Snyder Park

Billed as "the park dogs ask for by name," Bark Park is two sprawling acres of fun for you and your pooch. There are shade trees for owners to relax under and perhaps read the Sunday paper while keeping a lazy eye on their furry friends. And there's an exercise course so that if Spike doesn't want to play with the other Chihuahuas, he can soar over little fences and pretend he's a horse for the day. Importantly, the acreage is split into two fenced areas: a large space for big dogs which need to run far and wide, and a smaller area for those diminutive guys that might get trampled or attacked while trying to romp with the heftier breeds. Everyday East Lake at Snyder is open for dog swimming, and Labrador retrievers are the unofficial stars of the show. While some dogs only splash around the lake's edge, those yellow, chocolate, and black labs plunge into deep water, pounce on tennis balls, and proudly carry their prizes back to the humans waiting on the sandy banks. And they all know: Life off the leash is good.

December 16, 2007. Overtime. It's third down and eight, and Dolphins quarterback Cleo Lemon is lined up in the shotgun with four receivers stretched wide. Little-known third-year player Greg Camarillo goes into motion, crossing left in front of Lemon. The ball is snapped — Camarillo shoots forward off the line and drops an almost imperceptible stutter with his left foot that freezes Baltimore cornerback Jamaine Winborne just long enough for Camarillo to turn up the field into a short post route. He has two yards on Winborne, nothing more, but it's a sufficient window for Lemon to squeeze a dart right into Camarillo's waiting hands, perfectly in stride. In a moment, Camarillo — the undrafted nobody from Stanford, who never caught a touchdown pass in college or the pros — is gone, zinging down the field 64 yards and giving the Dolphins their first and only win of the 2007 NFL season. It was a gorgeous play, and no one, not even the vaunted Baltimore defense, saw it coming. Long after the Dolphin's horrid '07 season is just a ruddy splotch in the annals of pro football history, fans will look back at that game and remember Camarillo's brilliant performance.

When the FAU Owls earned their first-ever conference championship and bowl game appearance in the 2007 season, sports pundits praised coach Howard Schnellenberger for his return to form and flawless bowl record. Respect to "Old Schneller" is definitely due (see Best Couch), if for nothing other than his hand in developing sophomore quarterback Rusty Smith. In just his first whole season, Smith's stats were godly: 3,688 yards, 32 touchdowns, and only nine interceptions, posting a near-perfect quarterback rating of 141.6. In the New Orleans bowl, Smith absolutely manhandled Memphis, picking apart their beleaguered secondary for 336 yards and five touchdowns. Yes, his stats are impressive, but what makes Smith scary is his poise in the pocket and his game intelligence. He learns fast and seems to improve from mistakes almost immediately. Considering Smith is only a sophomore and has at least two more years of college ball left to continue to develop, he could be bound for a few more bowl wins with FAU — and someday the NFL.

He downed Ray Mercer in one minute, 10 seconds. Bo Cantrell fell in 18 ticks. He skewered Tank Abbott in just three quarters of a minute, and that was with the ref stopping the fight twice. Yep, Perrine's own Kimbo Slice is a fighter like no other; a brutish, hulking Neanderthal with a preternatural aptitude for beating ass and scaring the bejesus out of folks with his trademark bald pate and hobo-style beard. Whether it's in the ring for his heretofore-short professional career or in the street where he brutalized suckers for cash, Slice (real name Kevin Ferguson) transforms into a machine of war once he lifts those giant pendulums he calls fists. He's grown a loyal and equally rabid following that pines for Slice's furious flailing like crackheads jonesing for a fix. Slice needs to battle some tougher opponents before he ascends to the upper echelon of cage fighting, but we'll certainly enjoy seeing him continue to pulp faces on his way up.

Oh, this is a tough one. They're all so good! Blake Ahearn, Alexander Johnson, Joel Anthony, Kasib Powell, Stephane Lasme — what a stellar group of ballers. Nope, the Celtics have nothing on these guys... OK, kidding aside: there's only one winner here and it's Dwyane Wade. There isn't another Heat player that can even be considered. In the past, Wade played with marquee-worthy guys like Lamar Odom, Gary Payton, and Shaq. Now there's...Who? Please don't say Udonis Haslem; love his heart, but he's no star. Frankly, Wade hasn't played like a star lately either. Some games this past season he had more turnovers in the fourth quarter than points. You wondered if he spent so much time acting in commercials that he forgot how to play the game. Or you blamed it on the injuries. Whatever the reason, you can bet all that embarrassment has Wade motivated for next year. Expect big things from D-Wade. You can't keep a good man down forever.

You could drive right by the Richard Giusti jogging path without noticing it. It's not much to look at — benches, trees, and a big wall dividing it from the neighboring apartment complex — and it certainly isn't sprawling. But upon closer inspection, you'll find that it's genius. The path is a self-contained, gravel-paved mile that winds around itself like a giant snake. Signs and 20 workout stations are positioned along the way, encouraging joggers to stop and do chin-ups, sit-ups, and any other kind of -ups you can imagine. Strategically planted pine trees shield joggers from the scorching sun. Simple in design, the place offers an easy way to measure your exertion ("You fix dinner — I'm exhausted from the eleven-and-a-quarter miles I ran today!") and stay safely visible at all times. Bonus: Check out an eclectic collection of speed-walking regulars, like the tiny woman who walks with a bag of trail mix and feeds the squirrels. Fitness and entertainment, what could be better?

There's an obscure little footnote in baseball called the "Rule 5 draft." Let's say a Major League team has a promising player toiling away in its minor league system and never calls him up to the bigs. Opposing teams, salivating over the guy's potential, can draft him under Rule 5 — but there's a catch: they have to use him in the majors right away, making him active on their elite 25-man roster. It's a gamble. Most athletes called up this way can't handle the leap. Then there's Dan Uggla. The second baseman had been underused by the Arizona Diamondbacks (and their minor league franchise, the Yakima Bears) when the Marlins swiped him away under Rule 5. In his very first year on the team (2006), Uggla made the All-Star game and placed third in Rookie of the Year voting. Teammate Hanley Ramirez beat him out, but that's OK — the blue-eyed, 28-year old Uggla isn't the guy who hogs the spotlight; he's the workhorse who, almost daily, hammers in three runs or doubles in the bottom of the tenth to win the game. Last year, he finished the season with 31 homers, 113 runs, and 88 RBIs. This season he started off struggling, but began posting strong numbers after sportswriters slagged him off. (Haters!) And you gotta respect the way he deals with the drunken fools (Mets fans) who inevitably show up heckling, "Hey Uggla! You're Ugg-lay!" Unshakable, he usually responds by smacking a ball over the fence.

Secret Woods Nature Center

While you're speeding down State Road 84, you might be too busy honking at that idiot in the red sedan to notice the simple sign for Secret Woods Nature Center. Then you'd never know that there's a surprising glimpse of beautiful wilderness nestled right at the heart of urban South Florida. Weave your way out of rush hour traffic and explore one of Secret Woods' nature walks. New River Trail is a 3,200-foot boardwalk exploration of the south fork of the New River. Laurel Oak Trail is a 1,200-foot, ground-level, wood-chipped trail through an oak hammock. There are informational signs with snippets of wildlife info on each trail, and plenty of benches, in case you didn't get your fill of sitting at the office. You can also cool your heels on Butterfly Island, a flora-filled alcove that baits a colorful array of the winged things.

It might be the only hockey clip you saw all year, from February 10, in Buffalo, as the Panthers took on the Sabers and Olli Jokinen was speeding down the wing toward the corner. Right winger Richard Zednik was coming from behind the goal to the same corner. Jokinen got hit and flipped upside-down. By horrible chance, one of his skates caught Zednik across the throat, slicing his external carotid artery, spewing blood onto the ice like the famous elevator scene in The Shining. Zednik, one tough Slovak, stood up, covered his potentially fatal gash, and skated to the bench. He was rushed into surgery, where doctors saved his life. Zednik missed the rest of the season, but the Panthers missed the playoffs anyway, and his single act of badassery was enough to ensure him the New Times pick for best Panther.

John U. Lloyd Beach State Park

Poor picky picnicker picking a picnic place! Fret no more — John U. Lloyd is clearly the picnic capital of Broward. Just look at the numbers: In addition to seven pavilions with running water, electric outlets, and barbecue grills, the park's got 300 picnic tables. But then there's always the Picnicker's Dilemma: what to do after we eat? How about... build sandcastles on the 2.5-mile beach? Watch cruise ships come and go through the inlet? Take a 45-minute hike on the nature trail? Fish from the jetty? Shore dive or snorkel? Look for manatees hiding out in Whiskey Creek? (You can walk throughout this sea cow sanctuary, or rent a kayak if you please.) Is that enough for ya? Oh — we forgot to mention the most convenient part about picnicking: You don't even have to pack your own lunch — hot food, beer, and wine are sold on-site at the Loggerhead Café.

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