First of all, let's correct last year's error that inexplicably awarded this distinction to the ugly and oft-interrupted Katy Trail and recognize that the best place to run in Dallas will always be White Rock Lake Park. Even on the busiest Sunday morning when every Lance Armstrong wannabe and hobby jogger is crammed into a suddenly narrow path, even when the lake is flooded and trash spills out onto the shore, even when the sun is setting on a summer day and teams of ravenous mosquitoes are looking to extract a pint of blood from anyone dumb enough to still be outside, White Rock Lake remains a runner's paradise. Name another park, not just in Dallas but in any big city in the country, where you can run nine miles--or more if you meander around the surrounding trails--and never have to move over for a car? Or another park that has water fountains, spray machines and markers for every half mile? Plus, if you run in the evening and if you're lucky, you might possibly be able to partake of a little secondhand marijuana courtesy of the random idling economy car blasting the Doors' "Riders on the Storm." At White Rock Lake, there's more than one way to get your runner's high.
To whitewater snobs, the phrase "Dallas whitewater" might seem like an oxymoron, sort of like "desert snorkeling" or "honest politician." But anybody who saw the White Rock spillway this spring saw some ferocious waves that few kayakers would tackle. What most people don't know is that after any sizable rain, the creek that fills the lake at the other end is suddenly festooned with surfable waves and tricky holes that allow experienced boaters to strut their stuff (spectators can check them out at the great play spot where Forest Lane crosses the creek). Sure, it's no Grand Canyon, but it beats driving to Arizona.
In case you've been living under a rock for the last decade: There is indeed professional soccer in the United States. Twice as many Americans watched this World Cup as did the previous edition four years ago, and while on the one hand, the national men's early exit from this year's competition says we have a ways to go, that it was even disappointing in the first place shows how far expectations have come. The fact that the United States is no longer the redheaded stepchild of soccer is largely because of the success of the domestic pro league, the MLS, and in a brand new stadium in Frisco, coach Colin Clarke and crew have quietly put together one of the best clubs in the league. So, here's your choice: You can drive all the way to Frisco and pay 10 bucks to see the future of world sport, or you can drive all the way to Irving and pay 10 times more to see Terrell Owens scream at his teammates.

Best Reason to Watch Another Boring Rangers Segment

Erin Hawksworth

We haven't been baseball fans since we were kids, mostly because we grew very tired of being disappointed by the Rangers every year (not to mention corporate ballparks, outrageous salaries and steroid scandals). But when Channel 8 sports reporter Erin Hawksworth talks baseball, we start to care again. Oh mama, do we care. We care so much, in fact, that we even looked her up on MySpace. You know, to read her insightful sports commentary. Sadly, her page has since been shut down. Red-blooded males all over the metroplex will keep watching, though. And Google-ing. And hoping.
Eisenbergs Skate Park
Before Tony Hawk, before corporate sponsors and videogames, skateboarding was what you did to scare your parents. Now parents encourage it. Oh well. There is something intrinsically cool about skateboarding that not even ESPN can ruin. So if your kids skate, or you skate yourself, there is no better place to do it than Eisenbergs up in Plano. There are bigger and perhaps better skate parks (the city-built $6 million dollar park in Allen), but when it gets hot, Eisenbergs is one of the only places you can skate without dying of heat stroke. Whether you like street or vert, Eisenbergs has it all on 30,000 square feet, about half of which is air-conditioned. Last time we visited, one of the kids skating was wearing a hat made out of a milk carton, proving that despite all corporate America has done to destroy the "sport," the kids are still all right.
Before white people came to Texas and screwed everything up, the Comanches, the Kiowas and Tonkawas smoked their pipes and made their babies on the land that is now Lake Ray Roberts State Park. When early pioneers saw this land, they of course wanted it, and much buckshot versus tomahawk violence ensued. The only good thing to come out of all of this was the formation of Ray Roberts Lake, created in 1965 to provide water to Dallas and Denton. Now Lake Ray Roberts State Park is probably the best place within an hour drive or so of downtown Dallas to go hiking. The Isle du Bois branch of the park has miles and miles of trails for hiking, as well as a paved trail for roller skating. The connected greenbelt corridor adds another 10 miles of hiking, biking and horse trails. Isle du Bois is located on Farm Road 455, 10 miles east of Interstate 35.
Bowlmor
Bowling is, by definition, the sport of trailer trash, so it's sort of weird to see what 300 Dallas has done to it. The earth tones, the blue lights, the leather couches--it's like you're walking into a bowling alley designed for MTV Cribs. And that's sorta the idea. 300 Dallas isn't for women with mullets. It's for the suits (corporate team building, as the manager put it), and that's reason enough to root for its quick demise, but just once, check this place out. You probably don't make enough to sniff Club 300, the six-lane VIP room, but poke your head in the door. This is where Marty Turco bowls. So don't stop going to Jupiter Lanes. That's what bowling is meant to be. But if you want to see how the other half lives (and by the other half we mean NBA stars and EDS-types) visit 300 Dallas.
The Exposure indoor rock climbing gym has been in its current spot since 1994, and it shows. The concrete floor is cracking in places, the paint looks old, but it's still the best climbing gym in Dallas. Want proof? This is where climbers who work at other gyms come when they want a challenge. The gym is also home to Kyle Clinkscales, coach of the three-time defending national champion youth climbing team. His adult team has also won the national championship. Coach Kyle has designed many of the routes, which means Exposure has a little bit of something for everyone, from the novice climber to the veteran looking for a challenge or a little bit of practice.
There aren't that many spots in the city where you can truly get muddy. That's why bikers, hikers and even birders cherish the miles of trail along the Trinity in L.B. Houston Park. Ignore the golf course and tennis courts and head straight into the woods. What you get is a shady (and after a rain, usually muddy) hike that twists and turns through trees, along the river bank and across open meadows. The route is flat, the trailhead is easy to find, and the path itself is often deserted. It's a surprising stretch of wilderness in the midst of urban sprawl.
Just how gifted is the giant German? Who else could make first-team All-NBA, hang half a hundred on best friend Steve Nash in the Western Conference Finals, lead his team within 4 1/2 quarters of an NBA Championship, reboot the popularity of David Hasselhoff, put Mark Cuban in his place and still somehow call it an empty year? Solidifying himself as one of the best basketball players on the planet, Dirk drastically improved his post-up game and his crunch-time aggressiveness (the driving three-point play over Manu Ginobli in Game 7 against the Spurs is, to this point, his career apex). Just as important, he established himself as the franchise's unapproachable leader. During the WCF trophy presentation he quietly slipped into the background. And after Cuban's embarrassing, debilitating antics in The Finals, Nowitzki publicly warned him to chill it down. A star is almost born.

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