Letter from the Editor: Magic Touch

There are still plenty of Magic moments.

Barry Glenn

Roberto Gonzalez

In early November, smarting from a rare Final Jeopardy miss (!), I changed the  channel to watch an Orlando Magic game, as I’ve done hundreds of  times over the past three decades. On this night the Magic were taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers at home and having a tough time, even though the Cavs were now LeBron-less.

After a few minutes, I turned the game off and retired to the study to scan election eve news on the web. Later, I checked ESPN.com to find that the Magic were behind by 5 points with 24 seconds left. Another loss, I figured—I didn’t bother to turn the game back on. Then, about an hour later, I checked ESPN one more time and saw this final: Orlando 102, Cleveland 100.

It had to be a buzzer-beater. Sure enough, Evan Fournier had drained a long jumper at the horn, and his teammates and the crowd went wild. I missed it—and was left wondering: When will I ever learn?

In 2012, I wrote a column about the Magic entering their 24th season, with the pundits predicting it would be a disaster, largely because Dwight Howard was no longer on the roster. And at 20-62, the Magic did end up at the bottom, with the franchise’s worst record since its inaugural season. I argued then that fans needed to remember to live for the moment, just as they did when that first-year team treated us to some exhilarating victories over Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and Magic Johnson’s Los Angeles Lakers, even though we won only 18 games.

Today, we find ourselves in the midst of another of those seemingly endless rebuilding seasons. But here's the thing about the Magic: They are unpredictable. And that will make for some stirring moments, just like 30 seasons ago. Aaron Gordon and rookie Mo Bamba are exciting players to watch, Amway Center is still a beautiful venue to visit, and attending a game remains great entertainment.

I should have known better than to turn off that Cavs game. Moreover, I wish I had been at the game in person. I'm hoping the next time our team pulls off a victory like that, I will be.

So, Happy 30th Season to the Magic. In this issue, Peter Kerasotis, who has written about them since the beginning, recalls the highlights and lowlights, from that first team to the days of Shaq, Penny, 3-D, T-Mac, Dwight Howard and others.

This is also our Finest Doctors issue, with more than 600 of the area's best physicians listed in dozens of specialties. You’ll also read some moving accounts from 10 of the doctors as they recall memorable moments in their careers.

Elsewhere, Roger Moore explores the phenomenon of Phantasmagoria, the macabre troupe headed by local theater legend John DiDonna. And Laura Anders Lee explains why the tradition of taking a Christmas card photo is worth every excruciating minute.

Finally, it’s time once again to vote for your favorites in our annual Dining Awards poll. Just go to orlandomagazine.com and fill out the ballot. The categories number in the dozens, ranging from Mexican to Thai, ribs to most romantic, breakfast to burgers—plus the Big 3: Best Restaurant, Best New Restaurant and Best Chef. February 1 is the deadline to make your choices; just for voting, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a dinner for two at a top Orlando-area restaurant.



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