Best Local TV Personality 2023 | Mark Followill | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Dallas has long been home to one of the most prolific and flexible sports television play-by-play announcers in the country. Many are familiar with the deep-voiced Mark Followill for his always stellar performance on Dallas Mavericks broadcasts, but now soccer fans across the U.S. and beyond can hear the former FC Dallas broadcaster weekly as one of the featured play-by-play voices for Apple TV's inaugural season as exclusive rightsholder for Major League Soccer matches. The man who has called many nationally televised college football games and even World Cup soccer matches has teamed up with a different, unfamiliar TV partner each week this season and has still made it sound way too easy.

When popular 1310 The Ticket personalities Dan McDowell and Jake Kemp resigned in July, it seemed as though it would be a while before we heard from the hosts of The Hang Zone again. But less than a week later the duo released the first episode of their new podcast, The Dumb Zone. The Ticket's parent company quickly requested the show to cease and desist, and when the show kept cranking out episodes on its Patreon page, the company sued McDowell and Kemp for violating the non-compete clause in their contracts. As July rolled into August, more legal developments continued and the pair kept discussing them on new episodes and in media interviews. Passionate listeners devoured every juicy detail made publicly available in court filings. Good thing they made a lot of money through subscribers. Attorneys aren't cheap.

Nathan Hunsinger

If you've never visited the T. Boone Pickens YMCA downtown, you may think this is a sentimental pick. The building is likely to become something other than a gym in the near future thanks to a $12 million sale. But those who've used their lunch breaks to play a game of pickup basketball or have skipped happy hour to do a few extra reps in the expansive weight room there know this spot has it all. For decades, having a convenient gym did not require sacrificing quality of selection when it came to fitness classes, swimming, weights, racquetball and so much more offered by the Y on Akard Street. Should the downtown location eventually be no more, Dallas will be one of the very few major American cities without a downtown YMCA gym, and that's not a good look.

Is it really true, as Christopher Cross sang, that "if the wind is right you can sail away / And find serenity"? We're asking for ... um ... a friend, see? Yeah, this friend went sailing on the Pacific one time and didn't find serenity. He found out that projectile vomiting is a real thing. But we must admit, a recent recommendation to try out Sail With Scott on Lake Ray Hubbard looks tempting enough to risk a little motion sickness. The company offers group and private trips aboard Seawolf, a 40-foot-long by 25-foot-wide sailing catamaran, hand-built from beautiful Spanish cedar by founder Scott Self and a team of workers over a two-year period. Self captained the boat on cruises from 2008 until his death from cancer in 2020. His family continues the operation, setting sail from the Harbor in Rockwall. Seawolf seats up to 49 on its open deck, and it offers sunset, starlight and daytime cruises of one hour to 90 minutes. The Seawolf is also available to book for private charters.

Courtesy of Texas Discovery Gardens

At the rate the climate is changing, it may be that one day people in Dallas will walk out their front doors into a tropical rainforest filled with glimmering, colorful butterflies and moths in their native habitat. But why wait five years? The two-story Rosine Smith Sammons Butterfly House and Insectarium at Texas Discovery Gardens offers a climate-controlled environment chock full of dozens of species of moths and butterflies, tropical plants and a special emergence chamber where the lucky can see butterflies emerge from their cocoon. The chance to see a glowing emerald work of magic like the African moon moth or an aptly named piano key postman butterfly with the key-like markings on its wings is well worth the modest price of admission ($12 for adults, $6 for kids and $10 for seniors). So, go appreciate these exotic beauties now, before the environment changes and you find yourself chasing them away from your tomato plants in the near future.

If we were being honest, the correct answer right now would be "indoors on a treadmill in a meat locker at night," but those are hard to come by. Besides, the serious runners of Dallas are a devoted enough bunch that they aren't going to let a little thing like imminent death from Satan's blast furnace stop them from gearing up for a jog outdoors. They want a view, too, and the 4.6-mile Trinity Skyline Trail has one of the best views of downtown. There's not a ton of shade, but the trail runs alongside both sides of the river and offers access to Trammell Crow Park, Continental Avenue Bridge and West Dallas Gateway and the Trinity Overlook. Dallas' trail system is ever-expanding and plans are to connect to the Trinity Strand Trail, which itself will eventually link a network of 73 miles of trails.

What does one want from a recreational softball league? Well, access to beer is always a plus. Not having to play with any douchebag who thinks it proper to yell at an umpire at a freakin' softball game is also desirable. Generally, the goal is fun, friendliness and good sportsmanship without too much stress. That being the case, it's hard to top a league whose mission statement says the league is "dedicated to the promotion of quality amateur softball of all levels of play for persons of any race, creed, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or national origin, without prejudice." The league emphasizes drawing players from the LGBTQ+ community, but welcomes everybody with a firm rule against mean, intolerant people. Teams are organized by skill level and include drafts of free agents to bring new faces to the teams. Everyone is expected to field and bat, and the fee for a season of 10–12 games — mostly held at McInnish Sports Complex in Carrollton — is just $70 per player. The end of August was the deadline to sign up for the upcoming fall season, but the league offers a spring season, tournament play and events throughout the year, including fundraisers to help send local teams to the Gay Softball World Series.

Golfers have golf shops. Ditto for tennis players, cyclists and runners. Gun fans have stores catering to their needs on every other block in Texas. But sometimes bigger is just better, and sporting goods stores don't get much bigger than Cabela's. Inside the walls of these massive stores is a one-stop wonderland for all your outdoor sporting needs. You can buy the state license to shoot or hook the animal of your choice, plus acquire the gun and ammo, rod and reel, blind or boat and whatever other gear needed to clean and cook your catch along with a nice tent and sleeping bag to relax after your grand day outdoors. If team sports with balls are more your thing, you have plenty of options. But if you're ready to get back into the great outdoors now that the blast furnace of summer is finally loosening its grip, Cabela's has the clothing, power tools and countless other accessories perfect for when you're ready to venture away from your A.C.

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