Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Happy Birthday USQ! We Can’t Believe it's Been Five Years

We know it feels like you’re just starting kindergarten, but we thought it’d be fun to take a look back at all the things you’ve accomplished in your short life.

From one league to many

When you first incorporated as the International Quidditch Association your mission was to govern quidditch worldwide, though at the time quidditch barely existed outside the United States. At the first Global Games (the Summer expo) five teams attended showing off their own nascent attempts at starting up. In 2014 eight teams attended the second iteration of the tournament and presently 15 National Governing Bodies are recognized by the IQA. You of course have changed your name and focus to that of US Quidditch allowing this worldwide growth to flourish.

It is thus fitting that on your birthday we are beginning our Onward to Oxford series where we will be profiling all of the teams attending the European Quidditch Cup where teams from 11 countries will be in attendance.

United States Expansion

In October 2009 Middlebury College hosted World Cup III, the last World Cup before your incorporation; 22 teams attended. By 2011 you were welcoming 96 teams to New York City with crowds in excess of 10,000 people for World Cup V. This year approximately 150 teams attended seven regional championships around the country to have a shot at attending USQ World Cup 8. You have 160 registered teams with nearly 4,000 players registered around the globe. We don’t need to tell you this but you’ve grown a lot over the past five years.

In the process you’ve taken the sport around the country. Before your incorporation the place for top-notch quidditch was a town of fewer than 9,000 people fewer than 100 miles from the Canadian border. Now regional championships exist around the country and if you want to be crowned the sports top team you will do so at a World Cup that could be hosted anywhere in the US...on the eastern seaboard (but we know you’re working on that).

You’ve grown from a league where one team has won all the championships to a sport where...two teams...have won all the championships. A sport dominated by one college to a sport dominated by the state of Texas (I mean how many teams from that state have made it to the final four at World Cups).

Big Screen Glory

In the past five years your mainstream recognition has soared. I mean of course there were those seven books and eight movies that mostly featured the name of your sport prominently, but we all know that the sport they showed isn’t what you’re all about. Pitch Perfect showed quidditch in the background during a club fair, and while Vince Vaughn may have called timeout after suffering a brutal facebeat (which rulebook was he using?) to talk about Flashdance, but in the process he brought your sport in front of millions of eyeballs (or at least thousands since it’s unclear if anyone has watched a Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson movie since Wedding Crashers).

Not only has Hollywood taken notice, but so have aspiring filmmakers. Mudbloods recently featured the UCLA team as well as your own struggles with putting together World Cup V. Movies like that show the world is starting to take you seriously.

Not just a sport but a viable nonprofit

In the time since your incorporation you’ve been able to make yourself into a real business, though I hesitate to use that word. You now have five salaried employees and have also found a way to pay numerous people who volunteer as referees. You’ve instituted an individual membership program that makes you similar to many of your peer sports worldwide and have continuously upped the quality of the events you’ve hosted and the services you provide.

Outside of the sport of quidditch you’ve been influential in your larger community. You’ve tirelessly advocated for equality in all forms recognizing that there are far more than two gender identities in the world. You’ve hosted book drives that have resulted in tens-of-thousands of books being donated and money raised for community literacy projects. Perhaps most importantly you’ve helped thousands find a larger community, a group of friends, a place of happiness, and a sense of belonging.

Happy Birthday USQ from the Quidditch Post and the quidditch community.

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