Best Miami Sol Player 2002 | Debbie Black | Sports | South Florida
Debbie Black is not only the shortest player in the WNBA at 5-foot-3 but she also has suffered ten broken noses during her 14-year professional basketball career. Her fans at AmericanAirlines Arena sit together in a black-and-blue section, where they tally the number of times she hits the floor in a game. A huge banner sports one Band Aid-style cross for each crash; her record is 16, in the 2001 opening game against rival New York Liberty. She usually gets possession of the ball and comes up grinning, though sometimes stitches are required. Her dives are not in vain. Black, or "The Pest," as she's known to many fans, led the league last year for steals and was named WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. Her take on her lack of height? It's an advantage. "I'm the closest player to the floor," she says. Not that she's all sweetness and light. When Liberty guard Teresa Weatherspoon missed a shot just before the half-time buzzer on July 22 and shoved Black to the ground in frustration, our homegirl got up, turned around, and gave chase. Black didn't hit T-Spoon, but seven technical fouls split between the two teams later, the Sol guard had proven she's no pushover. Unlike the Heat, who occupy the AmericanAirlines Arena the rest of the year, the Black-led Sol made the playoffs in 2001, its second year in the league. Not bad for a team that was predicted to come in last during its freshman year; it ended that season with a double-overtime win and the best record of four expansion teams. Under Black's leadership last year, it became the first 2000 expansion team to make the playoffs.
At the Wednesday-night Jackpot Rodeo at the Bergeron Rodeo Grounds, local cowgals and cowboys show their stuff. Amateurs as well as locals hoping to make a go at a professional career come here weekly to ride bulls, rope steers, and barrel-race. If it makes your heart skip to see a pretty girl in a cowboy hat fly like a bat out of hell on the back of a muscular steed moving at a full-bore gallop, barrel racing is your thing. The crowd gets into it. Hot pretzels with mustard are the favored snack. And the prices are homespun. Adults: $4, children: $2. Starting time: 7 p.m.
So you've got the weekend open, and you feel like sitting down at the tables for a bit of gambling. But where to go? The Indian casinos? Not bloody likely. Native-American gaming commissions do not run like Vegas. You will, in other words, get taken for all you're worth, sooner or later. What about SunCruz and those nifty cruises to nowhere? Now you must really be out of your mind. Go gaming in unregulated international waters? So where does one go to hold on to the outside hope of actually coming home a winner? Simple. Set sail for the Bahamas. You'll want to go to the closest island possible for maximum gaming time. And while there's not much action to be had on Bimini, just a few miles away is Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. Sure, there are bigger casinos in the Bahamas such as the ludicrously huge, 50,000-square-foot monstrosity at Atlantis, but that's a long way away. And the Bahamia, with 20,000 square feet of gaming space, is only a stone's throw from SoFla on Grand Bahama. Rack rates are through the roof, as is typical of resort/casinos, so don't be a sucker. Stay at one of the nice little places in West End, and scooter over to your gaming for the day, then scooter back to your flophouse at night -- assuming you sleep at all, of course; there's gambling to be done! Play your cards the brilliant way you always do, you stud, and the trip will pay for itself.
Sinking your balls into the soft center pocket will never be tough again. Just start practicing now at this classy pool hall, where 21 tables in impeccable condition are almost certain to improve your game. And even if no marked improvement is observed, don't worry -- the spacious, full-liquor bar and friendly waitresses are sure to lift your spirits. Happy hour is daily between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Even serious players -- folks with their own cues and chalk -- can likely find their match here among the tattooed machos, smart-aleck pretty boys, and smooth pool sharks who frequent the joint. If you fancy taking in a meal to the melodious background sound of cue striking ball, Shootersville offers a dining section overlooking the pool hall with a late-night kitchen that serves a variety of scrumptious fare, from steaks to loaded cheese nachos. And there are even plenty of bar stools and comfortable couches to sit on while awaiting your turn and enough lighting to distinguish stripes from solids.

Best Place to See a Kid Poke an Iguana with a Stick

The Jungle Queen Island

From its departure point at the Bahia Mar Yacht Basin on A1A, the Jungle Queen Riverboat tour chugs west down the New River, passes beneath the concrete canopy of the Interstate, and docks at its secret mini-theme-park destination. When the gator wrasslin' and pretzel-eatin' gets old, a few tots'll amble around the monkey-and-parrot filled "island" (actually a large, tropical compound in the Riverland area) and look for trouble. They often find it at the ground-level iguana cage, where a greenish-brown gaggle of lumbering, slumbering lizards do a whole lot of nothing, making them easy targets for the prodding fingers and twigs proffered by toddlers. The critters tolerate these indignities with typical reptilian indifference -- but as any herpetologist can tell you, touching the iguanas before putting your hands in your mouth is a sure-fire way to contract salmonella. So hands off, young professor.
Despite the association of trainspotting with the tracks left in the arm of a heroin user, which may have its origin in the 1996 movie of that name, the word is used in England to describe a person obsessed to the point of mania with the trivial. Trainspotters haunt railway platforms in England, notebook in hand, writing down the numbers of trains that roll through. Then they gather and compare lifetime lists. South Florida trainspotters covet a spot on 15th Street under the I-95 overpass, west of the Pompano State Farmer's Market. Four train lines rumble down the tracks -- Florida East Coast Railroad, Tri-Rail, Amtrak, and CSX Corp. So you can see a damn fine assortment. But if you decide to head over in pursuit of the trivial, take a few words of advice from big brother New Times: Don't let the monkey on your back.
So you want to make your friend into a punching bag... nothing too horrible, just some friendly, good-natured fisticuffs. But brawling in the streets can lead to misunderstandings with the local police, who generally are willing to demonstrate how to properly whip the tar out of someone. And doing it at your house could break all those valuable family heirlooms. Boxing gyms charge obscene fees. Can't a guy just strap on some gloves, step into a ring, and light up his buddy? You bet he can! This is America, dammit, and if you want to put the smackdown on your pal, that's your God-given right... as long as you do it on Wednesday at Atlantis. On that night, the club features amateur boxing matches. Arrive early to sign up (early in nightclub speak means around 7 or 8 p.m.) or the dance card will definitely be full and you'll have to wait another week to prove once and for all who would win if you and your best friend traded shots. And who hasn't had that conversation?
After only a brief existence, it can honestly be said that Warrior's Boxing Gym has changed the face of the sport in South Florida. It's no coincidence that major title bouts returned here after decades of absence since the gym opened, though it was sad to see the gym's great hope, Andre "Tombstone" Purlett, get dropped. But since that inaugural bout, SoFla has seen matches featuring such big names as Roy Jones Jr., pound-for-pound perhaps the best professional fighter today. The gym's trainers, Bill McKnight and Jessie Robinson, can take some credit for returning the sweet science to one of its most legendary locations. Because of the presence of this top-of-the-line training facility in Hollywood, we can look forward to local big-name pugilistic contests for years to come.
Two words that allow Firm Fitness to crush all its girlyman competitors: hypoxic chamber. Michael Jackson ain't got nothing on this contraption that creates a more efficient, thus shorter, cardio workout. From what New Times understands, the treadmill, encased in glass, is temperature-controlled -- read: average 58-60 degrees. It purifies, stabilizes, and thins the oxygen, which makes you breathe a little harder and sweat a little more to create more red blood cells. Remember the Olympic controversy over blood doping? Well, the hypoxic chamber lets you do something similar without causing an international scandal. The Firm complements the chamber with washboard-abs, muscle-step, and yoga classes. If you haven't had enough after these, try the roomy, circuit training area, which offers standby Atlantis equipment as old as 1997. Or for those who like the latest, there's the Cybex VR2 machines, which allow smooth and comfortable resistance and weight training. For those who are easily bored, hang out in the EZone section and hook up your headphones to local radio and television shows. The basic annual fee is $499, which includes two sessions with one of the gym's eight trainers. Premiere membership lets you use the chamber, take spinning classes, and bronze yourself silly for $599. Monthly rates are available.
With almost 30,000 square feet of workout space, Body Perfect should really have its own ZIP code. It certainly has everything else. This behemoth offers rows of treadmills, bikes, Stairmasters, and elliptical walkers. Build muscle the old-fashioned way with free weights, or for the latest thing, hop on the Flex Fitness machines. All classes -- kick-boxing, Pilates, spin, yoga, and others -- come free with membership. Ditto for on-site child care. An annual membership costs $36 a month after a one-time $75 enrollment fee. The gym also offers everything from one-day passes to three-year memberships. Tanning and massages are available for an extra charge. It's open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays, with shorter hours on Saturdays and Sundays.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of