Friday, August 10, 2012

Quidditch World Cup Comes to Kissimmee!

Let's get this out of the way first, for those of you who read that headline and have no earthly idea what it could possibly mean. Quidditch is a fictional game from the world of Harry Potter. The sport is played on broomsticks and features elements of cricket, rugby, and soccer -- football to the Brits (and anglophiles). The game was adapted for Muggle (that's non-magical folk) play in 2005 by students at Middlebury College in Vermont. Now, more than 300 colleges and high schools have teams, all of which answer to the International Quidditch Association. And despite its fictional ties, make no mistake -- this is a real game, played by real athlete. Even Time magazine thinks so:
Quidditch is a sport striving for legitimacy. It has a rule book, a governing body (the International Quidditch Association, a nonprofit) and its own live streaming webcasts. Its players move with the grace and ferocity of top athletes; the best of them look like lacrosse players and hit like linebackers.
And in 2013,  it's coming to Kissimmee. Along with two thousand athletes across 100 teams, all competing for one World Cup. 

Along with the game, IQA brings their non-profit (it's a 501(3)(c) recognized organization) mission: to empower youth and to give back to all communities where the sport is played. They also strongly support the notion of gender equality in sports with Title 9 ¾, which seeks to combine the real-life Title IX (a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions) and the famous fictional train platform in the Harry Potter book series. The hope is that Title 9 ¾ can leverage growing interest and participation in real-life Quidditch to challenge the way our world thinks about gender in sports and athletics" and "inspire other sports leagues and athletes to reconsider their gender regulations and in turn affect broader positive change in gender equality worldwide."

I think Professor McGonagall would be proud. 

PS It's important to know that the IQA has no ties to Rowling or Warner Brothers (who own the rights to Harry Potter and his world). But given Kissimmee's proximity to Universal Studio's "Wizarding World of Harry Potter," it's a safe bet more than just quaffles will attract people to this event. 


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