Sports & Recreation

  • Personal Best: Soccerwatch

    Larry Wald, club owner

    When your business is nightclubs, you want to spend some time in the fresh air. From time to time, you want to stretch out in grassy open space. That's why Larry Wald, owner of Cathode Ray Café, started to gravitate to Fort Lauderdale's Holiday Park, and it's why he became a soccer fan. The park, with 11 playing fields up… More >>
  • Best Dolphin

    Channing Crowder

    Surprised at this choice? Well, before you start looking for somebody to chop block, think about it for a moment. Crowder was a rookie last season, a lowly third-rounder in the 2005 draft. Why so low? There were questions about his character after having a couple of run-ins with the law at the University of Florida. But the only law… More >>
  • Best Heat Player

    Dwyane Wade

    This is easy. The best Heat player is a guy named Shane. Or is it Dwaq? You know, the scary, 325-pound guy who muscles the ball to the rim like a breaching whale, who also happens to be the high-flying six-foot-four guard who zigzags through opposing defenses like a barracuda in sargasso weed. All right, we equivocate. Shaq or Dwyane?… More >>
  • Best Marlin

    Miguel Cabrera

    Cabrera's groupies have put up an Internet fan site that carries this disclaimer: "Everyone in this group is considered Miguel's #1 fan. Please do not argue over it!" The group could include any pro baseball fan in South Florida who watched Cabrera rotate positions with ease during the Marlins' 2003 World Series run and who will watch him perform as… More >>
  • Best Panther

    Olli Jokinen

    The Nobody Home League resumed play this year, and unfortunately for the Panthers, the team is still borderline at best. Billboard-ready goalie Roberto Luongo started the year gangbusters, then tapered off to merely good. This is a team that needs a stopper, no doubt, because while scoring is up leaguewide, Florida is mired in the bottom third. Only the six-foot-three,… More >>
  • Best Trade

    The Heat's gutting

    The Heat has demonstrated once again that all a team needs to win in the NBA is two superstars and about six or eight warm, giant bodies to fill floor space. That formula almost took the Heat to its first finals appearance last summer, until a couple of dippy plays and Dwyane Wade's hurt ribs kept them from knocking off… More >>
  • Best Rookie

    Jeremy Hermida

    It took about five seconds last August for Hermida to go from anonymous rookie to the answer to a trivia question: Who was the first player since the 19th Century to hit a grand slam in his first big-league at-bat? The six-foot-four outfielder was the 11th overall pick out of high school in the 2002 draft and was considered the… More >>
  • Best FAU Player

    Mickey Storey

    While Florida Atlantic University sinks millions of dollars into a losing football team, fans have overlooked the school's best athlete, who doesn't put on shoulder pads or a helmet. (Well, except when he's batting.) Mickey Storey, FAU's hotshot pitcher, graduated from Deerfield Beach High School with more than 300 strikeouts and a career record of 22-7. Since the Owls snatched… More >>
  • Best Sports Enigma

    Antoine Walker

    He's a six-foot-nine forward but can handle the ball like a point guard. He helped lead the University of Kentucky to a national championship in 1996. His hands are about as quick as anybody's in the NBA. He's played on the All-Star team and averaged nearly 20 points a game in a nine-year career. Yet Walker couldn't find the basket… More >>
  • Best Sportswriter

    Greg Cote

    God help us, but this Miami Herald writer makes us laugh every now and then. And that's a lot more than you can say for most of the humorless sportswriting corps in South Florida. Mixed in his comic "Random Evidence of a Cluttered Mind" columns are the occasional gems that remind us of that other funny Herald guy, the semiretired… More >>
  • Best Boxer

    Juan "Iron Twin" Urango

    Fort Lauderdale pugilist Juan "Iron Twin" Urango isn't scared of anyone. The junior welterweight has a 13-0-1 record, enough courage to fuel an Army brigade, and cockiness that would have impressed even Muhammad Ali. In true ring hype, Urango once described himself to the boxing press as the "new generation" of welterweight fighters. But unlike many boxers, Urango has the… More >>
  • Best New Sports Team

    Florida Pit Bulls

    Unless you're buddies with H. Wayne Huizenga, paying to watch Dwyane and Shaq could leave you homeless. Fortunately, the Heat isn't the only professional team 'round these swampy parts. Last year, Broward County got its own squad: the Florida Pit Bulls, headed by player/coach Tim Hardaway. They share the BankAtlantic Center with the Florida Panthers and the likes of Bon… More >>
  • Best Coach

    Nick Saban

    Finally, a Dolphins coach who deserves to walk the same sideline as Don Shula. Saban is smarter than the mentally challenged Dave Wannstedt and more stable than the half-loony, teary-eyed Jimmy Johnson. First, he proved himself to be one of the best college coaches in America at LSU, where the folks still damned near worship him. Then Saban showed last… More >>
  • Best Sports League

    Broward County Modified Pitch Softball League

    You're never too old to relive the glory days, and the guys at the Broward County Modified Pitch Softball League realize that. This new softball league, located at the park behind Henry D. Perry Middle School in Miramar, is designed for guys who want to have fun but also take their down-and-dirty softball seriously. Standard softball rules apply, with one… More >>
  • Best Shooting Range

    Delray Shooting Center

    Go into some shooting ranges and you're likely to meet an intimidating stare from an employee packin' heat. Not the most reassuring combination. But at Delray Shooting Center, that's not the case. The specialists behind the counter are friendly and kind, and they treat newbies with respect. The staff caters to couples learning to shoot and goes out of its… More >>
  • Best Nature Trail

    Okeeheelee Nature Center

    Unless you live on a houseboat, it's impossible to escape the congested roadways and pushy attitudes that are overtaking South Florida... or is it? All it takes to get some quiet time is a quiet place. And there's no better place to unleash your inner shaman than the trails behind the Okeeheelee Nature Center. However, before beginning your journey, you… More >>
  • Best Snorkeling Spot

    Coral Cove Park

    A sliver of sand between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal, Coral Cove Park isn't just for snorkeling. It could have easily been named Best Picnic Spot or Beach. It's just that good. And if you feel the need to venture out in the water for a little aquatic sightseeing, it's got the goods. And you don't have to swim… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot in Broward

    Heritage Park

    Sure, you can drive all the way out west to Markham Park. Or you can make a big to-do and hit one of the area beaches. Not telling you not to. But sometimes you want a place nearby. And that's one thing about Heritage Park: Nobody's too far away from it in Broward County. The park is located smack dab… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot in Palm Beach

    John Prince Park

    Getting your picnic on isn't just about plopping your rump down under a tree and noshing on a turkey sandwich while sipping iced tea. It's all about ambiance. Relaxation is tough in a world run rampant with cell phones and PSPs. What's needed in a picnic spot is a place with plenty to delight the eye and keep the mind… More >>
  • Best Day Trip

    W.J. Janes Memorial Scenic Drive

    Getting to Janes Scenic Drive is easy. Just take Alligator Alley west and head south on Highway 20 about 12 miles until you see the sign marking the road. Finding your way out of the heart of the dense swamp it leads to -- unless you go back the way you came -- is not. The 11-mile gravel road takes… More >>
  • Best Place to Spend a Rainy Day

    Coral Cliffs

    Rainy days: don't they just make you want to climb the walls? Well, at Coral Cliffs, you can! This indoor rock-climbing gym ($15 for a one-day pass) may not be Mount Everest, but with routes rated from 5.5 to 5.13, there's plenty of challenging terrain as well as climbs for beginners. One route requires you to ascend using itty-bitty handholds… More >>
  • Best Place to Ditch the Kid

    Muvico Pompano 18

    So you're desperate to see that movie everybody's talking about, the one where the naked guy does pig noises while the girl underneath him in the bed prays to the Virgin Mary and makes like pinwheels with her eyes? Oscar-winning performances all around, of course, but not exactly family fare. What do you do with Junior while all of this… More >>
  • Best Bowling Alley

    Manor Lanes

    Bowling alleys are falling faster than tenpins as cities chase after the fast buck of redevelopment. Built in an era when land was cheaper than cable TV, bowling alleys took up city lots that turned out to be worth far more as shopping centers or condos. These days, the hallmark of a great bowling alley is as much a matter… More >>
  • Best Place to Jog

    Fort Lauderdale Beach

    Pass by Fort Lauderdale Beach on a Saturday morning and you can't help but notice personal trainer Bob Weinstein, a.k.a. "The Health Colonel," in full camouflage regalia and combat boots exercising with his "troops." On the home page of Weinstein's website,, there's a link that says, "Here's why Bob trains on Fort Lauderdale beach." Click it and it leads… More >>
  • Best Place to Kayak

    On the New River

    Nature, schmature. The best paddling route around here takes you through a uniquely urban jungle via Fort Lauderdale's New River and its adjoining system of man-made canals. If you've got $65, you can take a three-hour guided tour with the knowledgeable staff from the Full Moon Kayak Co. (954-328-5231;, who will be sure to point out the boathouse where… More >>
  • Best Place to Mountain-Bike

    The Everglades Conservation Levee

    Dang hurricanes. Not only did last year's batch of storms flood our yards, close our businesses, and leave us without electricity for, like, ever but they chewed up and spat out big chunks of public parks. This was especially problematic for mountain bikers in Broward or Palm Beach counties, who never had much in the way of challenging terrain to… More >>
  • Best Beach in Broward

    John U. Lloyd State Park

    Covered in mangroves and tucked away from major roads, John U. Lloyd State Park has that going-to-the-end-of-the-world feel and a sense that what happens there is secret. Its history reinforces that vibe. During Prohibition, smugglers used the land as a drop point for importing rum from the Bahamas. Its thick mangroves sure do look like an inviting place to dump… More >>
  • Best Beach in Palm Beach

    Lake Worth Beach

    We were thiiiiiis close to naming Red Reef Park in Boca as the county's best beach, considering the fact that it has a golf course, a pristine snorkeling reef, and the seemingly well-funded Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. But when we saw the $17 entry fee, we were like, Whaaaaat? "It certainly keeps the riff-raff out," said a cocky lifeguard who… More >>
  • Best Surf Spot

    Juno Pier

    If there's a Huntington Beach of the East Coast, Jupiter is it. All the girls are cute, all the boys are rippers, and scores of little grommets crowd the surf. Everyone, it seems, is friends! Everyone is in a surf band! MILF-y moms drop their kids at the beach, while old longboarders with beer bellies plaster their cars with stickers… More >>
  • Best Place for a Park

    The Denison Property in Shady Banks

    For years, kids have been coming to this wooded spot on the New River to hang out, party, and soar over the water on a rope swing. But residents of this peaceful Fort Lauderdale neighborhood have hated the cars and the kids roaming through the 3.42-acre parcel, and after a high school sophomore drowned last August, the rope swing came… More >>
  • Best New Park

    Riverland Woods Park

    Better late than never. Originally scheduled for a 2002 grand opening, construction delays kept Riverland Woods from opening until late 2005. Finally, Fort Lauderdale has more than one free public boat ramp, and it's thanks to the tireless efforts of residents of Lauderdale Isles -- at one point, the land had been promised to a machine shop firm that wanted… More >>
  • Best Park in Broward

    Tradewinds Park

    A butterfly festival, a farmhouse museum, a model steam railroad... When did Disney open a park in Broward County? Um, it didn't. Those are just a few of the various attractions you'll find at Tradewinds Park. Situated on nearly 700 acres on both sides of Sample Road, Tradewinds is home to a hodge-podge of leisure and sports amenities (ball fields,… More >>
  • Best Park in Palm Beach

    John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

    The marketing tag line for this state park is "More than just a beach... but wow, what a beach!" And in this rare case, reality matches the PR. Part of the allure of this park is simply getting from the parking lot to the sand. Walk up a shaded path, go past the massive nature center, look at the butterfly… More >>
  • Best Dog Park

    Dr. Paul's Pet Care Center Dog Park

    Credit Dr. Steven G. Paul, a Coral Springs vet, with organizing a community building project of Florida's first dog park nine years ago. In a manicured suburb where people outnumber dogs only about two-to-one, the two-acre park provides agility equipment, water stations for drinking and bathing, a paved running track, and a gazebo and is open 7:30 a.m. to dusk… More >>
  • Best Place to Birdwatch

    Grassy Waters Preserve, South Side

    Several miles removed from the suburban sprawl of eastern Palm Beach County is Grassy Waters Preserve, a 20-square-mile chunk of Everglades land untouched by development. Needless to say, it's a bird watcher's heaven. The preserve runs across both sides of Northlake Boulevard. And while you can catch plenty of the feathered beasts at either location, the south side is where… More >>
  • Best Tourist Trap

    Butterfly World

    A giant billboard on Sample Road claims that this sprawling butterfly sanctuary in Coconut Creek has been "voted South Florida's #1 Attraction." That, coupled with the whopping $18.95 it costs for an adult's entry into its netted inner sanctum, puts Butterfly World squarely in the tourist-trap category. Happily, the three acres of aviaries deliver on the hype with hordes of… More >>
  • Best Swimming Pool

    The Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa

    We like our swimming pools on two levels, thank you. The pool at the Westin Diplomat features a top level, with water spilling over the sides (travel agents call this an "infinity edge"), a submarine porthole with a swimmer's-eye view of the lower level, and more than 100 feet of glassy-surfaced water, which is a lap-swimmer's dream. Then there's the… More >>
  • Best Leisure Activity

    Mushroom Pickin'

    Come on -- the beach is way too obvious. Instead, how about indulging in an age-old pastime that, thanks to a legal loophole, remains somehow technically aboveboard in Florida. For decades, hippies living in the Gulf Coast states have known in which fields to find the hallucinogenic psilocybe cubensis 'shroom, which tends to grow right around the fragrant patties deposited… More >>
  • Best Poker Game

    The Dania Jai-Alai Cardroom

    When poker skyrocketed in popularity a few years ago, games sprouted around South Florida like mushrooms. Poker fans can pick up games anywhere from pubs to megacasinos. Amateur players delight at the large number of games around town, but old, salty poker dogs aren't so thrilled. Where to go for a more authentic experience? The forgotten halls of Dania Jai-Alai's… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Shuffleboard

    Hollywood Shuffleboard Courts

    One of only two shuffleboard courts in Broward County used for official Senior Games play, Hollywood's shuffleboard facility is where the aging Québecois masters of the sport come to practice. And unlike most deserted shuffleboard venues in the area, Hollywood is both well-maintained and packed. With the aura of a temple, the 36 covered courts in the heart of downtown… More >>
  • Best Place to Play Pickup Basketball

    Reverend Samuel Delevoe Memorial Park

    This might stun anyone who automatically associates Sistrunk with blight, but this park just east of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center has some of the nicest basketball facilities in Fort Lauderdale. The two well-surfaced courts are penned in by black chainlink, with plenty of space inside the cage for diving out of bounds. The backboards, breakaway rims, and… More >>