Best Place to Watch Sports With a Famous Athlete

Ten Sports Grill

Ten Sports Grill
The night before they whipped the Mavs in Game 1 on their way to an epic series upset, the Golden State Warriors chilled here. The night after he finished a season in which he averaged more assists than everybody not named Steve Nash, Utah Jazz star Deron Williams celebrated here. This season SMU basketball coach Matt Doherty and Cowboys top draft pick Anthony Spencer will both host weekly events here. Nash, Shaquille O'Neal, Michael Finley and Eduardo Najera make it a regular stop when in town. There are more expansive and more expensive joints, but the bar at the corner of Main and Field adjacent to the Adolphus Hotel has evolved into a magnet for famous faces. With fresh fish and salads on the menu, Ten's food will make you forget you're in a sports bar. The clientele, however, will remind you.

Best Player You Wouldn't Recognize on the Street

Clint Dolezel

Not that many 6-foot-5, 205-pound guys with short hair, graying temples and matching goatees roaming our streets. Even fewer with 800 career touchdown passes. And even fewer, for what it's worth, walking around with Everson Walls' kidney. Point is, Dolezel, 37, is perhaps the greatest quarterback in the history of indoor football, but you wouldn't recognize him from Ron Springs, or Adam. He's already got an Arena Football League championship (with Grand Rapids in 2001), was last year's MVP and this year led the Dallas Desperados to a league-record 15-1 regular season before—all together now—a first-round upset loss in the playoffs. While Tony Romo makes $1.5 million and holds Carrie Underwood's purse, Dallas' other quarterback makes $100,000 and merely holds records. Maybe his next goal—1,000 touchdowns—will cure his anonymity. Probably not.
Hawley's Billiards
Here's the only bad thing about Hawley's: It's a neighborhood bar as much as it is a pool hall, and everybody who plays there pretty much knows each other. In fact, the manager estimates that night in and night out, he knows 90 percent of the clientele. But even if you are a stranger, they'll welcome you with open arms, so long as you know how to play pool. This place is everything you'd imagine a pool hall should be: plenty of tables, good music, cheap beer and smoky as hell. This is a place where you can have some fun, but it's also for serious pool players, the sort who make instructional tapes and win national championships. And if you don't have your own equipment, don't worry. There's a billiards store next door.
Yes, by default. Kinda the same way he made this year's American League All-Star team—because the rules mandate at least one representative from each team. Even the really crappy ones kept afloat by Kameron Loe and Marlon Byrd and, at 23-42, written off along with our taxes in April. Who are we to break from baseball tradition? No one, that's who. Therefore, we're crowning as "best" Ranger a shortstop who has hit below .290 most of the season, went a whole month without an extra-base hit and recently produced his annual bitch session about the team's directionless direction. Blah blah blah. Michael Finley never cried for help, not even in the Mavs' darkest moments. Young is a great player and a good guy, but if he wants to join baseball's elite—and if he expects to win this prestigious honor again next season—he needs less lip and more leadership.
It's probably not a coincidence that the best male and female runners in Dallas happen to share the same bed. Both Andrew and Melissa Cook are not only just the fastest runners in town over just about any distances, they have each qualified for the Olympic Trials. Melissa hit the standard in the 10K by running a blistering 32:31.85 on the track at Stanford University, which equals out to 5:15 per mile pace for 6.2 miles, or faster than all but a handful of men in Dallas could run. Andrew Cook, meanwhile, qualified to run the Olympic Trials marathon in New York this November after running a 2:19 marathon in Austin, which makes him the fastest marathoner in Dallas by 10 or so minutes. Like most top-shelf distance runners, both Cooks are rather modest and soft-spoken, but when the gun goes off, they grab the lead and don't let go.
The Edge at Allen Station Park
Try as it might, corporate America hasn't yet succeeded in sanitizing the joy out of skateboarding. Eisenberg's in Plano has installed air conditioning, Cyclone in McKinney is being converted into a church and long ago ESPN2 strangled us with the X Games. But at the $6 million, 38,000-square-foot complex in Allen, you can still indulge in skateboarding without a hint of commercialism. (Great, so we get the Bush Library and let a radical concrete playground escape to the 'burbs? Thanks again, Mayor Miller!) Part of Allen Station Park, The Edge includes a multi-level skate park, two roller-hockey rinks and a killer BMX dirt track with 900 feet of dusty berms and 10 gnarly jumps. Admission—we hope you're sitting down—is free. Good to know the state's biggest outdoor skate facility can also be its coolest.
PGA Tour Superstore
Screw foreplay, this place is downright orgasmic—if, that is, you get aroused milling around a former old Plano Home Depot warehouse filled with sports memorabilia, a gazillion Izods, two bajillion clubs, a tennis court, a putting green, a chipping area complete with sand trap and countless driving range stalls equipped with computer analysis, simulated courses and a daily $50 closest-to-the-pin contest. Go in for a casual Sunday afternoon look-see and by the time you leave it'll be Tuesday. You'll get the usual golf gabfest about two-downs, three-putts, snowmen and worn-out impressions of Carl Spackler. But if you need anything to improve your game or at least a gadget to distract you from how seriously you suck, this is the place. Out front there is a Hummer golf cart selling for a cool $12,435. Like the sign says, "This is big."
Once upon a time, the sports gods smiled upon the sports fans of North Texas, which was a nice thing to do considering they'd been acting like jerks lately, what with none of the area teams surviving playoffs. In compensation, the game-friendly gods gave us "Mandy" and "Lauren," two Tarrant County-born, sports-obsessed 20-somethings with access to Blogger, digital cameras and too much free time. The result? Girls Gone Sports, the funniest, snarkiest sports blog on the 'net. GGS combines the newsiness of Deadspin, the sluttiness of Wonkette and the celebrity roasting-ness of Perez Hilton, sprinkled with shots of the GGS bloggers' cleavage alongside items like framed photos of Tony Romo. Instead of a "mock draft," the ladies held a "cock draft," and we suggest you check out the site to see what their prestigious "Panty Creamer of the Week" award is all about. These lady sports bloggers really have some balls.
Sadly, this was a helluva race. And, no, smart-ass, Bill Parcells and Buck Showalter didn't even make the ballot. Wilford "Crazy Ray" Jones and his trademark whistling left us in March after 43 years entertaining at Cowboys games. Lamar Hunt died in December, capping a remarkable career in which, among countless other highlights, he birthed soccer in Dallas and coined the sorta familiar name "Super Bowl." But the real kick to the crotch came in September when Byron Nelson ascended to the 19th hole. Known as "Lord Byron" for his elegant swing and eloquent manner, Nelson had the greatest single season in the history of golf in 1945 and proceeded to brand his name on the biggest fund-raising tournament on the PGA Tour. The EDS Byron Nelson Classic has raised almost $100 million for charities. Here's hoping Byron's tournament doesn't die with him.
In a year that saw the Stars, Mavs, Cowboys and even the damn Desperados eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, this is like having to choose which sister to kiss. Sisters named Phyllis Diller, Rosie O'Donnell and Tammy Faye Bakker. But on the afternoon of November 19, 2006, all was right. Making his first home start, Tony Romo completed 19 of 23 passes, Marion Barber ran for two fourth-quarter touchdowns and the Cowboys' defense picked off Peyton Manning twice in a 21-14 victory that ended the Colts' undefeated season at 9-0 and had coach Bill Parcells cawing, "If we keep playing like this, we have a chance to do something." The Cowboys, 6-4 after the monumental win, peaked at 8-4 and lost to Seattle in the playoffs while the Colts, if we remember correctly, played significantly better as the season progressed.

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