Best of Dallas®

Best Of 2003

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Best Of :: Sports & Recreation

Best Reason to Go to Plano

If you're the type who always wants to be first in the know about everything, then you'd better study up on Carly Patterson and Hollie Vise--because you'll probably be hearing a lot about them at next year's Olympic Games in Athens. Patterson and Vise, both 15, each train at the Plano-based World Olympics Gymnastics Academy, one of the country's premier gymnastics training grounds. In the recent World Gymnastics Championships, the pair helped the U.S. women win the team gold medal for the first time, as well as each pulling in an individual medal (Patterson a silver on the all-around, Vise a gold in the uneven bars). They're already heroes to the academy's current students--and an inspiration for more girls to follow in their footsteps.

Best Place to Skateboard

We could suggest lots of places where they like skaters, where they even charge them admission. But what the hell is that? It's not skating unless somebody in a blue uniform chases you. Grab your board and get downtown! Start at the Masonic Temple at Harwood and Young streets for a backside nosegrind on the long sloping ledges in front; head two blocks downhill to City Hall plaza for a nollie heelflip in front of the mayor; kick-flip across the police memorial and past the fake cows; wind up at the best of the best, the front steps of The Dallas Morning News at 508 Young St. The railings there are perfect for a nice long feeblegrind or two: That's the most you'll get in before about 50 rent-a-cops come charging out the door with big-ass shields, helmets and baseball bats. Your board is your weapon, dude!

Best Public Golf Course

Tightfisted locals who carp about the upgrading of Dallas' scruffy municipal courses would probably have heart failure if they saw what Euless calls public golf. City-owned-and-run Texas Star is without a doubt one of the best munies in the nation, with fees almost to match. In Euless, every man (and woman) is king, which in this old game means mirror-smooth Bent grass greens, doting attendants at the clubhouse and a layout with some serious pizzazz. Cut from the Trinity River lowlands, the 7,000-yard Texas Star course wanders through untouched native grasses and dense oak forests. These "native areas" are in play on nearly every hole, and off limits for ball hawking should you decide to visit them. Add an abundance of picturesque water hazards and you have what professional course critics call "resistance to scoring." In other words, bubba, bring a buttload of balls.

Best Get-Wet/No-Sweat Exercise

Chest-deep in a swimming pool, no one can see you sweat. No one can see the flab flopping around either, which is another benefit of water aerobics, the fastest-growing form of exercise for the gym-weary boomer crowd. Tricia Moon's classes--ongoing at the DISD pool on Hermosa at Peavy and at the White Rock Athletic Club--combine high-energy aerobics, underwater weight and resistance training, some tai chi, a little kickboxing (so much easier underwater) and even a bit of go-go dancing. Moon keeps classes lively with a steady patter of jokes and encouraging words. Watching her go through the moves (at 43, she's all leg and lean muscle) is motivation to keep pushing when the urge is to dog-paddle. For three summers, Moon has led a popular (and addictive) Saturday-morning class at Rowlett's Wet Zone water park, where water exercisers jog, skip and leap against the strong current of the "river" pool. It's like fighting a riptide, and it's a killer workout. That class starts again next May.

Best Place to Work Out

So, it's pricey, but where else can you jog or walk on a shock-absorbing one-mile outdoor track set against 30 acres of lush pecan, red oak and cedar trees? Where else are the ducks, geese and squirrels so relaxed in their natural habitat they actually risk asking you for spare change? Face it, there is no place like the Cooper Fitness Center, which is why there is still a waiting list to get in. But with its two heated 25-yard, six-lane pools, its 4,200-square-foot weight training area, its sizable cardiovascular equipment area, its indoor basketball and outdoor tennis courts, its multiple saunas, steam rooms and whirlpools, its close association with the Cooper guest lodge, spa and clinic--hell, it just might be worth the wait.

Best Locker-Room Conversation

Spring training is a relaxed atmosphere where the players talk candidly and the reporters wear sunscreen and bad Hawaiian shirts. Some of the conversations are considered off the record. Some, not all. During prescribed media hours, Rangers second baseman Mike Young and third baseman Hank Blalock engaged in a conversation with some members of the media, among them a bad, bad person from the Observer. The topic: Howard Stern's interview with Limp Bizkit front man Fred Durst. Durst said that he had gone out with pop icon Britney Spears for a spell. He also claimed, over the course of their courtship, that he "ate her ass." "He ate her ass?" Blalock asked incredulously. "That's what he said," Young responded. "Fred Durst is a cool dude." Truer words were never spoken.

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Best Reason to Go to Plano: The World Olympics Gymnastics Academy

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