Comedian Jay Mohr once noted that hockey players get paid millions of dollars "because they can skate backwards." Mohr has clearly never played the game. To anyone who has -- or has even caught a few minutes of the Stanley Cup playoffs -- it's obvious that hockey requires immense levels of strength, endurance and agility, not to mention a reckless disregard for one's teeth. What other sport allows you to pull your opponent's jersey over his head, bash his face in and then sit in a penalty box for just ten minutes as punishment? But there's more to it than fistfights. For one, the game is killer cardio: It's not uncommon to lose several pounds of water weight per game. If you've ever fancied yourself a Gretzky in the making, head to the Sugar Land Aerodrome this Sunday. At a free class, you can learn introductory skating, puck handling and shooting. Let your friends jog Memorial in the sweltering heat -- you'll be getting cardio on ice. Oh, and remember: You're not a pro yet. Bashing in someone's face could get you thrown in jail. 12:30 p.m. Sunday, June 27. 16225 Lexington. For information, call 281-265-7463 or visit www.aerodromes.com. Free. -- Steven Devadanam
Spikes and Vodka
Sugar Land Aerodrome
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For most of the cold war, the Olympics were essentially a battle between us and Russia, with everyone else there for the party and free lodging. The Russians are still bitter about us nailing them at the 1980 "Miracle on Ice" hockey game -- our greatest Olympic moment. Now, with the cold war (and Reagan) gone, things have relaxed, but a U.S.-Russia volleyball match can still be great fun, if not glorified jingoism. If the U.S. does well, it could be as fun as watching Stallone kick Lundgren's ass in Rocky IV. 7 p.m. Friday, June 25; 3 p.m. Sunday, June 27; and 7 p.m. Monday, June 28. Reliant Park, One Reliant Park. For information, call 713-629-3700 or visit www.usavolleyball.org. $10 to $15. -- Steven Devadanam