By Cory Apple
There are many well-known professional sports with three letter acronyms, but this year a new set of three letters entered the sporting world: MLQ. This summer, quidditch was transformed from a set of rules and ideas to an organized, high-level league. There were eight teams in MLQ’s opening season, but next summer the league will be expanding to include a West Division and a South Division, making it truly national.
Compared to the expensive burden of travel inflicted on teams during the USQ season, the long distances that MLQ teams had to cover for their Saturday series’ went smoothly. For most teams, the series arrangement was balanced, but for some teams the scheduling was a bit rough. The Indianapolis Intensity completed all three of its series in the first three weeks of the season, leaving it the rest of the season to practice and prepare for the Championship. The Rochester Whiteout’s games were almost back-to-back, with the exception of the Fourth of July weekend break. Whether or not those longer breaks helped or hurt teams is difficult to tell, but with an already short season and with more teams coming to MLQ next summer, scheduling may become a larger challenge.
The officiating was, for the most part, not up to the standards that many were hoping for. Since MLQ was in its first year, it is understandable that there would be issues finding trained, experienced referees to officiate games. That being said, the professionalism of everyone involved was essential to the transformation of quidditch into a “major league” sport, so rumors of inexperienced referees making questionable calls at games that were too important to be their training wheels were disappointing.
The addition of four teams from the West and four teams from the South, specifically in California and Texas, will give many players the opportunity to be involved next season. Some players traveled a long way to participate in MLQ, but many more couldn’t uproot themselves for the summer months. With twice the number of teams and players next season, there will be more competition and talent joining the ranks of MLQ.
Overall, MLQ’s first year was a success, with Ethan Sturm and Amanda Dallas giving the quidditch community something new to strive for. Some teams triumphed over others, but with the addition of the new divisions, the New York Titans and the Boston Night Riders will have some stiff competition, especially from the South. With advanced training and better compensation for referees, MLQ could have a much stronger officiating team for next year. In addition, if the league starts to get sponsorships, and thus more money, Major League Quidditch could be taken to the next level...And that is the core of this apple.