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

Premier Realtors

Check out our 2016 searchable database of Orlando's premier realtors.

Orlando's Best Lawyers 2016

Our annual list includes hundreds of Orlando-area attorneys in dozens of areas of practice.

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2016

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

Guide to Private Schools 2016

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

2015 Premier Doctors

Our annual inventory of Central Florida’s Finest Doctors with details on hundreds of physicians in dozens of specialties.

Orlando's Top Chiropractors of 2015

Check out our searchable 2015 list of some of the best chiropractors in the Orlando area.

Premier Veterinarians 2015

Check out our searchable 2015 list of some of the best vets in the Orlando area.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Weekend Happenings in Orlando July 29 to 31

Find the best events in and around Orlando for the weekend.

Dream Performances

A multitude of Broadway and Orlando performers gather for back-to-back shows to benefit LGBT groups—and lift a city’s spirit.

Exploring Disney Springs

Downtown Disney has officially transformed into Disney Springs, a world-class dining, entertainment and shopping district.

Weekend Happenings in Orlando July 22 to 24

Find the best events in and around Orlando for the weekend.

Sharks Circling in at SeaWorld This Summer

SeaWorld's brand-new Shark Reef Realm features new exhibits and Orlando's most thrilling coaster yet.
Edit Module