina (in blue and white) during a quidditch match.

How did you get into quidditch? Were you into Harry Potter before starting?

I’ve always been a huge Harry Potter fan. In college I transferred schools two years in and didn’t know anyone at my new university. During orientation I saw Muggle Quidditch (as it was known then) on the clubs list and decided I wanted to join. On my first day of classes I met someone who was on the team and decided that it was fate!

Can you explain how the game works?

There are seven players on the field at a time: three chasers, two beaters, one keeper, and one seeker. Chasers score points by throwing the quaffle anny of the three hoops on the opposite side of the field. Keepers act as goalies, preventing goals from being scored and beaters act as both defense and offense, clearing a path for their chasers to score or defending the hoops from opposing chasers.

After eighteen minutes seekers go on the field in pursuit of the snitch; the snitch is a neutral official who wears a pair of yellow shorts with a weighted ball attached to the end, like a flag in flag football. Seekers are responsible for evading the snitch and catching the weighted ball. Catching the snitch ends the game and gives the winning team 30 points.

(Still confused? Here’s a video:)

Gameplay sounds intense. How often do you practice, and have you received any serious injuries?

Gameplay is really intense! The community team I’m on now practices once a week (in Cal Anderson park) but in college my team practiced three times a week. I’ve received three major injuries playing: I flipped the meniscus in my left knee in 2014, tore a ligament in my left hand in 2015, for which I had to have surgery and tore my labrum in my left shoulder this past year.

What are you currently geeking out about? (i.e. what geeky thing are you watching/reading/playing/doing?)

Currently I’m getting back into anime and am obsessed with the anime/manga Haikyuu!! Now that I’ve caught up on the anime and manga I am obsessively waiting for the new chapters, which drop every couple of weeks.

Why is Haikyu!! awesome?

Haikyuu!! is awesome because it’s about the friendship and camaraderie that develops when you play a sport and devote yourself to it wholeheartedly. The manga is especially interesting because it captures the dynamic movements of the sport and makes it really fast paced. Additionally, I love the “found family” genre and I find that I have had a lot of the same experiences in my athletic career.

Could you elaborate more on the parallels between Haikyuu!! and your own sporting experiences?

Seeing the emphasis on teamwork and cooperation make me so happy. The best feeling in a game is knowing that your teammates will be where they need to be to get the job done. I also love seeing all of the hard work that goes into improving as an athlete. It take a lot of time, energy, and effort into improving. I only wish that I had started my athletic career earlier!

Who do you think would be interested in Haikyuu!!?

I think that people who love good stories, fast paced action, and great character development would enjoy Haikyuu!! If you loved Yuri on Ice, give Haikyuu!! a chance.

What other things are you interested in/do you do in your spare time?

I love running at Greenlake, doing vegan baking experiments, and reading YA novels.

How did you get involved with GeekGirlCon?

A friend’s sibling recommended GeekGirlCon to me after a colleague asked her to be on a panel. I was feeling stuck in my previous job and was looking for something to do that would be fun and help me gain management experience.

What’s your favorite thing about being part of GeekGirlCon?

Getting to create an enjoyable experience for fellow fans is definitely one of the best things. Being able to build an inclusive space for people and then hearing about what makes them happy makes all of the hard work worth it!

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JC Lau
“Rock On!”

JC Lau

Previously disguised as a college professor and family lawyer, JC Lau is an Australian video game journalist and writer living in Seattle.

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