Best Star 2006 | Mike Modano | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Quick, name another Dallas Stars player. Didn't think so. Ol' Mo retains his title because he's still a serviceable player and still the face of the increasingly anonymous franchise. Last year Modano was 33rd in scoring in the NHL, a fact we placed right behind Keith Richards falling out of a coconut tree in Fiji on the "Hmm, that's interesting" scale. But, of course, we're too busy scarfing down marijuana muffins at lunch to be bothered by hockey, so screw us. Modano ain't perfect either. He was the prima donna that whined about the inferior amenities during the Winter Olympics and was a non-factor as the Stars were wiped out of the playoffs in the first round. But Jussi Jokinen can score all the shootout goals he wants, and Marty Turco can fall on his face at a time when goalies need to stand on their head; Modano remains. Without him, hockey in this town might already be a memory. And Primo's might go out of business.
If you're an aspiring boxer hell-bent on blood, sweat and tears, get your ass down to old-school Doug's Gym on Commerce Street. For the rest of us--ahhhh--to the paradise with the palm trees. The new Life Time Fitness on Highway 121 in Allen is like a five-star resort, complete with more than enough amenities to serve us peculiar, pampered types who want the oxymoronic experience of working out in total comfort. Ya know: no pain, no pain. There are indoor and outdoor pools. A caf with a full-service bar. A spa resplendent in cosmetic services. Courts for basketball, racquetball and squash. Locker rooms with free towels and big-screen TVs. A computer center. Financial services. Even a rock-climbing wall and water slides for the kids. Oh yeah, and they got some weights up in there too. All that for like $100 a month. So we ask you, why not just live here?
Some of us around here are of the less-Christian persuasion, and we belong to the JCC; kinda have to, though not as much as you did only a few years back. We can tell that from the rather empty addition that recently opened at the JCC--the sprawling new sports facility that includes two indoor pools (one heated for the very young and very old, one built for the more lap-swimming-inclined), a great indoor track and all the high-tech workout amenities you need to keep pace with the hipper gyms these days. Technically, the place is called the "Medical City Natatorium and Fitness Complex at the J," since Medical City was partner in the place, and you'd think with that powerhouse behind it, the complex would be packed. Not so much. We have our theories: Goyim think you need to be Jewish to belong, or they just don't know about the place, since it's being marketed as well as bacon and cheese sandwiches at a Chabad House. Really, people: Sure, it's not quite the same as working out at Premier Club; fewer MILFs, more migrs, but still.
It's like picking our favorite child. Or choosing just one Basia ballad to squeeze onto the iPod. Dallas Desperados quarterback Clint Dolezel threw 11 touchdowns in one game. Area teams swept the Class 5A, 4A and 3A boys' high school basketball championships in Austin. And the Dallas Cup soccer tournament hosted a spunky team from war-torn Iraq. But nothing made us feel more alive--like we'd arrived--than the Mavs' 119-111 overtime victory over the hated Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Western Conference Semifinals last May 22. The Mavs advanced to the Finals and got within 6:30 of a 3-0 lead over the Miami Heat, but there wasn't a bigger combo of relief/joy than eliminating the Spurs. It started with Dirk Nowitzki's gutsy drive to the basket and three-point play in the last minute of regulation. We were all Dallas in Wonderland. Our star had matured. Our team had finally conquered its nemesis. This just had to be our year. And then, with an assist from Mayor Laura Miller's premature plans for a parade, the biggest collapse since Bob Dole ran out of Viagra.
Like 9-year-olds with acute ADD, we were all fixated on the firing of SMU basketball coach Jimmy Tubbs. Then--lookie, over here!--we got totally distracted by Matt Doherty. Cool! Sure it's silly and even unfair that Tubbs was sent packing for simply giving players free hamburgers and laundry detergent. But Doherty? We've actually heard of him! He may turn out to be the worst fad since ciabatta bread, but he did play with Michael Jordan and coach at North Carolina and Notre Dame. He gives the Mustangs instant cred, if not immediate success. The impact? Doherty, who boldly calls SMU the "Duke of Dallas," has put the Ponies back on the basketball map for the first time since John Koncak lumbered around Moody Coliseum. New athletic director Steve Orsini says the school has already raised 80 percent of the $13 million needed for a new practice facility. Illegal or otherwise, Tubbs couldn't have pulled that rabbit out of his hat.
Maybe it wasn't Moody Madness, but no denying it was a Love affair. When the Mavericks toppled the Spurs in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals last May, Dallas went all High School Musical giddy over its hoops. A couple thousand fans--waiting for a basketball title in Dallas since Sanger met Harris--showed up at Love Field around midnight to welcome the team's charter plane home from San Antonio. It's the kind of reception usually reserved for the Cowboys arriving or Laura Miller leaving. The Mavs sold out every game in 2005-'06, pushing their sellout streak to 4 1/2 years and 194 consecutive regular-season games. Just as impressive, when Jason Terry got suspended a game for sucker-punching the Spurs' Michael Finley, Mavs fans--even former owners Don Carter and Ross Perot Jr.--showed up at American Airlines Center wearing his No. 31 jersey in unwavering support. Bravo.
It wasn't the most direct or devastating blow, but it was the most notable. And given the pussy-foot punches thrown by Evander Holyfield against Jeremy Bates and by Rangers reliever Scott Feldman against Angels infielder Adam Kennedy, Mavericks guard Jason Terry's quick jab to the jewels of San Antonio's Michael Finley was the most powerful punch of the year. Except, that is, for the fruit-bowl concoction that sneaked up on us at the W Hotel sneak preview party, but we digress. Meanwhile, Terry's sucker slap was so obscure we didn't even catch it live on TV. After a day of the NBA league office studying tape and Finley sitting on an ice pack, however, Terry was suspended for one game. And, somehow, Finley turned into the least deserving Public Enemy No. 1 in Dallas history.
Funny--no, make that creepy--that the most memorable Rangers play of the season almost never happens in a Rangers game. Like Hank Blalock's All-Star Game-winning homer in 2003 or All-Star Game MVP Alfonso Soriano's three-run blast off Roger Clemens in '04, Michael Young's two-out, two-run, game-winning triple in last summer's All-Star Game is again the team's defining moment. On an underachieving team dragged down by the delusions of owner Tom Hicks and the morose managerial style of Buck Showalter, Young again provided one of the few reasons not to give up on baseball and instead waste our lives making appointments for "non-therapeutic" massages on our Blackberrys. He has a better game--but not better highlights--than teammate Gary Matthews Jr. and better stats--but not a better Q rating--than Yankees' shortstop Derek Jeter. Reminding us that it's still possible to be good off the field without a posse and good on the field without steroids, Young is the only reason left to make the trek to Arlington.
Stay with us on this one, because it's tricky. A legendary broadcaster already in the Texas Radio Hall of Fame and someday headed for the Cowboys' Ring of Honor, Sham is these days putting pen to paper at This award, of course, is as much an indictment of the area's pathetically weak mainstream voices as it is Sham's considerable talent. In a local sports-writing landscape that has deteriorated into a predictably boring Chili's menu, columnists such as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Randy "Big Bill" Galloway and The Dallas Morning News' Tim "Boy, Will Ferrell Sure Is Funny" Cowlishaw routinely roll out painfully obvious "Life: Good; Death: Bad" drivel. Sham, meanwhile, is constructing a nice hobby as an insider with insight. Read Sham's columns, for example, and learn why former Cowboy Larry Allen wears No. 71 in San Francisco (to honor Mark Tuinei). Sham is one of the few journalists with the balls to ask Bill Parcells a tough question and the cred to criticize the coach when he doesn't give an honest answer.
Who else among you dares to refer to Bill Parcells as "a dick"? He doesn't have Mike Doocy's hair, Babe Laufenberg's history or Newy Scruggs' hipness, but Dale Hansen still has the metroplex mesmerized because he is both plugged in and unplugged. Because of personal and professional conflicts with the team, Hansen admits his WFAA-Channel 8 is pulling back on its Cowboys coverage this season. That in no way, however, means Hansen will tug the reins on his bullish opinions or brutal honesty. He kicked off training camp in Oxnard, California, by directing football-specific questions to owner Jerry Jones instead of coach Parcells. "I did it mostly because he's a dick," Hansen said of Parcells. "Trust me, Channel 8 is through doing positive stories on the Cowboys." Stay tuned. We know you will.

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