Stevens Park Golf Course
Not far from the Hampton Road exit off Interstate 30, Stevens Municipal Golf Course is a step back into the genteel yesteryear of North Oak Cliff. Opened in 1922, Stevens is a mature course with gentle hills, lots of trees and some nice holes. It's not too long and not too hard, but it's not easy, either. Sure, it hasn't been recently redesigned like Tenison Highlands and Cedar Crest, but it also still has greens fees of $16, as opposed to $21 at Cedar Crest and $34 at Tenison. For the regulars, Stevens has the comfortable feel of a really good pair of old golf shoes--high quality, but full of forgiveness.

Readers' Pick
Tenison Highlands Golf Course 3501 Samuell Blvd. 214-670-1402
We would've given this award to Shawn Bradley, but he remains 7 feet, 6 inches of suck. Besides, in a season in which he lost his head coach and best friend, Dirk Nowitzki found his spot among the NBA's elite. With longtime teammate Steve Nash in Phoenix and the only coach he'd ever known (Don Nelson) in retirement, Dirk led the Mavericks to a 58-24 record and the second round of the playoffs. A 7-footer able to both ram dunks and rain 3-pointers, Nowitzki finished in the top 10 in almost every offensive category and became the first Maverick named to the All-NBA First Team, meaning he is one of the five best basketball players on the planet. In other news, the Mavericks and the Dallas Observer are both 25 years old. Coincidence? Or merely a shameless plug tying us to anything remotely successful in Dallas? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Readers' Pick
Dirk Nowitzki
Skating? On blades? Outdoors? We think not. If you like your wheels rented and aerosol spray-sanitized, your venue air-conditioned and neon-lit and your décor similar to that place where you once showed off your backward skating moves during "Rock Me Amadeus," then What's Hot Fun World is the place to be. There's a strong kitsch factor with the rink's shiny, colored woods and a new but totally '80s theme with a purple/red/yellow color scheme and flames. But there's more. Those roller derby chicks dig it: The Texas Rollergirls from Austin competed at the rink in March and Assassination City Roller Derby played its premiere bout there in July. What's Hot Fun World also offers dollar skate sessions, birthday parties and themes such as teen dance and family day. It's skating the (kinda) old-fashioned way.

Readers' Pick
White Rock Lake
Stay with us. Because you'll be pissed in a second, but...trading Steve Nash was a good thing. Yes, we remember Nash dropping 39 on the Mavericks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals. We remember the three he hit with 5.9 seconds left, which sent the game to overtime, which sent the Mavericks home for the summer. But to paraphrase Senator John McCain (another Arizonan, and only a coincidence that he's included here), sometimes you must think of a cause greater than your own. Nash changed the NBA in 2005. Scoring across the league was up because of that little Canadian. Suddenly, Indiana, Boston--every team with a fast point guard, and even some without (that's you, Jamal Tinsley, you chubby)--wanted in on the Suns secret, which was no secret at all: Fast break points still win games. True, in San Antonio, defense still wins championships. But soon, an NBA team will run like the Suns and defend like the Spurs and pro basketball will be, from season's start to season's end, watchable again. And we'll have Steve Nash to thank for it.

Readers' Pick
University of Texas wins the Rose Bowl
Sincere apologies to those--you whack-jobs know who you are--who read the header and revved up your testosterone in anticipation of some freaky trifecta featuring Jessica Simpson/Amber Campisi/Laura Miller. (Lonely, lustful and longing for lost admiration, they met eyes at a shiny new homeless shelter...) Trust us, when that happens we'll be on top of it. Sorta. This award instead goes to the legendary Cowboys "triplets" of the '90s. Since they're responsible for 63,201 combined yards, 414 touchdowns and almost every big play that led the Cowboys to three Super Bowls in four years, it would have been criminal to induct them into the Ring of Honor separately. Did Aikman's pinpoint passing soften defenses and open holes for Emmitt? Or was it Emmitt's consistency on the ground that allowed Irvin the luxury of man-to-man coverage? Now that they have their proper place in Cowboys' lore, the debates can go to NFL's highest court: the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Jay Novacek, RIP. Finally. In the eight looong years since the authentic cowboy Cowboy retired to his ranch in Nebraska, fans faithfully invoked his name while grousing about the lack of a legit tight end. After all, who could forget the laughable lineage of Eric Bjornson, Tyji Armstrong, David LaFleur, Hayward Clay, Jackie Harris, Mike Lucky, Tony McGee and Dan Campbell? Enter Jason Witten. Exit the search. In his second season, Witten was Dallas' best and most reliable player, compiling the greatest year ever for a Cowboys tight end with 87 catches, 980 yards, six touchdowns and the team's first Pro Bowl representative at the position since you-know-who. Imagine if Witten would have had a decent quarterback. Speaking of, can we now get around to finding the next Troy Aikman?

Readers' Pick
Julius Jones
You could be Brad Pitt's plastic surgeon. Pavarotti's voice coach. Mark Cuban's financial advisor. Or, in the name of stealing fortune and fame for doing a job that does itself, you could become swing coach of the greatest golfer on God's green earth. In a category usually reserved for Avery Johnson (smirk), Bill Parcells (giggle), Buck Showalter (guffaw) or Dave Tippett (who?), no coach had a greater impact on a greater player than McKinney's Hank Haney. Mired in the worst and only slump of his career, Tiger Woods hired Haney into his entourage last March to help rebuild his swing. The result? Tiger won The Masters and British Open, finished second at the U.S. Open, third at the PGA and is the no-brainer Player of the Year. Maybe there's hope yet for Halle Berry's dermatologist.

Readers' Pick
Avery Johnson
The University of North Texas should change its nickname (Mean Green sounds like one of The Wiggles), its conference (Sun Belt sounds like a south Florida fashion accessory) and perhaps its city (Denton sounds like, well, Denton). No reason, however, to tamper with its football coach. The aforementioned SBC has been around four seasons and all four times Darrell Dickey has been named its Coach of the Year. UNT has won four straight league titles, 25 consecutive conference games and, yet, little or no respect. Dickey can whip Middle Tennessee State all he wants and even boast back-to-back NCAA rushing champions, but until UNT wins its bowl game or at least stays competitive with the likes of Texas and OU, he'll have to settle for the humbling claim of "We're better than Southlake Carroll!" Maybe.
Only two Rangers with more than five at-bats hit over .300 in 2005. One was Chan Ho Park. Vomit. The other--ta-da!--is our winner. Of course we'd have given this honor to Zonk or Roger Moret or Ted Williams' chilly cranium before Ho. But we digress. We do that a lot, huh? When you don't have a lot of good things to say, the ol' "digress" seems to always present itself as a viable option. See there, we did it again. Speaking of Michael Young, the All-Star shortstop had a club-record 44 hits in June, was among the league's top five in batting average all season and committed only half as many errors as bumbling Keystone partner Alfonso Soriano. Best of all, on a team embarrassed by chair-throwing, camera-hatin' assholes Frank Francisco and Kenny Rogers the last two seasons, Young reminded us that it is still possible to be good on and off the field. And to do so without steroids.

Readers' Pick
Mark Teixeira
He's paid dearly--emotionally and financially--through the years, but Dallas' sporting patriarch finally has his living legacy. Lamar Hunt, who slapped the defibrillator on soccer in the area more than a couple times, looked predictably like a proud papa when FC Dallas opened its brand spanking new Pizza Hut Park in Frisco. While Jerry Jones moved the Cowboys to the 817 for more money, Mark Cuban cut his captain to save money and Tom Hicks penny-pinched two teams into mediocrity, the 73-year-old Hunt spent $25 million of his own to make sure he left Dallas with a soccer-friendly venue. The father of the old AFL has grown into the grandfather of Dallas soccer. (And no, my dear immature friends, he doesn't have a son named Mike. Now back to your cubicles and your fluorescent lighting and your making appointments for "non-therapeutic" massages on your fancy BlackBerrys.)

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