YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE WE ARE MAGIC (nothing can stand in our way)

This blog title was Vic’s idea.  He knew I was struggling with the writer’s curse: lack of initiative, lack of inspiration, and an unhealthy dollop of depression.

“Just take it from the song title and go from there,” he told me.

Of course, it’s the old Olivia Newton-John song, MAGIC.  Cheesy and dated now, but back then it felt ethereal and deeply meaningful for us.

magic vic directing readingIt was the summer of 1980.  Vic and I had hit the road, as we followed the Philadelphia Phillies’ farm club, the Reading Phillies, shooting Vic’s first directorial effort, CHASING A DREAM.

A heady time it was, too, especially for a baseball novice like me, in a young relationship with a life-long sports fanatic.  We road-tripped from Reading, PA, to Bristol, CT, Westhaven, Waterbury, back to Reading, trailing the team bus, with Newton-John’s MAGIC blasting from the car radio.  The ballparks were small, the outfields verdant.  The evenings were soft and long. magic blog stadium The light was golden and the crack of a bat connecting with a ball was a heart-pounding thrill.  It was a perfect way to discover America’s pastime.

Certainly, this ball club was a team touched by baseball’s potent brand of magic.  With a line-up that featured superstars-to-be Mark Davis, Ryne Sandberg, Ozzie Virgil, and Bob Dernier, they were rich in talent magic blog big threeand they were hungry.  At home and on the road, we savored the experience of this quintessential slice of the American pie, from the groupies and the glory to the endless bus rides, cheap motels, and dingy locker rooms.  The wives had plenty to say, too.  This was not an easy life for them; little money, no guarantees.

It seems like a dream to me now.  I was running around with a clipboard, collecting signatures for release forms, lugging and minding the equipment bags, soaking it all in, feeling as fully alive as perhaps I ever had.  I was discovering what it meant to make a film.  To document experience.  To capture an essence.  I was just a PA, but it was utterly magic stadium summerfulfilling to me, as the medium brought to bear all of my skill sets, all of my passions, from the visual element (I was oil painting in those days), to the human interaction, with its inherent drama, to the construction and telling of stories.

I was falling in love, on so many levels I was giddy with it.

magic veterans stadiumAt season’s end, Mark Davis, the lefty hurler, Virgil, the prankster catcher, and the fast and scrappy Bobby Dernier were called up to the big leagues.  They’d done it.  They made it to The Show.

That year, the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series.  You cannot make this stuff up — truth really is stranger than fiction.  It was all captured on film.  The result magic world series win headlinewas raw, it was evocative, it was truthful.  It was the beginning of both my career and Vic’s.  We’ve never stopped chasing our dreams, sometimes to our detriment, but always with full hearts and unabashed passion.  We married the following year, and have been blessed with a love that only grows deeper, and work that sustains us, despite struggle and hardship.  We have never given up.  Nothing can stand in our way.

Magic blog hug

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5 Responses to YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE WE ARE MAGIC (nothing can stand in our way)

  1. This is beautifully written and makes me (not a sports fan) long for a time and place I’m not at all familiar with. And I’m going to try and subscribe to the whole magic idea. Thanks Stephanie.

  2. Stephanie Silber says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Cindy. It was an experience that stayed with me and will forever. I’m grateful for it. (And of course, for Vic!)

  3. Kris says:

    Hi Steph — Wanted to share some add’l thoughts: Your rich recounting of that very exciting time, so full of promise left me with a strong sense of nostaglia/longing. (Yes, it was a heady time for yours truly too, starting out as Vic’s apprentice on the film.) As for never giving up: The fact that you continue to inspire and support each other, despite the hardships, is a true testament of a partnership/union that was clearly meant to be. May you never, ever stop ‘Chasing the Dream.’

  4. Kris says:

    Oops, typo: ‘nostalgia’

  5. Stephanie Silber says:

    Kris, you Virgo perfectionist you! Whaddaya mean? It’s not spelled nostaglia???

    Seriously, though, as ever I appreciate your thoughtful words. I’d forgotten you were an apprentice on CAD!!! Glory days, eh?

    Your final thought put me in mind of the Browning poem, “Grow old along with me / The best is yet to be…”

    If love is the compensation for growing old together, so be it. I will take it, with gratitude.

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