Many sports fans likely considered the weekend an exciting one, with the Diamond Hogs ending a series against LSU, hundreds of anglers scoured Beaver Lake for the biggest fish, and golfers busted out the clubs as they swung for a chance at winning the 2013 Master’s tournament.
I wasn’t interested in any of these though, because I was busy watching a much more exciting sports event this weekend. I’m talking of course about the Quidditch World Cup.
Dozens of teams gathered in Kissimmee, Florida this weekend to vie for a chance to bring home the coveted championship.
I won’t go into the details of how the game works. If you’re interested in how a sport originally designed for flying wizards and witches in Harry Potter works in real-life, click this link.
The teams at this year’s world cup, I’m proud to say included local players with The University of Arkansas. The Broom Hogs advanced to the World Cup after earning a bid during the Southwest Cup in February.
The No. 28 seed Hogs went 2-2 on day one of pool play, narrowly making it through to the semifinals. They were first defeated by the Lost Boys Quidditch Team, but eventually came back to dominate Maccauley’s Honors College and Illinois State.
The Hogs advanced in pool play to the sweet 16, but were finally knocked out of the World Cup by N. Arizona, who was then subsequently knocked out by Baylor.
The final four matched up with UCLA, University of Texas – Austin, Baylor, and Bowling Green State University. While UCLA and UT Austin were no surprises, proving to be early tournament favorites, Bowling Green was the underdog, entering the World Cup as a 31 seed.
It was Southwest vs. the West in the finals, as UCLA took on UT Austin.
The final score: 190-80 with Texas catching the snitch for a victory.
Their win brought two firsts to the world cup. Not only did 2013 bring the highest scoring championship game in world cup history, it was also the first time Middlebury College did not compete. Middleburry College was where the International Quidditch Association first began.
Middlebury failed to advance to the World Cup this year for the first time since the sport started (six years ago). This was a shocking turn of events for many quidditch fans, considering the fact that Middlebury had previously won every IQA World Cup ever held.
Conveniently this year’s World Cup was held in Kissimmee, Fl., just minutes away from Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Chugging butterbeers and roaming Hogwarts castle proved to bring teams the celebration any quidditch player deserves. What more could one ask for after a long-day of riding brooms, dodging bludgers, and chasing snitches?
The real winners are the fans though, who come out unphased by the differences from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. That’s because, while these players may not really fly on their brooms, they have just as much fun, because they know something we all tend to forget sometimes; you don’t really have to be a wizard to experience a little magic.
If you missed the World Cup you can still watch the final online here: