Best Of :: Sports & Recreation
It's a little tricky to find. If you're going south on Interstate 35E, take Illinois Avenue west about two miles to Pierce and hang a left (south) less than half a mile past the houses. Turn toward a parking lot at the back of an apartment complex and you'll see the trailhead and some parking to your right before you get to the gate to the apartments. If you yearn for a really well-designed biking trail, it probably doesn't get better than this inside the city. The Oak Cliff Nature Preserve is 121 acres on an old Boy Scout camp. The Texas Land Conservancy has partnered with the Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association to create a series of clearly marked, well-maintained bike trails at all levels of challenge, from beginner to semi-nutcase. And if you haven't seen this part of Dallas before, you're going to be knocked out by the topography ... maybe literally.
The older they grow, the better they age. While their few critics call it monotonous redundancy, their legion of P1 fans are convinced it's classic tradition. On the air together since 1994, the most consistently entertaining and highest-rated show on sports talk radio belongs to George Dunham, Craig Miller and Gordon Keith, weekdays 5:30-10 a.m. on The Ticket. It's about sports. It's about life. It's about guys being guys. It's — most important — about domination. Dunham & Miller are at this point basically lapping the field in Arbitron ratings. Every hour their show attracts twice the ratings as the offerings of ESPN-103.3 FM and KRLD-105.3 FM The Fan. Combined. Over the years they've developed the perfect recipe for morning radio with tasty pinches of interviews, topical headlines via "Muse in the News" and heady, though sometimes homerish takes across our sports smorgasbord.
If you're an aspiring boxer hell-bent on blood, sweat and tears, get your ass down to old-school Doug's Gym on Commerce Street. For the rest of us — ahhhh — to the paradise with the palm trees. The Lifetime Fitness on Highway 121 in McKinney is like a five-star resort, complete with more than enough amenities to serve us peculiar, pampered types who want the contradictory experience of working out in total comfort. Ya know, no pain; no pain. There are indoor and outdoor pools; a café with full-service bar; a spa resplendent in cosmetic services; courts for basketball, racquetball and squash; locker rooms with free towels and big-screen televisions; a computer center; financial services; even a rock-climbing wall and water slides for the kids. Oh yeah, and they got some weights up in there, too. All that for like $100 a month. So we ask you, why not just live here?
The impetus behind the raucous run by Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks last spring? Um, turns out there was a girl in the boys' room. But not that kind. This kind: Throughout the playoffs Dr. Mary Collings laid her healing hands upon Dirk's aching back in a crack-ya-bones sorta chiropractic way. But Collings, a '93 graduate of Dallas' Parker College and founder of Las Colinas Spine & Sports Medicine and a second office in Highland Park, didn't just work her magic on Dirk. Last year alone she treated the Stars, Cowboys punter Mat McBriar, ESPN's Darren Woodson, PGA player Brandt Jobe, actor Chuck Norris, singer Alanis Morissette and even the Highland Park High School "Belles" drill team. During the Mavs' playoff push and into the NBA Finals, Nowitzki and guard J.J. Barea were weekly visitors to Collings' office.
There's a museum in the back, behind glass — quite the collection of old cards, catcher's masks and Civil War-era bats. And then there are the rows and rows and rows of cards, sleeved and stacked for cardboard-box browsing and shopping. And shop you will: Here, history's affordable, sometimes as low as 50 cents per bubble-gum memory. We shop here regularly, three generations of card collectors: the grandfather who worshiped men named Koufax and Mays; the son whose idols were Harvey Martin and Jim Sundberg; the youngest one for whom any guy in a uniform on a card is considered a hero. Each of us never fails to find something during each trip. Bonus: Nick's is kind of like a sports-lottery ticket-seller too, peddling unwrapped packs for a few bucks each, some of which contain rare autographs, pieces of uniforms or other invaluable keepsakes. Buy the ticket; only thing missing is the sunburn.
Any questions? Didn't think so. Because after a season in which the soft guy proved tough enough and the German who couldn't lead in fact led, the best player in franchise history kicked his critics in their skeptical crotches with a memorable season in which he won a championship, NBA Finals MVP, a couple of ESPYs and — oh yeah — another relatively useless Observer award. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James tried to make fun of Dirk's feverish cough in the finals, but after an onslaught of lefty layups and flamingo fadeaways the player for years deemed not quite good enough is finally the best.