Best Of :: Sports & Recreation
It's probably not a coincidence that the best male and female runners in Dallas happen to share the same bed. Both Andrew and Melissa Cook are not only just the fastest runners in town over just about any distances, they have each qualified for the Olympic Trials. Melissa hit the standard in the 10K by running a blistering 32:31.85 on the track at Stanford University, which equals out to 5:15 per mile pace for 6.2 miles, or faster than all but a handful of men in Dallas could run. Andrew Cook, meanwhile, qualified to run the Olympic Trials marathon in New York this November after running a 2:19 marathon in Austin, which makes him the fastest marathoner in Dallas by 10 or so minutes. Like most top-shelf distance runners, both Cooks are rather modest and soft-spoken, but when the gun goes off, they grab the lead and don't let go.
Granted, Jupiter Lanes could automatically win this category for not being located in Lewisville, Allen, Hurst, Euless, Richardson, Garland, Mesquite or Addison. We are urban bowlers, after all, and we like to roll on urban lanes amongst our urban brethren. Luckily for us, the 20 lanes at Jupiter just got a million-dollar facelift, so we can watch Frankie Goes to Hollywood videos on projection screens and dance in the black light just like the suburbanites, only without the drive and in a much hipper fashion, naturally. But don't fret, bowling purists, the Disneyland bowling is limited to weekend evenings, so you still have five nights to enjoy 10 or 20 frames and two or three White Russians without having the chorus of "Relax" stuck in your head.
He's not only the best coach in our area, he's the best in the state. At any level. In any sport. Why else would Dodge be handed the keys to Denton? Already a suburban legend, he's a no-nonsense coach who's perfected a silly offense. At Southlake Carroll High School, Dodge's spread system scored 40 points a game, went 79-1 (the only loss coming by one point, 16-15, to Katy in the 2003 title game), won four championships in five years and cattle-prodded Texas high-school coaches to send their cherished dive plays and option pitches the way of Barbaro, Tony Soprano and the Arcadia Theater. Brain-washed by Bill Parcells' mind games and monotone game plans, we've almost ignored Dodge. North Texas hasn't. The Eagles realize that the same high school producing five consecutive State Offensive Players of the Year isn't coincidence. It's coaching.
While hands—recall all those Terrell Owens drops and Tony Romo's bobbled snap—eventually killed the Cowboys, it was a foot that kept them alive all season. Punters don't get shit. No groupies. No max contracts. No endorsements. Unless, that is, they have a season like McBriar. An Aussie by way of Hawaii, he became the first Cowboys punter to earn a trip to the Pro Bowl since Ron Widby in 1971. Watching McBriar's quirky backspin ball is the coolest thing this side of seeing that one-armed stripper over at The Clubhouse. His 48.2-yard average led the NFL, was the league's highest in 43 years and smashed Dallas' franchise record. Two things stand out about McBriar's season: His 75-yard punt against Houston that rolled out of bounds at the 2-yard line and the even more amazing feat of generating consistent praise from Bill Parcells.
Hailing from Ghana via Virginia, Dominic Oduro debuted with FC Dallas in 2006. Now, we could give you stats and play background and all that stuff, but the most important thing about this fine forward is that he has a helluva lot of heart. He trains long and hard, lives in team housing, eats at the field and has been separated from his family thanks to the meager pay that comes with being a truly dedicated and underappreciated soccer player. The Birdman is the ultimate team player, as anyone who's ever watched the Hoops can attest. He doesn't hog the ball, he's eagle-eyed and lightning fast. He's also responsible for one of the most exciting goals we've seen live all year. The Galaxy can have Beckham; we have our superstar with soul in Oduro.
Having nurtured All-Around World Gymnastics Champs Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin, Plano's World Olympic Gymnastics Academy is probably, technically, a more productive gym. But, dude, Lifetime Fitness at Legacy and Preston has palm trees! And a giant outdoor swimming pool, complete with slides and fountains and a poolside café with waitress service. Seriously, this place is more five-star resort than two-a-day workout. Amenities, abs. Amenities, abs. Hmm. Choices, choices. There's a spa, locker rooms adorned with big-screen TVs, a computer center and even a rock-climbing wall. And if you want to go retro, there's also a weight room. Best of all, after your rigorous day of pampering it's just a short drive up to Martini Park and The Shops at Legacy, where you can undo all the work you just did.