“Quidditch creates a sense of community that I think is hard to find in other areas of life.”

— International Quidditch Association COO Alicia Radford (quoted on Flapship)

For a guy who’s yet to make it past the fifth Harry Potter book, I’ve had a lot more Quidditch in my life this year than I ever would have expected.

First, there was the Lone Star Cup, an intercollegiate Quidditch tournament — 10 Texas teams and two from Louisiana — that my boys and I took their grandparents to when the latter visited Austin in April. It was easily the most fun I’d ever had watching other people play a sport. (And make no mistake: It’s a real sport, and a bruising one at that. Here, a bloody nose; there, an ice pack on a thigh.) A big part of what made it so fun was knowing the ingenuity that went into turning a fictional sport for wizards into a real one for Muggles.

Just last week, I got to see that ingenuity up close when I served as assistant Quidditch coach at a Hogwarts-themed summer camp. My job largely consisted of playing keep-away with the yellow rubber balls serving as the Snitches, with varying degrees of success. (This one kid was basically the Josh Hamilton of Snitch-catching.) I must have looked like I was having fun, though, because by the end of the last day, roughly half the players not only wanted to try to catch the Snitch but were angling for my job as Snitch-tosser.

During the months between those the tournament and the camp, I often thought of how much fun it would have been to have had Quidditch as a recreational option when I was in college. More to the point, I often thought of how much fun it would have been to spend time with other Quidditch players in college. By the nature of the game, you know those kids are literary-minded, physically fit, and able to laugh at themselves.

More than anything, though, it was the players’ camaraderie that stood out. They were clearly glad to be there, and happy to be with each other. I’ve enjoyed that feeling myself, generally with other writers. There’s nothing like finding one’s tribe, and I’m delighted to know that this particular type of tribe now exists.

Maybe it’s right for someone you know. Maybe it’s right for you.

As for me, I’m already looking forward to next year’s Lone Star Cup and next year’s Hogwarts camp. In the meantime, I think I’ll finally get started on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.