2011 State of the League Address

Players, fans, & supporters of USQ,

thank you for watching and listening. I am speaking to you from Buffalo, New York, home to the first Ives Pond Invitational at the Buffalo Winter Festival, and I am here with four local teams. Ives Pond, RIT, SUNY Geneseo, and City Honors High School. With 2010 behind us and 2011 off to a great start, it’s a good time to look at how far we’ve come, and how far we have yet to go.

Last march, just five years after Muggle Quidditch came into being, USQ incorporated as a non-profit organization. I appointed nine members to the board of directors, based upon their outstanding records as founders of successful teams, their widely spread geographic locations, and what level their World of Warcraft character was. The board met in person for the first time in May and hosted an exhibition match in New York City that was covered by many major press outlets including NPR and the Huffington Post. The Daily Prophet nearly came but they were busy covering the oil spill, which, in case you haven’t heard, WAS caused by dark magic.

In the fall of 2010 the new website, internationalquidditch.org was launched, to great critical acclaim, including Steve Jobs, who after viewing, reportedly tweeted, “just saw the new IQA site. Accio my face, because I think it just melted on to the floor.”

Regional tournaments and interscholastic competitions took place throughout the fall, and on November 13th and 14th, 46 teams from around the country, including three high school teams and one adult club team, competed in the World Cup at Dewitt Clinton Park in New York City. The event drew over 750 athletes and more than 10,000 spectators, not to mention over 40 national and international media outlets, ranging from Time Magazine to a very lost and confused writer from Jedi Styles. Forty thousand people visited USQ website that weekend and over 20,000 watched the live webcast. USQ raised $5,000 to cover tournaments in 2011, as well as an additional $5,000 for Book Aid International, a partnering organization that donates half a million books to libraries throughout Africa each year.

Now, if you’ll just twist the dial on your time-turner a few times, we’re going to look ahead to the future.

USQ is starting off 2011 by revamping its website. Over the next few months we’ll be rolling out new features, starting with improved international forums, a comprehensive events schedule that teams may contribute to, and an interactive world map of our official member teams along with regional hubs and pages for each official member team. A new standings section will track the scores of games all over the world throughout each season, and our editorial staff and new video production team will keep you informed with weekly news updates and monthly video reports.

Thanks to press attention from the World Cup, USQ now has a roster of over 100 volunteer staff. IQA directors are placing those volunteers in various divisions, and we look forward to working with them to improve league organization and efficiency. One challenge we face in this department is deciding what to do with an application from a misunderstanding Mafia hit man who wants to help us with our “snitch problem.”

Throughout 2011, USQ will be organizing six big regional tournaments throughout the US and Canada. All official members can apply to receive funding and organizational support in return for hosting or transforming their local tournament into an official tournament of USQ. The board of directors will be screening applications and placing the best applications up for a vote open to official members.

Planning for the 2011 World Cup is already underway. In response to multiple suggestions for alternative locations, we are opening the 2011 event to bids from anyone: official members, captains, players, fans or otherwise. Applications are available on our website and due by February 15th. As with regional tournaments, the board will screen applications, and final voting will be open to official members. Additionally, each team whose bid reaches the final vote will receive a free session with legendary trainer Patches O’Houlihan, writer of the acclaimed book IfYou Can Dodge A Wrench, You Can Dodge A Bludger.

The official membership program is starting to amp up, with over 50 teams signed up, and by the end of February, official members will have unique team pages on USQ website for photos, rosters, schedules, videos - you name it. Official members will also get special voting abilities, funding application opportunities, and be able to post upcoming games and local tournaments as news stories on our website and receive support through social media and traditional public relations assistance from USQ. Official teams will also be able to promote IQA t-shirt sales and receive portions of the proceeds to help raise additional money for their team, and will continue to have cutting edge access to the best funding and developments options for any quidditch team as they become available.

On the topic of fundraising, USQ has partnered with a sports fundraising group to launch and conduct fundraising campaigns for no upfront cost to our teams. Our partners have worked with thousands of teams and raise an average of $4,000 per team, which will help more IQA teams acquire equipment, travel for competitions, and attend World Cup. Interested team captains can find more information about that on our website.

USQ has also learned that quidditch motivates youth and young adults to participate in team sports who might not otherwise. With that in mind, we will be launching an “Adopt a Quidditch Team” program, in which we aim to equip fifty schools with all the equipment they need to start and a mentor team to train and work with students, to ensure the long term success of quidditch as a team or PE class at any school, and we can do this for just a few hundred dollars per team. Anyone out there watching or listening can donate now to support this program and several others.

Additionally, National Women in sports day is coming up, and USQ is using the event to launch its own gender equality program, Title 9 3/4. We are starting things off by asking our teams to submit videos about what gender equality means to them, in quidditch, sports, and life, in order to help promote the program and set co-ed sports participation in quidditch as a new standard for all sports.

With all of these exciting projects on the horizon and more teams than ever, 2011 promises to be an exciting year. I encourage all of you who are official members to be as engaged with our league as possible and make use of the resources we provide, and those of you are not, I urge you to support the future of quidditch by joining and contributing to our league. And of course, I hope to see all of you on the pitch at the World Cup this fall.

Thank you for bearing with me through this address, and in order to prevent the audience from turning into a new glacier formation, I will let us get back to playing quidditch and leave you with these words:

"Mischief, managed."