Live for the Moment



NORMA LOPEZ MOLINA

They are predicting the worst.

The Orlando Magic will be awful, the sportswriters say. Perhaps the starkest assessment is at NBA.com, where only one of the league’s 30 teams—the Magic—gets an overall grade of F.

And the prognosticators may be right. But consider this: When the season tips off, it really doesn’t matter anymore what Otis Smith or Rob Hennigan or Alex Martins did or didn’t do, whether we might have received more in return for Dwight Howard, whether we should have kept coach Stan Van Gundy.

For better or worse, the Magic are rebuilding from the ground up, and this is the team we have. So rather than grumble about what might have been, the faithful must live for the moment and take the victories—especially the upsets—as they come.

We must make a commitment, hard as it may be, to “revel in the mediocrity.’’

That’s not a slogan the front office would push, but it’s exactly what Magic fans did during the team’s inaugural season 23 years ago, when the roster was a collection of castoffs and rookies. I should know: I split season tickets that year with three friends. We had a mini-lottery, and I happened to get the tickets to the Magic’s match-up with the Chicago Bulls and you–know–who on Dec. 20, 1989.

Everyone figured it would be a blowout, but it was a chance to see Michael Jordan work his wizardry. And what if our ragtag team could somehow pull off an upset? The Magic didn’t stop Jordan—he scored 52 points—but they stayed with the Bulls. And with 2.5 seconds left, a journeyman forward named Otis Smith—yes, that Otis Smith-drove to the basket and gave the Magic a one-point win that remains the single most exciting sports moment I’ve ever witnessed in person.

The Magic would go on to have just an 18-64 record that first year. Even though they also upset Magic Johnson’s Lakers—and the Bulls once again on Valentine’s Day—the team closed the season with a dreadful 3-31 mark.

It’s funny; I don’t remember that particular streak. But I’ll never forget that one game. Of course, since then, we’ve had incredible highs with Shaq and Dwight (and somewhat with Tracy McGrady). But this season, the Magic and their fans have been forced to hit the reset button. Just like 1989, the team is beset by low expectations. Yet there are some big opportunities in the next six months—four games against the Miami Heat and, of course, the home showdown with Dwight’s Lakers on March 12.

So cheer up. If we can accept that living in the moment is a good thing, then the supposed mediocrity that awaits us just might be able to work its magic.

BARRY GLENN

BARRY.GLENN@orlandomagazine.com

Edit Module
Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2017

Our annual list featuring 224 of the area's finest dental professionals.

Guide to Private Schools 2017

Our searchable annual database will help you chart an educational course for your family.

2016 Premier Doctors

Our annual list of over 500 doctors.

Best Doctors 2016

The Annual List of the Best Doctors in Orlando.

Top Doctors 2016

The Annual List of the Top Doctors in Orlando.

Vacation Planner

Your next getaway is only a click away. Search our database for a great vacation experience.

2016 Premier Veterinarians

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

3 Reasons Not to Miss the Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon and 5K

This springtime race leads runners 13.1 miles through one of the nation’s most beautiful cities.

9 Central Florida Eco Tours

Central Florida shines with unparalleled nature-based adventures.

Houseplants for a Cleaner Home

These ten plants create a greener, cleaner home.

Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz Premieres Pietà

Presented by the Cornell Fine Arts Museum on March 21st, Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz will create the durational performance "Pietà" from 6–7:30 p.m. in the Knowles Chapel at Rollins College.

Weekend Happenings Mar 17 to 19

Know what's happening in and around Orlando for the weekend.
Edit Module