Those are familiar words to any Harry Potter fan, and a large number of broomsticks will indeed soon be coming to Texas. U.S. Quidditch recently announced that the U.S. Quidditch Cup 11 will be held in Round Rock, Texas next year. This marks the first time the tournament has been held in the Lone Star State, and the farthest west the tournament has been played thus far.
From April 14-15, 2018, both community and collegiate teams that have proven themselves in regional championships will descend on the Round Rock Multipurpose Complex outside of Austin to battle for the national title. With four previous national championships won by Texas teams, the stakes are as high as the magical hoops in the original game. Texas Quidditch of UT Austin won three years from 2013-2015, and Texas Cavalry, a community team in Austin, clinched the 2016 title.
Quidditch, of course, is based on the magical game played on flying broomsticks made famous in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. The Muggle version, unfortunately, involves no actual flying (sorry). Instead, players on the field clutch pieces of PVC pipe between their legs as broomstick stand-ins while they try to score by throwing balls through their opponent's hoops. Though many people join community teams for fun, the sport can also be fiercely competitive and is quite physical.
Since being founded in 2005, quidditch has grown dramatically — more than 4,000 athletes now compete around the nation. And in true Texas-sized style, the state was home to the most teams of any single state in the 2016-17 season, the Austin American-Statesman reports. Looking for a home team to root for? The Denton-based North Texas Firebolts of UNT are the closest team to Dallas.
Round Rock won the honor of hosting next year’s cup from a bid that was evaluated based on location, facility quality, financial support, and community support, according to U.S. Quidditch. Another Texas city, Lubbock, was also a finalist, but the Austin suburb won out.
For the first time, regional and national championships will be divided by community and collegiate teams. Last year, 60 teams competed in the Quidditch Cup. Full details on this year's competition will be posted on the U.S. Quidditch site this fall.
Denton’s Firebolts were ranked 126th out of roughly 200 teams in the 2016-17 season, so a national championship might seem far-fetched for the home team. But with some home state motivation (and a little Harry Potter-style magic?), who knows what might happen at Round Rock next year.