THE MAGIC MAN
Magic. Webster defines it with words like illusion, mystery, and supernatural, In California, we have come to know it as a name synonymous with brilliance and charisma because of the legendary five-time NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers Earvin “Magic” Johnson. Just a little further south there is another magic, “Our Magic”, and his wizardry took place on the many cricket fields from San Francisco to San Diego. To cricketers and cricket fans of Southern California, he is known simply as Magic.
Wayne Copeland “Magic” migrated to Southern California from his native home town of Trinidad and Tobago in 1994. By sheer luck, he ran into a fellow Trini in a local eatery who asked if he knew how to play cricket… well, that was the beginning of the “Magic show” that continues up until today. Magic’s impact on the game was almost instantaneous. Upon joining the Cosmos Cricket Club in Los Angeles his all-round cricket ability was immediately on display. He could bowl, bat and field at a high level “It’s like having three players in one” I remember one of his teammates saying. Magic’s very first year in the league he was named MVP after leading the league in wickets and being his Club’s leading run-scorer, with the highlight being a match-winning 102 not out. Cosmos won the championship in his very first year. The following season brought more of the same when he was again his team leader with bat and ball, his brilliant all-round performance led to his inclusion in the SCCA team that played against the then World Cup Champion Sir Lanka’s team in Los Angeles in 1996.
What Cosmos lost was San Diego’s gain as Magic decided to switch his allegiance to the San Diego Cricket Club in 1997, and he has been ours ever since. His first season with San Diego might have been his finest as he spearheaded the bowling attack taking the most wickets and leading San Diego to the Championship. Magic would go on to be one of the leading Bowlers on the team for many years and was an integral part of multiple championships for San Diego.
In 1998 Magic took over the mantle as captain and continued to take the team on its winning journey. Magic does not play as much as he used to even though he is still as fit as ever. Most weekends he can be found giving back to the game as he has become an ICC Level 2 youth coach for San Diego Cricket and a very successful one. The young cricketers of San Diego continue to benefit from his vast experiences.
As to how he became “Magic” – ask the hundreds of batsmen that he sent back to the pavilion shaking their heads, wondering did I see that ball, or was it an illusion? No, it was simply magic.
-John Morton (founding member of SDCC, longest-serving captain of SDCC Division 1 team, and former captain of Southern California cricket teams)