By Alex Stewart
As with any other college or university sport, quidditch athletes are concerned about the drop off that can occur during the summer months where regular practices do not occur. Traditional options for playing over the summer have included Major League Quidditch (MLQ), as well as fantasy tournaments all across the country and local practices in some cities; however, there are drawbacks for each of these. This summer the Texas Secede League (TSL) will provide players with a new option to compete for their city against other cities within Texas.
The Texas Secede League is run by Beth Clementi-Peavler to provide quidditch players from all across Texas with a way to continue playing throughout the summer, while avoiding the expenses that come with leagues such as MLQ. It is only $20 to participate in the league and the season includes four tournaments. Players in the Southwest especially are interested to see how this league’s first official season will pan out. Similar to MLQ, the teams are formed based on where you live. However, there are no tryouts to limit the number of participating players and there are really no distance restrictions. Anyone is allowed to sign up with whichever team they choose, though it is recommended to play with a local team.
Presently, there are teams from Austin, College Station, Dallas, Houston, and San Marcos. As of now, four of the five teams have surpassed 26–players minimum required to have the opportunity to split into two teams, a decision that will be left up to captains of each individual team.
Each of the four tournaments will take place in a different city in Texas, giving different teams the home field advantage. The season will start on May 27 in Austin. The second round will be held in San Marcos on June 24, and the third in Houston on July 15. The championship will take place in Dallas on August 5. The first three tournaments will be set up round robin style, with each team playing three to four games a tournament. The results of those tournaments will determine the bracket seeding for the championship tournament at the end of the summer.
Clementi-Peavler described her vision as creating something between the competitive MLQ season and the informal nature of fantasy tournaments.
“[My goal is] to facilitate a more casual, relaxed league without the regulation and formalities,” she said. “Teams are free to be as serious as they want to be or be more of a ‘drinking league’. With TSL, teams have the freedom to elect their own leadership, set their own costs or ideas as far as uniforms or names. I’m trying to let this league be whatever the people want it to be through polls, individual feedback, [and] forums.”
She also mentioned the benefits of playing with a set team for several tournaments – a team that is different from the team you play with during the regular season.
“Having a stable group of people to practice with is great for individual development as well,” she said. “Interacting with people from different teams consistently opens up to new drills, new strategy, new challenges. Especially at beater, you get comfortable playing against your university teammates all the time. I know for me, scrimmaging with [Texas State University – San Marcos], when a chaser or beater set comes down on offense, I know how they run, how they throw, how good they are at blocking, how they will attack. Mixing it up against Texas Tech Quidditch, SHSU Quidditch, and Lone Star Quidditch Club players over the summer got me practice against different styles.”
This sort of collaboration between players from different teams is likely to have some very big payouts for the region in general. Exposure to new strategies gives players more options when facing teams whose playing style differs from their own.
Clementi-Peavler’s goals for the Texas Secede League also reach far beyond the hard boundaries of the quidditch pitch, with hopes of hosting post–tournament socials to encourage community growth. Her experience running tournaments and general knowledge of the sport, paired with the flexibility that comes with operating outside some of the larger quidditch and university bureaucracies, the Texas Secede League is likely to see a lot of success in its first season.