Sports Journalism Institute

Helping women and minorities get into newsrooms since 1993

SJI: Where magic happens

When eating dinner at a restaurant, you expect to see so many things: Waiters, silverware, a table and food are the norms. Magic isn’t one of them. As the SJI class ate dinner at the Canyon Cafe in downtown Phoenix, class member Arianna Vedia pulled out a deck of card. “You must be trying to play spades?” class member Justin Parham said. I suddenly looked up and entered the conversation because spades is my favorite card game. Vedia made it clear that she isn’t into card games. Parham exited the conversation at that point, but I was intrigued at why she brought a deck of cards to a table filled with amazing food. After all, it had been more than seven hours since our last meal, and my stomach was singing like Whitney Houston in Super Bowl 25. Then, I remembered. In our intros on Sunday, Vedia’s fun fact was that she’s a magician. I’ve always been a skeptic of magic and taken a “prove it” type of approach. That’s when I saw the best magic trick I’ve ever seen. Vedia wrote down a number inside a small piece of paper and handed it to Sierra Galanza, who was sitting next to me. Vedia then told me to pull a card out of the deck. I purposely watched closely as she shifted card to card before I chose the most random card. Next, Vedia showed me my card (without her looking at it). The card was a 10 spade. Now, this is where it gets unfathomable. Vedia sat her IPhone on top of the cards and quickly jerked the phone and cards in an upwards motion. A card appeared in her phone’s screen and she pulled it out like it was a credit card. On the card was a 10 spade. My mouth opened wide and my hands covered my head as I stood up out of my seat in disbelief. Vedia let me calm down for a second and then said “Sierra, open the paper.” On the paper was a 10 spade. Keep in mind, she wrote down the number on the paper and handed it to Galanza before I even chose the card in the deck. I immediately jumped up and down in amazement and asked her to show the rest of the table. That trick had to be seen by more people. At SJI, we don’t just have a room full of talented writers. We have a magician.

— Damichael Cole