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Best Of :: Sports & Recreation

Best Place to Get Shipwrecked
Trapper Nelson's at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

They really need to make a movie about Vincent Nostokovich, AKA Trapper Nelson. According to legend, he grew up trapping muskrats in New Jersey during the industrial revolution. He ran away from home to Mexico but was arrested by Federales for gunrunning. So he headed back East with ten cents to his name, grew that into a living wage by gambling, and landed in South Florida. With a loan, he bought vast swaths of land — 800 acres eventually — where he trapped animals and sold their fur and meat. Weird rumors about him abounded — he could eat 18 eggs for breakfast, he dined on raw 'possum — but his reputation soared when he turned his land into a tourist stop and zoo and began wrestling alligators. Next thing, the six-foot-four beefcake was nicknamed "Tarzan of the Loxahatchee River" and started dating beautiful heiresses. He married but was drafted for World War II. Upon his return, he found his wife cheating and his tax bills piling up. He went cuckoo, chasing visitors from his land and becoming a recluse. Nelson was found dead in 1968 with a gunshot wound to his stomach. Was it suicide, as authorities ruled, or was he murdered? Conspiracy theorists have noted that men wanted his girlfriends, thieves wanted his treasure (rangers in 1984 found coins stashed in his chimney), and the government wanted his land — which it eventually got and made part of Jonathan Dickinson State Park. You're not supposed to camp here, but tour boats and canoes make pit stops. If you visit, see if the trapper's ghost will tell you the truth — locals have reported multiple sightings.

16450 Southeast Federal Highway, Hobe Sound, 33455
MAP
772-546-2771
Best Way to Meet Young Professionals

Working 14-hour days and eating meals in your car isn't really conducive to making a love connection. Emerge Broward is the answer. The Fort Lauderdale-based networking organization boasts 500-plus members and frequent events, which feature anything from a happy hour on Las Olas to community service projects elsewhere in the county. A meetup at Tundra earlier this year was just drinks, handshakes, and all the fried goat cheese you could fit in your face — though if you're trying to land a hottie, maybe keep the cheese-pile servings to under a dozen. Membership is $25 a year, and getting acclimated is as easy as showing up and slapping on a nametag. The friendly faces will do the rest.

Best Gym
Synergize Crossfit

Shondelle Solomon-Miles, AKA "Coach," has a body as impossibly skinny and taut as Iggy Pop's, a look as fierce as Nicki Minaj's, and a way of making you obey that's like Mom when she means business. Coach's B.A. from Columbia University and master's degree from the University of Miami don't hurt either. At her gym, Synergize, she follows the standard Crossfit methods of team workouts consisting of hard-core, old-school moves like jumping jacks, dead lifts, burpees, sprints, and the terrifying-sounding Turkish get-ups. Whereas other Crossfit gyms can feel too aggro, Solomon-Miles has a winning supply of motherly warmth: Eat foods that are "supportive," she says; push through your fears, she guides. There's also her no-bullshit, get-it-done, drill-sergeant toughness. Men and women alike, she will work you — and then make it all better with a smoothie from the juice bar at the end of class. True, the price ($159 to $199 per month) is steep, but the results are undeniable.

1200 N. Federal Highway, Hollywood, 33020
MAP
954-924-4465
Best Bowling Alley
Manor Lanes Bowling Center

The big, beat-up building just off of Wilton Drive is exactly as vintage as it's supposed to be — the door handles are sticky, and the carpet showcases the standard "bowling pin and explosions" theme, but the lanes are clean, the balls are heavy, and — most important — the games and drinks are cheap. Ten bucks will get you unlimited bowling on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m., and their ordinarily cheap drinks get even cheaper during happy hour, from 4 to 7: Domestic pitchers cost $6.50 to $9, and 16-ounce beers are two bucks a pop. A good place to bowl; a great place to drink. What else do you need?

1517 NE 26th St., Wilton Manors, 33305
MAP
954-566-7457
Best Place to Meet Intelligent Men
Retro Arcade Night at Arcade Game Sales

The vibe in the Retro Arcade isn't exactly a dimly lit cafe where patrons debate Kant or Joyce over glasses of malbec. But there is a special sort of intelligence to be found at the Retro Arcade Night. The monthly gathering brings together the humble stoners; future, present, and former rocket scientists; and perhaps even a retired English professor. And while any female met at this event is likely to be of the superbrained variety as well, she is a bit harder to come by than the dude-nerds. Let's just say the girl/guy ratio at this party is slightly more slanted than a pinball machine.

279 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Oakland Park, 33334
MAP
954-270-6949
Best Sports Enigma

"Right now, it's time to win in court and then tell the people what the real deal is." That's how Dan Borislow responded to New Times' emailed request for an interview. The media, particularly sports website Deadspin, hasn't been kind to the three-wheeled-motorcycle-riding, West Palm Beach millionaire who made his fortune in the late 1990s in the telecom industry and a decade later invented the magicJack. In December 2010, Borislow spent big to acquire a women's soccer team, move it to Boca Raton, and name it after the magicJack — only to be accused of single-handedly destroying the Women's Professional Soccer league in the ensuing months. The litany of weirdness includes a former player who alleges that Borislow made her call him "daddy;" the firing of a well-respected coach who got the team off to a 3-0 start; emails Borislow sent to league brass calling them a "bunch of blithering idiots"; and rumors that he benched players and threatened their careers if they raised concerns about these antics. In the wake of all the bad publicity, the magicJack team was suspended and the league canceled its 2012 season. It's a tragedy, especially since the magicJack was stacked with talent; the roster included several players from the women's World Cup Soccer team that made a run in 2011 and would have given the league a fighting chance. We're eagerly waiting for litigators to wrap up the show so Borislow can finally tell us the real deal.

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Best Place to Get Shipwrecked: Trapper Nelson's at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

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