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Orlando Magic Fans Must Learn the Ropes

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 24:  A general view of the Amway Arena seen during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the the Amway Arena on May 24, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Jessica DAnalyst IMay 25, 2009

Look, I understand that Orlando is a city sans a sports culture.

Besides the Magic, the area's only major sports teams I have ever been able to enjoy watching are the AFL's Orlando Predators (which I never really enjoyed anyway), the Orlando Solar Bears (formely of the AHL), the University of Central Florida Knights teams, and the Orlando Rays (now the Montgomery Biscuits, a Tampa Bay Rays' Double-A affiliate).

The Solar Bears and Rays disappeared after the teams were unable to anchor themselves safely in central Florida, the Arena Football League seems as if it doesn't even exist in the first place, and UCF is still building its Conference USA football team.

As a consequence, Orlando residents, most notably the ones that have been here all their lives, do not know how to be sports fans.

I'm not saying that to be mean. I'm sure there are a few who have been transplanted from other cities, like my hometown of Buffalo, but those fans don't usually invest themselves in Orlando teams when they already have a storied team from their hometown.

Orlando natives have been discouraged from becoming good sports fans as their teams have skipped town, and the Magic are just now electrifying the city again after over 10 years of mishaps.

As I watched Game Three of the Magic-Cavaliers series last night, I was impressed at the beginning of the game with the sound of the fans and their thunder sticks on television. However, as the game went on, Magic faithful either got tired or really nervous.

I tried to make excuses for these fans, but my fiancé pointed out just how loud the Cavaliers fans were in Games One and Two in Cleveland. The Cavs have never won an NBA championship either, just like the Magic.

So what makes our fans and Cleveland fans different?

Bingo! Cavaliers fans have other teams to practice with in their hometown—the Browns and the Indians.

We here in Orlando only have the blue and white and our college team. We're just not experienced sports fans here.

Luckily, I have been taught the ropes of being a good fan from my father and fellow Buffalonians.

We cheer hard. We cheer loud. We get obnoxious, perhaps drunk and obnoxious. We cry and get stomachaches. We lie in bed the day after a loss.

That's the way it is.

I'd like to take this time to speak to Orlando sports fans, and more specifically, Magic fans directly: I know you are a bit confused, but you have to keep the intensity going throughout the game.

Don't get nervous and sit there biting your nails—our team needs your support. Even if that means not having a voice the next day, or having a hangover, or having a little bit of blue paint left on your face the next day when you're at work.

It's a shameless declaration you make as a sports fan, that no matter how weird, crazy, or intense your antics are, it's OK. Sports are a phenomenon that can't be treated like other everyday occurrences.

Give it your all, and you'll help Dwight Howard and his squad give it their all. Give us a chance to be a legitimate sports town. Let's put up a little more decoration around the city of Orlando and act like we're in the Eastern Conference Finals.

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