It's not that we aren't rooting for Orlando's iggest sports teams. In fact, we're itching to see how the Orlando Magic survive (and thrive, hopefully!) without Dwight Howard as they start another NBA championship run at Amway Center (Oct. 11). We're also eager to see how the newest East Coast Hockey League team, Orlando's very own Solar Bears, will fare during their inaugural season and home opener against the Florida Everblades (Oct. 20). We're dying to watch history made as the UCF Knights take on Missouri (Sept. 29), the first-ever Southeastern Conference opponent to play at Bright House Networks Stadium.
But what really gets us pumped this season are the smaller athletic events, some of which highlight sports you never knew existed. We're talking about Orlando Psycho City Derby Girls' Rocky Horror Roller Derby game (Sept. 29), the iFly International Bodyflight Association indoor skydiving competition (Oct. 12-13) and the Orlando FootGolf Open (Oct. 14).
And, of course, we always look forward to the annual diversions that provide enduring rivalry and spirited tradition: Downtown Disney's Orlando International Dragon Boat Festival (Oct. 20), college football's Florida Classic (Nov. 17) and the sprawling open-air yoga outing, Rasa-Lila Fest (Oct. 5-7).
No matter what type of athletic activity strikes your competitive (or leisurely) nerve, with this season's jam-packed schedule of events, you'll be sure to either generate or release some energy. It's up to you whether that comes from cheering on your favorite team or actually being the one for whom the others cheer.
Wednesday Night Rum Race The Lake Monroe Sailing Association hosts weekly sailboat races on Sanford's Lake Monroe, with the first place vessel winning a bottle of Malibu Red Rum and participants and spectators enjoying an afterparty event at nearby waterfront bar Wolfy's. 6 pm Wednesdays; Wolfy's on the River, 530 N. Palmetto Ave., Sanford; free; flalmsa.org.
Rocky Horror Roller Derby The Orlando Psycho City Derby Girls dress as Rocky Horror characters and compete in this second annual themed roller derby game, complete with a costume contest, photo booth and plenty of beer. 11:30 pm Saturday; Semoran Skateway, 2670 Cassel Creek Blvd., Casselberry; $10-$13; 407-834-9095; facebook.com/psychocityderbygirls.
Sky Zone World 3-D Dodgeball Championship Regional co-ed dodgeball teams of all levels take to the trampolines to compete in this regional qualifier and vie for the chance to make it to the national championship later this year in California. 7:30 am Saturday; Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, 2500 U.S. Highway 27, Clermont; $200 per team; 352-404-4134; world3ddodgeball.com.
Tai Chi Session Instructor Bill Burnette invites both beginners and enthusiasts to learn the practice and health benefits of Yang-style Tai Chi Chian and Qigong in a workshop that focuses on flexibility, body awareness, balance, coordination, relaxation and enhancing your vitality. 9:30 am Saturday; Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens, 633 Osceola Ave., Winter Park; $10; 407-647-6294; polasek.org.
Yoga for the Chakras As part of Yoga Awareness Month, instructor Ramona Crabtree-Falkner leads a 75-minute yoga session for any level of yoga student, which explores balancing your energetic body with the seven major chakras through asana, guided imagery and meditation. 11:30 am-12:45 pm Saturday; Ananda Center for Yoga and Massage, 16 Joiner St., Winter Garden; $15; 407-877-6061; anandaym.com.
UCF Knights Football
The UCF Knights continue what could already be considered a successful season when they host their first home game against a Southeastern Conference opponent, Missouri (Sept. 29). The Knights round out the season with a few Conference USA match-ups including a homecoming contest with Southern Methodist (Nov. 3), while the program awaits an appeal on NCAA
The following home games all take place at Bright House Networks Stadium, University of Central Florida; various prices; 407-823-1000; ucfathletics.com.
UCF Knights vs.
Missouri Noon Saturday
UCF Knights vs. East Carolina 8 pm Thursday
UCF Knights vs. Southern Mississippi 8 pm Saturday
UCF Knights vs. Southern Methodist NCAA college football homecoming game for the Knights. 7 pm Saturday
UCF Knights vs. University of Alabama at Birmingham Call for time Saturday
Outdoor Community Yoga Class Babette and Louis of Ananda Center lead an outdoor breathing and posture yoga class in the park, with attention paid to proper alignment in level one yoga postures. 9:30 am Sunday; Newton Park, 29 Garden Ave., Winter Garden; free; 407-877-6061; anandaym.com.
Maloof Money Cup World Skateboarding Championship Event Watch the competition on the big screen, with behind-the-scenes footage and contest highlights as Fathom Events captures the boarding heats, which were previously broadcast from South Africa. 7:30 pm Tuesday; various theaters; visit website for details; fathomevents.com.
Oct. 5-Oct. 7
Rasa-Lila Fest This three-day outdoor yoga festival offers breathing, tantra, meditation and stretching workshops, stand-up paddleboard yoga, expert presentations, live music and dance parties. 6 pm Friday, 9 am-9 pm Saturday, 9 am-6 pm Sunday; The Pines at Windermere, 3409 Maguire Road, Windermere; $25-$100; 813-644-9642; rasalilafest.com.
Oct. 5, Nov. 2
Minor League Contest Series Skateboarders ages 15 and under compete in one 60-second run, including the Highest Wallride contest on Oct. 5, and then boarders receive series-ending awards at a ceremony on Nov. 2. 6 pm Friday; Midtown Skate Park, 5043 Forsyth Commerce Road; $10; 407-440-2802; midtownskatepark.com.
Photo Cat-Alley Race Retro City Cycles hosts a point-to-point bicycle race with riders of all skill levels competing for prizes in a scavenger hunt-style competition around the Orlando area. 2 pm Saturday; Retro City Cycles, 1806 N. Orange Ave.; call for price, or email firstname.lastname@example.org; 407-895-2700.
Oct. 6-Oct. 7
Vintage Venture The winery hosts a two-day outdoor car show with a collection of vintage models, live '50s and '60s music, free winery tours and wine tasting to benefit local clothing bank the Mustard Seed of Central Florida. 10 am-5 pm Saturday, 11 am-5 pm Sunday; Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards, 19239 U.S. Highway 27 North, Clermont; $2; 800-768-9463; lakeridgewinery.com.
CF Cycle for Life Both male and female cyclists ride one of the featured 30-, 62- or 100-mile routes through Seminole and Volusia counties to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. 8 am Sunday; Sylvan Lake Park, 845 Lake Markham Road, Sanford; $25-$45, plus minimum pledge of $150; 407-339-2978; orlando.cff.org/cycleforlife.
The Orlando Magic start off this season with fresh new balls after the departure of Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy, and with the arrival of new head coach Jacque Vaughn and 10 other Magic roster newbies. Seasoned vets like Hedo Turkoglu and J.J. Redick should lead the way as the Magic kick off the regular season on an even keel by hosting the Denver Nuggets (Nov. 2), before moving on to recently relocated and re-named Brooklyn Nets
(Nov. 9, Nov. 30) and stronger opponents including Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics (Nov. 25).
The following home games all take place at the Amway Center, 400 W. Church St.; various prices; 407-896-2442; orlandomagic.com.
Orlando Magic vs. Philadelphia 76ers preseason game 7 pm Thursday
Orlando Magic vs. Indiana
Pacers preseason game 7 pm Friday
Orlando Magic vs. San Antonio Spurs preseason game 6 pm Sunday
Orlando Magic vs. Houston Rockets preseason game 7 pm Friday
Orlando Magic vs. Denver
Nuggets 7 pm Friday
Orlando Magic vs. Phoenix Suns 6 pm Sunday
Nov. 9, Nov. 30
Orlando Magic vs. Brooklyn Nets 7 pm Friday
Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks 7 pm Tuesday
Orlando Magic vs. Detroit
Pistons 7 pm Wednesday
Orlando Magic vs. Cleveland Cavaliers 7 pm Friday
Orlando Magic vs. Boston
Celtics 6 pm Sunday
Oct. 12-Oct. 13
iFLY International Bodyflight Association Competition Contenders with varying skill levels take on five different disciplines in this indoor skydiving competition, with featured heats including formation skydiving, freefly, neo-freestyle solos, two-way vertical formations and three-way formation skydiving scrambles. 9 pm Friday, 6 am, 8 pm Saturday; iFly Orlando, 6805 Visitors Circle; $54.95-$350 entry fee, free for spectators; 407-903-1150; iflyorlando.com.
Gridiron National Championship This Gridiron Developmental Football League youth football game, themed "Ball Out for the Cure," helps raise money for breast cancer awareness by donating a portion of proceeds to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. 5 pm Saturday; Florida Citrus Bowl, 1610 W. Church St.; $15; 407-849-2020; ticketmaster.com.
Orlando FootGolf Open The Orlando FootGolf League, a local outfit bringing the soccer-golf mashup to Central Florida, hosts a kickoff event at the area's first official FootGolf course, featuring local celebrities and league players in an 18-hole tournament, with a champagne breakfast, an after-game dinner and an awards ceremony. 11 am Sunday; Wedgefield Golf & Country Club, 20550 Maxi Parkway; $150 includes a uniform; 407-810-1146; footgolf.info.
Oct. 19-Oct. 27
Howling Halloween Brave visitors hop on the Screamline Haunted Zipline for a chilling twilight journey across three haunted bridges swaying as high as 68 feet above the ground and seven ziplines with racing speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Various times Friday-Saturday; Forever Florida, 4755 N. Kenansville Road, St. Cloud; $85; 407-957-9794; floridaecosafaris.com.
Orlando International Dragon Boat Festival As the finale of the Great White North Dragon Boat racing series, this one-day major league paddling regatta pits dozens of national and international rowing teams against each other in a bevy of watercourse battles. 8 am-5 pm Saturday; Downtown Disney, 1478 E. Buena Vista Drive; various entry fees, free for spectators; gwndragonboat.com.
Harvest Hustle 5K The Junior League of Greater Orlando invites you to wear a Halloween costume, run the 3.1-mile course and then enjoy a finish-line party with live entertainment, food and drinks and trick-or-treating. 6:30 pm Thursday; Baldwin Park, New Broad Street and Jake Street; $20-$30; jlgo.org/orlando.
Spooktacular Costume 5K Run/Walk The Rose Runs Series asks runners and walkers to wear a Halloween costume and compete in a three-mile route, with a post-race networking party, prizes for the best costume and a portion of proceeds to benefit Meningitis awareness. 5 pm Thursday; University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Blvd.; free, donations accepted; roserunseries.com.
Orlando Solar Bears
As the newest sports team on the block (and the third professional hockey team to play in Orlando), the Solar Bears hit the ice at Amway Center this fall for their first East Coast Hockey League season. The team should be in good hands under the direction of head coach (and former NHL player) Drake Berehowsky, but don't expect an easy road as far as schedule goes: The Solar Bears play their first home game against current 2012 ECHL Kelly Cup champs the Florida Everblades (Oct. 20), and later in the season they'll endure a triple-header stint with fellow Eastern Conference (and South Division's top-ranked) foe the Gwinnett Gladiators (Nov. 7, Nov. 8, Nov. 11).
The following home games all take place at the Amway Center, 400 W. Church St.; various prices; 407-951-8200; orlandosolarbearshockey.com.
Orlando Solar Bears vs. Florida Everblades 7 pm Saturday
Orlando Solar Bears vs. South Carolina Stingrays 7 pm
Orlando Solar Bears vs. Greenville Road Warriors 3 pm Sunday
Nov. 7, Nov. 8, Nov. 11
Orlando Solar Bears vs. Gwinnett Gladiators 7 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 3 pm Sunday
Orlando Solar Bears vs. Elmira Jackals 7 pm Saturday
Nov. 17, Nov. 18, Nov. 20
Orlando Solar Bears vs.
Kalamazoo Wings 7 pm Saturday, 3 pm Sunday, 7 pm Tuesday
2012 Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastic Champions Watch live performances by current and former Team USA Olympic gymnasts, including London 2012 gold medalist Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Kyla Ross and more. 6 pm Sunday; Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa; $25-$200; 813-301-6500; tampabaytimesforum.com.
Oct. 29-Nov. 1
Yoga Sutras This weeklong yoga workshop, sponsored by the Yoga Shala and led by Jayashree and Narasimha, focuses on chanting. 6:30-9 pm Monday-Thursday; Twelve21 Gallery, 1221-C N. Orange Ave.; $30 per session, $100 for full week; 407-506-4626;
Support Our Scholars Shine & Show Car Show This fundraising car show event raises money for the Winter Park-based nonprofit's scholarship programs, which offer financial awards and mentoring services to graduating low-income female high school students. 4-7 pm Saturday; Gray Robinson, P.A., 301 E. Pine St.; $20-$25; 407-402-5314;
Celery City Cruisers Annual Car Show As one of the oldest car clubs in Central Florida, the Sanford-based group showcases a collection of classic and custom auto models, with DJ music, cash drawings and door prizes. 8 am-4 pm Saturday; Museum of Seminole County History, 300 Bush Blvd., Sanford; free; 407-665-2489;
King of La Calle Car & Bike Show Rumba 100.3 FM sponsors a daylong family-friendly event with custom cars and street bikes on display, live music concerts and a bevy of food vendors. 11 am-7 pm Sunday; Osceola Heritage Park, 1875 Silver Spur Lane, Kissimmee; $10; 321-697-3333; ohpark.com.
Winter Park Concours d'Elegance Six blocks of Winter Park's Park Avenue close down for this annual judged exotic car show, complete with more than 120 custom and classic cars set up along the street, a product and service vendor showcase, and a portion of proceeds benefiting the Winter Park Community Center and Wayne Densch Children's Advocacy Center's Kids House. Various times Sunday; Park Avenue at Morse Boulevard, Winter Park; visit website for details; 407-849-9190; winterparkconcours.com.
Florida Classic Thousands of college football fans head to Orlando not only for this annual game, which pits two historically black universities, the Florida A&M Rattlers and the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, against one another on the field, but fans also arrive for the game's surrounding tailgating, pep rallies and battle of the bands fanfare. 2 pm Saturday; Florida Citrus Bowl, 1610 W. Church St.; $10.75-$202.50; 800-745-3000; floridaclassic.org.
Ruck Sack March The Camaraderie Foundation, a nonprofit that offers counseling services to veterans and their families, hosts a military-style fundraising run/walk in which participants opt for 3-, 6- or 12-mile routes and have the chance to run with or without an added 45-plus pounds of gear. 6 am Saturday; University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Blvd.; $25-$85; 407-841-0071; camaraderiefoundation.com.
Nov. 17-Nov. 18
The Horrible Hundred 2012 Deemed "Central Florida's Toughest Ride," this grueling race invites cyclists to choose between 100-, 70- or 35-mile routes throughout Central Florida, with a two-day cycling and fitness expo showcasing local bike shops, live music in the park and lunch options served up at a food truck fiesta. 10 am Saturday, 6 am Sunday; Waterfront Park, East Avenue and State Road 50, Clermont; $40-$50 entry fee, free for spectators; horrible-hundred.com.
Turkey Trot 5K Before you gobble down the holiday turkey, join in this Thanksgiving-themed 3.1-mile run/power walk around downtown Orlando, which benefits Central Florida-based nonprofit Seniors First and offers both costume and turkey call contests on the day of the race. 8 am Thursday; Lake Eola Park, East Central Boulevard and North Eola Drive; $27-$35; 407-310-6725; turkeytrotorlando.com.
Nov. 22-Nov. 25
Old Spice Classic This annual four-day men's college basketball single-elimination tournament hosts eight teams from around the nation, with this year's squads including Clemson, Vanderbilt, Gonzaga, Oklahoma, UTEP, Davidson, Marist College and West Virginia. Various times Thursday-Friday, Sunday; ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista; $20-$100; 407-939-4263; oldspiceclassic.com.
Nov. 30-Dec. 2
Festivals of Speed In its seventh year now, this three-day high-end car and airplane showcase comes to town toting a swanky jet port reception, a wine connoisseurs' multi-course dinner event boasting handcrafted cocktails and gourmet fare, and weekend-long luxury motorsports displays. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. Various times Friday-Sunday; various venues; $10-$350, visit website for details; 352-385-9450; festivalsofspeed.com/orlando.