Most people hear the word quidditch and immediately imagine flying broomsticks, capes and one particular bespectacled boy. But—in the real world—quidditch looks entirely different.
Major League Quidditch presents the sport in an elegant, highly-consumable form that mirrors other sports’s top leagues. On Aug. 12, the top 12 teams will fly—by plane, not by broomstick—to League City, Texas to compete for the coveted Benepe Cup.
So while you might not see witches, wizards or winged orbs floating mid-air—this is what you can expect to see at the 2017 Major League Quidditch Championship.
1. Heated Competition
It wouldn’t be the major leagues without some major talent; MLQ athletes are selected from hundreds of collegiate and community teams across the nation (and Canada!) and represent the best the sport has to offer.
With 16 teams and almost 500 athletes—all at the top of their game—the season guarantees some serious competition. And since the sport is full-contact and fast-paced, you’re going to want front row seats to watch that competition come to a head.
2. Co-Ed Competitors
Those top athletes we just mentioned? They’re all genders–we’ve got our very own Oliver Woods and Ginny Weasleys on our teams too.
Gender equality is written into our rulebook. With the four-max gender rule, MLQ limits teams to a maximum of four players who identify as the same gender in active play on the field at the same time.
That means you’ll see male, female, gender-neutral and non-binary athletes all competing on the same field—and all garnering the same respect.
3. A Golden Snitch
Also on the field? The golden snitch. And in real-life quidditch, the snitch is a lot easier to spot–but not easier to catch.
In MLQ, the snitch is a ball tucked into a sock and attached to the back of a snitch runner’s shorts. It may sound silly, but the snitch runners are actually just as athletic as the players on the pitch. Dependent on strength and speed, they often come from a wrestling or track background. And they’re really hard to catch. Which is why—unlike in the book series—some games have to end without a snitch grab. If teams are unable to catch the snitch when the clock hits 40 minutes, the team with the most quaffle points wins.
And the snitch wins, too—for being an uncatchable beast.
We don't just call ourselves Major League Quidditch for the snappy acronym; MLQ prides itself on its professionalism.
Not only does the league deliver seasoned athletes, standardized schedules and officials, but we also have in-depth statistics and live or pre-recorded footage of all series. We take this sport very seriously and once you watch a game, you’ll see why.
The MLQ store will have a pop-up shop at Championship where you can buy souvenir shirts, snapbacks, sunglasses and league trading cards—so you definitely won’t go home empty-handed.
Okay, okay. So I know I said you wouldn’t see any witches and wizards in League City but you’ll still be surrounded by magic. When you attend a quidditch tournament, you’re also attending a celebration of community, inclusivity and—yes—Harry Potter.
While the athletes will insist they are only there to compete, most players—and fans—found quidditch through their love of The Boy Who Lived. There’s plenty of opportunity to celebrate the books that birthed the sport and revel in the nostalgia of your childhood.
And psst—you might actually see a cape or two. Fans have been known to come in costume!
7. A New Champion?!?
It might be a given, but something else you’ll see at the 2017 Major League Championship: A champion. But will it be a new champion?
Defending champs the Boston Night Riders will come into the weekend with back-to-back titles and an undefeated record. But their competition is looking tougher than ever, with top teams from all four divisions ready to raise the Benepe Cup in victory.
Will last year’s runner-up–the Austin Outlaws–be able oust the Night Riders? Or maybe the hometown heroes League City Legends? You won’t want to miss any of the hard hits or highlight-worthy moments as teams tear through the bracket all the way towards a historic finals match.