Orlando To-Do List: Sports

An area of the USA that is home to 2.3 million people, which showcases some of the tallest skyscrapers in the state of Florida, and features Universal Studios and Disney World (known as “The City Beautiful”) is the city of Orlando. A cattle rancher in the area gave Orlando its name, and that successful man was known as Orlando Rees. Although he owned more than one ranch on the eastern side of the Florida Panhandle, there is actually another possibility as to the origins of the region’s name. The Orlando Rees story seems verifiable because genealogical and historical records show that he existed, however, another story has it that the area was named after a young soldier, Orlando Reeves, who was killed sometime during the Second Seminole War. Military records are so far unable to prove the soldier’s existence however.

Now back to sports. Orlando is definitely a fun city for the sports fan. The Orlando Magic NBA team is based there, as is the Orlando City USL Pro soccer team. Coming up in 2012, is the NBA All-Star Game, which was also held in Orlando in 1992. The All-star Game and the Orlando Magic Games, always draw a few celebrities to the events. Also, the NBA Pre-Draft camp takes place in Orlando each year, as well as the NBA Orlando Summer League. Orlando loves its basketball!

The Orlando Predators Arena Football League team has had a 19 season play-off streak. The UCF Knights is an athletic program held through the University of Central Florida, and hosts mens and ladies football and basketball teams. Now football is the big sport in Florida, and Orlando is no exception. The Orlando Predators were mentioned above, but there is also Orlando Fantasy – an indoor football league for women. Kenny McEntyre, is the coach of the the women’s team (which has only played two seasons), but with his five-star coaching skills, they are bound to succeed.

Professional wrestling events are often hosted in Orlando, some by the World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) Wrestlemania and others by World Championship Wrestling. Although they are two very different events, both draw huge crowds. Eventually a State League was created in Orlando after professional baseball gained popularity in the 1920’s. There is no professional team in Orlando right now, but the city hosts annual spring training for the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros. Major League Baseball winter meetings occur in the Orlando area and the draft was held there for many years right up until 2009. Baseball is a top pastime in Orlando, and with such a sunny, mild climate, that is no surprise..

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