Need a racquet strung? A partner? Just want a quick pickup game? Looking for something for the kids to do this summer? The tennis center at George English Park is the answer to the prayers of every Wimbledon wannabe (or wannabe Richard Williams). Open six days a week (from 2 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday) and located along the Intracoastal Waterway north of Sunrise Boulevard, the complex includes seven hard courts. It has everything a tennis player could want in friendly, unpretentious surroundings. The $4.25 per person ($3.50 for city residents) charge during peak evening and early Saturday morning keeps the place clear of the lets-argue-every-point-loudly losers who too often haunt public courts. Also, the summer camps for kids give every parent a chance to raise the next Venus or Serena Williams without having to become as crazy as the Williams's sisters' ever-present father. Now that's real love.Jimmy Evert

Tennis Center

Eddie Jones may have averaged close to 19 points, but he's still just the Best of the Rest. Pat Riley built this thirtysomething team around his center (focal glomerulosclerosis be damned), and the coach has clung tenaciously to an offensive and defensive style that plays to Mourning's strengths. In December, that strategy made Riley look stubborn, inflexible, and not very smart. By March, Riley had turned a collection of has-beens, almost-kinda-weres, and flat-out bums into an actual team with a chance to make the playoffs and had silenced those who were calling for the coach to retire. While the playoff push eventually petered out, the Heat wouldn't even have come close unless the complementary players had finally meshed around their superstar. Zo, in turn, battled through illness (to which his immunosuppressant drugs make him more susceptible), pain (for which he can take no anti-inflammatories, thanks, again, to his kidney medicines), fatigue, and a near-total turnover of his teammates to finally reach a Winter Groove.
Two words: clay courts. One of the few public tennis centers where the rabble can play on a surface generally reserved for the gentry, Howard Park is a hidden gem. Long ignored by West Palm Beach recreation planners, it's a 60-plus-year-old facility where the infamous Bobby Riggs once swung a racquet. And it recently got a face-lift to match the resurgence of the surrounding neighborhood, which is just across Okeechobee Boulevard from CityPlace. The center was once in the midst of crack houses. Even folks wielding tennis racquets feared to tread there. Now it's a magnet for Jag- and Rolls-driving tennis nuts from Palm Beach, as well as those with less substantial pedigrees and more ordinary wheels. Majestic banyan trees that were probably little more than shrub height when the center opened in the late 1930s provide shade. Along with seven clay and two hard courts, there's a quaint stadium with a clay surface where Riggs and lesser-known competitors once played. Tennis director Mike Boone says an elderly visitor once told him she was in the middle of a game when news hit that Pearl Harbor had been attacked. "What was the reaction?" Boone recalls asking her. "Oh," she replied. "We finished the set." And 61 years later, they're still playing tennis with equally unflappable intensity.Howard Park
OK, the 18 holes at the Diplomat may not be the best golf course qua golf course in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Its 6728 yards are lined with shady banyan trees, and designer Joe Lee lavished water on 16 of the holes -- including a tricky island green on the second one (no, you don't have to wade to your putt; there's a bridge). But what makes the Diplomat really special are the amenities. A GPS system on every golf cart gives a color picture of each hole, points out the hazards, and gives exact yardage to the cup. Touch another button and up pops a menu for the country club's Tack Room Bar. A waiter will whisk your repast straight to your cart. After a long, hard day of strenuous golfing, you can relax with a massage at the spa. Best of all, just across the Intracoastal Waterway is the Westin Diplomat Hotel, 39 stories of overindulgence. Hotel guests get one round of golf (plus as much practice as they like) for $125 weekdays, $159 weekends.

Not in the 'hood, as one might expect (and romantics might hope) but solidly suburban, the four -- count 'em, four -- courts in the southeast corner of this county park's 525 acres host the area's best-quality round ball. Local players make the trek from all over West Palm Beach and as far south as Boca Raton; collegiate talent on spring break and off-season visiting pros have been known to drop by. But even your run-of-the-mill pickup game here covers the full razzle-dazzle: the behind-the-back, no-look pass; the triple head fake, double-pump, pull-up shot; the long outlet pass and the finishing thunderdunk. Twenty- and thirtysomething guys hold the main stage, but there are enough courts to accommodate other ages and genders. A nice racial mix almost makes you think there's hope for the human race.
So your K2s are oiled, roller hockey just doesn't do it for you anymore, and you're ready to soar. Then head west, young dude, to the skate park in the Broward County Regional Park in Weston. Here, you will find a facility that's $100,000 worth of tubular. Back in December 2001, Weston commissioners -- who are unlikely to ever try this place -- approved the conversion of one of eight hockey rinks into a 'blader's dream. Ramps, pipes, and grindwalls manufactured from steel and polyethylene allow you to do things you've never done before. Indeed, you'll want to wear every pad in the house, and a helmet too. How risky is it? Parents of kids who dare to skate here must sign an injury waiver before junior can even enter. It's open 3 to 10 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. school holidays, and 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sundays. Skaters pay variable rates to register and $6 for one-and-a-half-hour sessions. And, oh yeah, those wimpy, good-for-nothing skateboarders can roll here too.
The biking and jogging path in this 320-acre park is shaded and rarely crowded. Clean (or at least as clean as public gets) water fountains are plentiful, and bathrooms are located at convenient spots along the mostly concrete trail. Whether you're jogging two or ten miles, visit the basketball, tennis, racquetball, or numerous volleyball areas for cross-training or a cool-down. Smith Park also boasts a freshwater beach complex including a bathhouse, playground, and two 700-foot waterslides.
In with the good air, out with the bad. Breathe. Deeply. Let the fresh sea air fill your lungs. You'll soon need every molecule of it. Standing at Boca's South Beach Park pavilion on Palmetto Park Road and A1A, while looking out over the beautiful waves breaking upon the shore, do all of your muscle stretches. Once you're warmed up, start jogging along the wide, gray concrete A1A jogging trail, which runs north about six scenic miles. You'll pass tall, luxurious condominiums, spacious city parks and public beaches, wild vegetation preserves, exotic gargantuan mansions, and even a handful of snowbirds in cars, who seem to drive way too slow. Traffic is far from menacing here; a four-foot-wide swale separates the trail and the road for most of the distance. When the right moment comes (if your chest is aching, you've gone too far), turn around and jog back. Upon your return to your starting point, quench your thirst with a sports drink at the convenience store conveniently located on the corner of Palmetto Park Road and A1A. Hey, if this jog doesn't pump you up, nothing can.
OK, so this ain't necessarily the numero uno ride for you Lycra-wearing, Bollé-blinded, Bell-headed geeks who zoom through stop signs and endanger the lives of fellow riders. But it is nice. Relaxing and sandy. Kid-friendly too. On a recent weekend day, we started out at Hollywood Boulevard and the beach, headed north a few blocks and stopped at a shady playground for a cup of coffee, a bagel, and a rest. Spent an hour there, cooling our jets and watching the tykes frolic while talking with a Martian-like fellow who was playing some very interesting electronica on his boom box. Then we headed north, down a nice blacktop path, far from traffic, up and around a curve, and onto a quiet street lined with quaint houses and a secluded beachfront. Ended at Dania Beach Pier, where we partook of more shade and more food before swimming and resting another hour or so. Then headed back south along the same route (it would have taken too much energy to head west) and stopped at a shelter on Hollywood Beach, where a guitar player was entertaining a mostly Argentine crowd dancing the tango. Drank a little red wine while we listened and spent a couple of hours before heading south to -- what else? -- dinner at a Greek restaurant. Nice, huh?Quiet Waters Park
Buckle up, you adrenaline junkies, and let the ride begin. This former quarry turned park provides more than ten miles of gut-wrenching, heart-pounding, mountain-biking action. The trails range in difficulty from leisurely four-foot bunny-hops for the intermediate to 30-foot, hold-on-at-all-costs hills for the advanced. The trails run mostly among tall pine and eucalyptus trees, so shade is abundant. But, you equipment-obsessed wacko, you'll still need your camelback water supply in both summer and winter. There are plenty of obstacles, such as large rocks, slippery roots, and hanging tree branches that will keep all riders on their toes. The park also offers parking and bike wash stations at the entrance to the trails, which are maintained by Club Mud -- a group of local mountain-bikers and volunteers.

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