The poor sumbitch. He's already a sure Hall of Fame inductee, and sometime later this season he's going to usurp Walter Payton's stranglehold on the NFL's all-time leading rusher throne. And yet the guy always has this terrible, foreboding look on his face. But wouldn't you? Wouldn't you perfect that look if you had won three Super Bowls with the likes of Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin only to be later cast in with a lot of nobodies and never-will-bes? Can't you just hear Emmitt when they told him that Quincy Carter would be the starting quarterback again? Wait, what did you say, Jerry? As a final note, we suggest that "Taps" play before and after every Pokes game.

We're actually toying with the idea of renaming this the Mark Cuban Award, or at least giving him a subdivision to call his own. Either way, Cubes is the man when it comes to drawing unnecessary attention to himself. That Dairy Queen thing? Nothing but an appetizer before the main course: Tim Rogers' balls. When Cuban threatened to slice the "fucking nuts" off of the D magazine editor--Rogers wanted to do a blurb on Cuban's fiancee--he locked up a lifetime achievement award in this category. Way to go, Mark, we're proud of you. But when you graduate to kicking the homeless, be sure you give us enough of a heads-up to send Jim Schutze out for a column. We suggest he spend less time playing Mark Soprano and more time helping his coach-GM find a center. Which brings us to...

At press time, there was no word on Manute Bol's religious affiliation, so Shawn Bradley takes the award. (Also, Bol was an inch too tall.) Bradley is entering his 10th NBA season and seventh with the Mavericks. Dallas, if you didn't know it before, you're a lucky town. This guy runs the floor with grace, has soft hands, an even temper and a mean jumper...or something. Actually, he has nothing. And his ability to dunk the ball is breathtaking. That's something you don't see much in the NBA--dunking--so it's good to have a guy who can throw one down. What's that you say? He misses them sometimes? He gets blocked sometimes? Mere details. If he knocked on our door, we'd convert. Or buy him a shot.

He's semi-retired, now appearing only in the Saturday editions, but for an engaging writing style, insight and dead-on perspective on local sports, he's still at the head of the class. Starting at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, then moving to the Dallas Times Herald and finally the News, Luksa has seen and written about it all. A winner of multiple awards, he's watched the transformation of the city's sports landscape for four decades--from Tom Landry and the Cowboys' 1960 inaugural season to the recent emergence of the Dallas Mavericks. He makes the price of a Saturday paper a real bargain. Unless you turn to the editorial pages; then you might be due a refund.

Tenison Park Golf Course

Dallas' first public golf course, the place where Lee Trevino got his start, stands as a sharp reminder that city government can sometimes get things right. With its two courses and extensive range and teaching facility, Tenison is an everyman's country club. It hosts 36 holes at two price levels. Tenison Highlands was refurbished in 2000 with five new lakes, smoother greens and 32 new bunkers and sports fees in line with its upper-end conditioning. Tenison Glen is a hilly, creekside affair more or less unchanged since 1914. You can hike this venerable course Monday through Thursday for a very democratic $14.

Something special happened in South Dallas last winter. First, coach Leonard Bishop's boys' basketball team completed its season with a 40-0 record and the state Class AAAA championship. But that was just the beginning of the good news. Soon after, the growing list of national schoolboy rankings, led by the prestigious USA Today and Prep Hoops USA polls, added to the accolades. Lincoln became the first Dallas schoolboy team ever to be selected the No. 1 team in the nation.

It may no longer be the newest venue in the area, but the 50,000-seat masterpiece is still the most enjoyable spot for the sports fan to visit. It's comfy, clean, fan-friendly and, face it, you can't beat fresh summer night air when you're watching a game. Often called one of the best parks in the big leagues, it's fun even when the hosting Rangers bullpen is off its game, which, we know, means three out of every four on a homestand. (Insert your generic Rangers pitching joke here.) But the reason the park is so wonderful is that there is so much more to it than the baseball being played on the field (much to Tom Hicks' eternal gratitude). There's the Game Baseball Museum and Children's Learning Center, the Grand Slam Gift Shop, Bullpen Café and Friday's Front Row Grill, plenty of rest rooms and concession stands. Opened in 1994, The Ballpark remains as much an attraction as the games played inside. Check that: more so.

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