What is it exactly that we like about bowling? Is it beer, the warm, moist rented shoes, the beer, the sport, the camaraderie or the beer? Open 24 hours, Carter's 58 lanes are always ready for desperate insomniacs who need the sound of falling pins to lull them to sleep. At nights on Tuesdays and weekends, they break out the blacklights for "Lightning Strikes," a sort of cross between disco and bowling--and can you get any classier than that? League bowling takes place every night except Saturdays. Did we mention they have beer?

The guys you see nightly at 10 still have a long way to go to match the accomplishments and class of Southlake resident and recent Sportscasters Hall of Fame inductee Pat Summerall. Alongside color man John Madden, the former New York Giants placekicker will be entering his 50th season as a broadcaster. During his remarkable career, he's done it all--from the U.S. Open to the Masters to Super Bowls--with a voice as rich and warm as high-dollar brandy.

Small specialty sporting goods stores, where expert athletes/salesmen carefully inspect your foot before finding just the right shoe, are an oasis for the dedicated athlete. At Run On!, a store that specializes in running shoes and gear, a salesman fitted us for a pair of Nikes with a narrow insole--just the way we like them--without telling us the cost. We expected him to say $120 or worse. The damage was much lower: $80. With three area locations, Run On! truly looks out for the consumer. It also sponsors cross-country runs and other events.
There is a time warp a-goin' on at this nondescript skating rink hidden off Northwest Highway. From the owner's tight designer jeans to the decades-old music to the four-wheel tan skates for rent to the hokeypokey, this is childhood as we remember it: chasing little girls in circles for hours to no avail. Fairly cheap birthday parties for kids make this a good retro time had by all. The only thing missing: Defender. Call for party prices and free-skate times.
We know, we know, we know, we know. How trite. How predictable. Der. We know it's the obvious choice. But this isn't the "Newest of Dallas." It's "Best of." And Hansen is still the best at what he does for two reasons: He's entertaining and smart. Sure he has a huge ego. OK, a monstrously huge ego. So? He understands that you can get your sports news anywhere, so to draw you to the increasingly irrelevant concept known as the local nightly newscast, Hansen has to make himself part of the show. We have no problem with that, so long as the performer is funny and clever and still knows more about sports than Macie Jepson, which he is and does. The only thing Hansen lacks is a catchy name, something the kids can relate to. Something like, oh, "Newy."
If you're planning to wander into the outdoors, REI will have just about anything you could possibly need. REI sells top-notch clothing and equipment for everything from camping, backpacking and canoeing to biking, skiing and rock climbing. (You can even try rock climbing in the store or sign up for one of many other outdoor group activities posted in the lobby.) These goods aren't cheap, but REI's retail prices are reasonable, particularly if you become a member. But what puts this store over the top is its sales: When they say sale, they mean it. We're talking 50 percent or more off on goods throughout the store. You don't have to become a member to shop here, but if you do, the $15 fee you spend to join will quickly turn into big savings.
This year's newcomer, the long-awaited 2-mile hike-bike trail between Reverchon Park and Knox Street, is the hit its backers said it would be. The elevated trail, set on the abandoned Missouri-Kansas-Texas railbed, runs through some of the most densely populated precincts in the city, and it's dog-eat-cyclist-eat-jogger all the way. Plans are in the works to extend the trail north to Mockingbird Lane and south to the new American Airlines Center. Eventually, it could link to Dallas' other great running path, the trail around White Rock Lake.
It's not the fanciest gym in the city, but it's a huge facility that's got up-to-date workout equipment of every variety, a full-size swimming pool, indoor and outdoor tracks and much more. But the best thing about the YMCA gym is that there are not a bunch of dudes lifting a dumbbell every five minutes and spending the rest of their time hanging onto exercise equipment talking to each other and trying to hit on the women. It may not attract an exclusive crowd, but YMCA members cut across all walks of Dallas life, and they go there to work out--including Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk and members of the Dallas City Council.
American Airlines Center
What can we say? This place is grand on nearly every level--and aesthetically pleasing as well. The luxury boxes, if you're ever fortunate enough to sit in one, are equipped with flat-screen televisions and Internet connections, while the regular-Joe seats will all have similar high-tech niceties before too long. Large concourses and windows make the experience feel more open--in contrast to Reunion Arena, which was similar to being crammed into a matchbox for three hours. Best part? According to the PR people at AAC, the new arena has an exorbitant amount of toilets, enough to ensure the lines won't be much of a hassle. So drink like fools and pee in peace.
In August, it's about 110 degrees inside; in January, it's about 40, give or take an icicle hanging off your nose. That's because Doug Eidd, the 70-year-old owner-trainer who looks about 50, doesn't believe in air conditioning or a heater or, for that matter, anything that gets in the way of a good workout. This gym, across the street from Dallas police headquarters, looks like something out of a Damon Runyon novel (from the bare bulb in the stairwell to the hole in the brick wall to the boxing ring in back) and feels like something out of an old prison movie; working out here is like lifting in the joint (or it did until a few women from nearby offices started working out at Doug's, thank God). And we wouldn't have it any other way. The equipment may be a tad rusty or stained by sweat, but who needs a froufrou health-food bar or Olympic-sized swimming pool or sauna or Jacuzzi or air conditioning, for that matter, when you're trying to drop a few pounds and firm up the flab? We go to lift, sweat, box, sweat, stretch, sweat, jump rope, sweat, throw the medicine ball, sweat and sweat. We took a guest once, and after a two-hour workout, he wanted to know, "Is this a gym or a torture chamber?" Why, yes, it is. And we know someone with the pecs to prove it: Doug Eidd, the only man in town who would have made Steve Reeves look like a little girl.

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