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.

Entering the season, we thought this would go to whichever player stayed awake longest on the sideline. But the past year served as a basketball renaissance in Big D. No one was a more integral part of the turnaround than Steve Nash. Sure, Dirk Nowitzki and Michael Finley played well (and Mark Cuban is crazy, so he got points for that), but Nash made the team go. The diminutive point guard pushed them into the playoffs, where the Mavericks somehow came back from a two-game deficit to vanquish the hated Utah Jazz for the club's first playoff series win since...um...hold on...since a long time (solid research is the key to these annual awards). Aside from working his way around the court in that frantic, side-to-side style, aside from dishing out assists and raising his scoring average, Nash also became a fan favorite. His biggest contribution, though, is the hope he gives to unkempt men everywhere. Despite his messed hair and goofy smile, Nash pulls in tail. (See next item.)
Do you actually think that standing there at the 7-Eleven counter causing a backlog while you pick out six numbers is going to make one iota of difference in your chances of early retirement? Give it up, pal. Just take your scratch cards and get away from the counter so we can buy our Marlboros, OK? If you really feel the need to throw away your hard-earned money, here's a better option: Go out to Lone Star Park, where for just $3 admission you can spend all day flushing your money at a place custom built for people like you. Instead of standing next to the smoothie machine, you can enjoy the sights and sounds of live racing. And you can still cling to your silly little superstitions about lucky numbers, combinations and color schemes, but at least you can make an educated guess while you dream of bringing home a winner. Live racing resumes September 20.

He's better known for his passing skills and outside jumper, but Steve Nash has more than proven he knows how to rebound. After splitting with his "friend" Geri Halliwell, a.k.a. Ginger Spice, Nash hooked up with Elizabeth Hurley while she was in town filming Servicing Sarah. How's that for trading up? Maybe Mark Cuban should keep an eye on Nash as a future general manager. Or maybe he should just try to get Nash to help him out with the ladies.

Richardson Bike Mart
Courtesy of Richardson Bike Mart
What is that feeling that overcomes us each time we wander into this two-wheeler superstore in the hinterlands to the north? Our palms sweat; our breathing becomes shallow; a goofy grin spreads across our mug; and we lose the ability to blink. Ah, yes...gear lust. Do we really need that nifty carbon-fiber, rear-suspension frame? Do we need a $3,000 poor-man's Porsche? We do. We do. We do. If you don't believe us, you've never experienced gear lust--or you're our wife. Although there are a few decent small bike shops in the Dallas area--including a smaller version of Richardson Bike Mart near White Rock Lake--this is Mecca for cyclists, offering everything from a full line of clothing, to bike-related coffee-table gewgaws, to a wide variety of recumbent, road, touring and mountain bikes.

There are a lot of good "hockey players" on the Stars roster. Mike Modano. Brenden Morrow. Jamie Langenbrunner. Ed Belfour. The list goes on. But everyone knows that hockey is still the bastard child of the four pro sports. C'mon, skating skills and shooting? Who cares? But large men going full speed with the singular mindset of mashing the opponent's teeth through his skull? Now that's compelling. No one's more adept at laying down the smackdown than Derian Hatcher. The team captain is also its best defender and most vicious enforcer. Pity those who cross him, as was the case in the hard-hitting first-round playoff series against Edmonton when several Oilers were checked mercilessly by everyone's favorite brute. It's a civil service, and well-performed at that.
Lakewood Country Club
From what we hear, the Lakewood Country Club has good food, a good pro shop and a good golf course. Of course, none of this is the point. The great part about Lakewood Country Club, for all you non-golfers with an adventurous spirit, is that the course is split on either side by Brookside Drive and La Vista, near Gaston. Now, the good people at LCC surrounded the course with a large fence, but that shouldn't stop you. When you're driving by, just when the golfer/target of your choice has reached his backswing, yell out the window or honk your horn. Or, if you're really into it, get out of your car and dance and cluck like a chicken while insulting his mother. The golfers will love it. Really. Then just stand back and absorb the colorful reactions.
Being out at the Ballpark these past few seasons has been a lot like getting a hot-sauce enema. Minutes seem like hours, and your ass gets itchy very quickly. Easing some of that pain, or at least doing his best to make everyone's job go a little more smoothly, has been Gabe Kapler. Where some, if not most, professional athletes run when they see a reporter or fan coming, Kapler is the rare player who will almost always give his time. Earlier this year, while he was on the disabled list and rehabbing in some god-awful town in Oklahoma, Kapler even took time out of his rehab schedule to do an interview with the Observer. This is a point of interest considering half the players don't know what the Observer is. Oh, and he's a decent hitter and fields well and all that jazz, so bully for Gabe. That, and we're afraid of him and his muscles, which pop from his shirt like overinflated balloons. See, Gabe, we told you you'd get this award. Now just don't hurt us.

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