Best Of :: Sports & Recreation
The words "boot camp" don't really inspire visions of fun or happiness. Ass-whipping or voluntary sweat torture? Absolutely. Camp Gladiator, however, combines all four of those things for one of the most satisfying group workouts possible. Led by one or two trainers, Camp Gladiator offers a four-week camp each month with no two workouts exactly alike (sometimes there are even props). Sure, there may be burpees at most of them, but because each week is themed (metabolic conditioning or high-intensity, for example), workouts are built to achieve different results, effectively striking down exercise boredom with a firmly gripped hand weight. Trainers provide modifications for any exercise, and all camps are at-your-own-pace, for an unusual lack of intimidation. Camps are available all over the area at different times of the day (including stupid early), but perhaps the most impressive thing about CG is how un-boot camp this boot camp is. The yelling is never drill sergeant-like, but rather is only positive ... though occasionally you may have to listen for it over the sound of thunder. Yes, Camp Gladiator is rain or shine.
Going to a yoga class should, above all things, be stress-free, which is why Karmany Yoga, with its welcoming vibe and no-strings-attached policies, is our pick for Dallas' best yoga studio. Karmany is a donation-based studio and there are no packages, plans or contracts to navigate. Simply show up, sign in and pay what you can for the class you take. While their easy-come-easy-go policies might get you into your yoga pants and through the door, it's their experienced, encouraging instructors who will have you coming back to the mat for more. At Karmany, you'll find classes in a variety of styles — from Iyengar to Power Flow — all led by knowledgeable instructors, eager to assist you in your yogic journey with a peaceful, positive practice.
March 1 of this year marked the only day of 2014 that one could safely do yoga on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, a place that is more or less just a giant freeway decorated by an expensive arch. The event was put on by the Trinity Commons Foundation as part of a series of events celebrating all of the city's expensive new Trinity River-related projects, with co-sponsorship from the city of Dallas. One of the criticisms of the bridge is that it's difficult to enjoy since it's cars only — there aren't any sidewalks. The free yoga event was a rare exception. The event offered both a regular yoga and family yoga class, asking for a $5 donation from each adult. Afterward, there were lots of awesome, scenic photographs posted online featuring athletic people doing their poses with the arch and skyline in the background. The event doesn't happen very often — March's event was only the second Yoga on the Bridge, but it's a strong message to the city's planners designing future projects along the river: We have feet, and we like to use them.
After more than three decades at Channel 8, Dale Hansen is the sportscaster who gets away with wearing Hawaiian shirts and shorts when covering Cowboys training camp, bashing his own station and issuing smart-ass wisecracks. But he also has a more thoughtful side, too. His famous Michael Sam commentary, which went wildly viral and got him a Valentine's Day guest spot on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, proved to football fans and gay-rights advocates nationwide what his Dallas viewers already knew from his children's charity work, his Scholar-Athlete of the Week awards and his 2011 "Thank God for Kids" segment in which he recounted being sexually abused and urged viewers not to keep such ugly crimes in the darkness so that victims wouldn't be ashamed to come forward. Whether it's picking apart Jerry Jones' boneheaded moves as GM or addressing sticky societal issues that creep into sports, Hansen shapes the conversation in Dallas.
Years ago, Don Carter's and Jupiter Lanes were the epitome of cool old-school bowling alleys. They looked vintage even then, reeked of cigarette smoke and cheap concession food, and the glove-wearing teams of bowlers proved these lanes were the real deal even if they were pretty affordable. Alas, they are gone, but if we can't have them anymore, at least we can have a place that looks that old and cheap. Bowlounge isn't cheap, and with ancient scoring machines that seem to miscount pins a few times every round, it's not for serious bowlers. But the lanes, pin-setters and scoring, salvaged from an East Texas alley facing demolition, give off such a comforting nostalgic vibe that a little bit of scorekeeping chaos is easily overlooked. And we'll take Twisted Root burgers over stale, neon-cheese-topped nachos any day.
Find the big hill off Mountain Creek Parkway and Eagle Ford Drive. Climb through the pearly white gates. Ignore the sprawling evangelical complex/prayer center up top. Park in the clearing beneath the electrical transformer. From there, follow the signs to 22 miles of some of the best off-road biking trails in Dallas. How the Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association managed to pack that much trail on that hilltop is a mystery. But with plenty of technical twists and a good number of exhilarating descents, you'll be glad they did.