Cohen: Magic Motivation at Lake Brantley High School

By Josh Cohen
October 28, 2011

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS -- The resonance of a melodious marching band, the spirit from a set of enchanted cheerleaders, the thunderous roar from a sizeable student body and the unveiling of athletes ready for battle against their archrivals.

This description can only denote one thing: High School Pep Rally!

Unlike the majority of pep rallies spread across America, Friday’s assembly at Lake Brantley High School was both action-packed and star-studded.

Not just because the Patriots were hours away from colliding with their familiar foes, the Rams of Lake Mary High School, on the football field in the annual Mayor’s Cup but also because the school in Altamonte Springs got pumped up with the help from some exclusive nearby guests.

As part of the organization’s initiative to be committed to the Central Florida community, Orlando Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy, former NBA stars and current community ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw, Director of Player Development Adonal Foyle, Magic Dancers and the team’s mascot, STUFF, participated in the event to help boost the school’s spirit prior to their gridiron clash.

Aside from the chants and cheers, moreover, Van Gundy spent some time before the rally in the high school gymnasium guiding a certain compilation of youth by sending meaningful and, in many ways, essential messages out.

“It’s about giving positive messages about possibilities and dreams and finding their passion,” Van Gundy said.

The Magic’s head coach also answered several questions from the student body, including one about best leadership practices and others more basketball-oriented.

“We’re just trying to add to what their parents, teachers and coaches are telling them,” he added.

Other Magic leaders from throughout the organization, meanwhile, assisted in teaching classes.

As the entire student population crammed into the gym for the pep rally, the boisterous beat became deafening.

From fan favorite and local legend Anderson’s inspirational pregame speech to the Magic Dancers’ dazzling performance to STUFF’s tricks and stunts, the students seemed more enthusiastic during those 20 minutes than they likely will be on the last day of school before summer vacation (that may be a little bit of exaggeration, but it certainly was close).

“I think they are ready for tonight,” said Anderson, who has been honored to flip the coin prior to the opening kickoff. “The energy will carry onto the field and the players will do the rest.”

Lake Brantley (8-0) is ranked No. 1 in the Orlando Sentinel Super 16 and Friday’s contest against Lake Mary (6-1) will determine the 2011 Class 8A, District 2 champion.