Mall management usually is ambivalent about walkers. Not Memorial City Mall. They encourage indoor exercise. Mall walkers can gain access beginning at 5:30 a.m. each day. Throughout the mall, plaques mark a walking course at one-eighth-mile intervals. The mall co-sponsors the Health Check Walking Club with Memorial Hospital-Memorial City. Prizes are awarded for mileage goals from ten to 5,000 miles. A list of 72 people who have achieved the 5,000-mile goal is on display. At the mall's center (not hidden away in a second-floor corner) there's a giant kiosk where you can weigh yourself and pick up a wide range of fitness information. Why power-walk in 100-degree weather when you can do it in a clean, climate-controlled mall? Reward your good intentions by pigging out at Cinnabon, Taco Bell or one of the other places at the mall's huge fast-food court.
That's where you'll see hot players getting a ho-d (diving horizontal to deflect a disc), throwing a hammer (humming a Frisbee like a baseball) or hucking the disc (tossing a Frisbee 50 yards or more). The Rice fields are home to Enfuego (for men) and Spin (for women), teams affiliated with the Ultimate Players Association, a national organization that sponsors competitive Frisbee tournaments. It's where Cloud Nine, the Rice men's Ultimate Frisbee team, practices. And it's where members of the Houndz, a nationally competitive team, also hang out. If your Frisbee wobbles like a flying saucer, this is no place to play.
That's where you'll see hot players getting a ho-d (diving horizontal to deflect a disc), throwing a hammer (humming a Frisbee like a baseball) or hucking the disc (tossing a Frisbee 50 yards or more). The Rice fields are home to Enfuego (for men) and Spin (for women), teams affiliated with the Ultimate Players Association, a national organization that sponsors competitive Frisbee tournaments. It's where Cloud Nine, the Rice men's Ultimate Frisbee team, practices. And it's where members of the Houndz, a nationally competitive team, also hang out. If your Frisbee wobbles like a flying saucer, this is no place to play.
Let's face it: When you think of apartment complex tennis courts, the image of a lumpy concrete slab with a woefully uneven, dilapidated span of chain-link fence serving as the net probably comes to mind. Most complexes tend to throw in a tennis court as a means of justifying why your rent is going up for the fourth time in three years, but at the Westchase Ranch Resort Apartments in west Houston, athletic-minded renters have the opportunity to play on some of the finest, best-maintained courts in the city. Tennis pro Nick Ware rides herd over eight tabletop-smooth courts surrounded by quality windscreen netting that effectively diminishes even the highest gusts. What's more, Ware provides personal and group instruction, and the center hosts several tournaments per year. The center is so good it might even make homeowners consider returning to apartment life.
Let's face it: When you think of apartment complex tennis courts, the image of a lumpy concrete slab with a woefully uneven, dilapidated span of chain-link fence serving as the net probably comes to mind. Most complexes tend to throw in a tennis court as a means of justifying why your rent is going up for the fourth time in three years, but at the Westchase Ranch Resort Apartments in west Houston, athletic-minded renters have the opportunity to play on some of the finest, best-maintained courts in the city. Tennis pro Nick Ware rides herd over eight tabletop-smooth courts surrounded by quality windscreen netting that effectively diminishes even the highest gusts. What's more, Ware provides personal and group instruction, and the center hosts several tournaments per year. The center is so good it might even make homeowners consider returning to apartment life.
The experts -- assuming people who join canoe clubs can be called experts -- agree: For shoulder-powered, water-top locomotion, Armand Bayou is where it's at. Declared a coastal preserve by Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Armand Bayou watershed near Clear Lake City is one of Houston's last unchanneled bayous, an incongruous chunk of wild wetland that seems, from the water, a million miles from the encompassing suburbs. Subsidence continues to drop the streambed, and the banks are lined with trees drowned by the murky water (turf dry enough for mid-trip take-outs is few and far between). Ospreys, egrets and herons are populous, armadillos scuff through the underbrush, and the surface roils with prehistoric carp and jumping shad. Our most recent trip north, toward the mouth of Armand Bayou proper, turned up four alligators, including one we swear was 12 feet long (which means it probably was about five). Alternate trips from the put-in at Clear Lake Park include the Big Island Slough veering off to the east of the bayou, and in the southerly direction, Horsepen Bayou is navigable up into the University of Houston-Clear Lake campus before Armand dumps into Mud Lake near NASA Road 1.
The experts -- assuming people who join canoe clubs can be called experts -- agree: For shoulder-powered, water-top locomotion, Armand Bayou is where it's at. Declared a coastal preserve by Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Armand Bayou watershed near Clear Lake City is one of Houston's last unchanneled bayous, an incongruous chunk of wild wetland that seems, from the water, a million miles from the encompassing suburbs. Subsidence continues to drop the streambed, and the banks are lined with trees drowned by the murky water (turf dry enough for mid-trip take-outs is few and far between). Ospreys, egrets and herons are populous, armadillos scuff through the underbrush, and the surface roils with prehistoric carp and jumping shad. Our most recent trip north, toward the mouth of Armand Bayou proper, turned up four alligators, including one we swear was 12 feet long (which means it probably was about five). Alternate trips from the put-in at Clear Lake Park include the Big Island Slough veering off to the east of the bayou, and in the southerly direction, Horsepen Bayou is navigable up into the University of Houston-Clear Lake campus before Armand dumps into Mud Lake near NASA Road 1.
Houston has never been known as a hotbed for big-time auto racing. Sure, A.J. Foyt grew up in the Heights, but as far as top-notch racing facilities are concerned, forget it. That was, until 1988, when Houston Raceway Park in Baytown came onto the scene. The sprawling facility has played host to national events sanctioned by the traveling horsepower circus known as the National Hot Rod Association for the past 12 years, and has been the site of numerous speed records. The track is open to amateur racers as well. The NHRA races twice a year on the quarter-mile drag strip, while the facility this year added a three-eighths-mile oval dirt track for your high-speed enjoyment. In addition to holding weekly Saturday-night events for area racers, the dirt track also hosts the World of Outlaws sprint car series twice a year.
Houston has never been known as a hotbed for big-time auto racing. Sure, A.J. Foyt grew up in the Heights, but as far as top-notch racing facilities are concerned, forget it. That was, until 1988, when Houston Raceway Park in Baytown came onto the scene. The sprawling facility has played host to national events sanctioned by the traveling horsepower circus known as the National Hot Rod Association for the past 12 years, and has been the site of numerous speed records. The track is open to amateur racers as well. The NHRA races twice a year on the quarter-mile drag strip, while the facility this year added a three-eighths-mile oval dirt track for your high-speed enjoyment. In addition to holding weekly Saturday-night events for area racers, the dirt track also hosts the World of Outlaws sprint car series twice a year.
While most 21-year-old males are too busy kickin' it with the guys or trying to get lucky on Friday night, Sean Townsend logged more than 25 hours in the gym per week training for what he hoped would be a spot on the 2000 U.S. Olympic gymnastics team. The odds were in his favor, as Townsend, a Dallas native who has lived in Houston since 1994, is now among the American contingent in Sydney, Australia. With his all-American movie-star looks, Townsend could be the next American Olympic hero, if he's able to lug home some precious metal from the Games. The winner of numerous national and international competitions, including the 1997 USA Nationals, Townsend spends most of his days at the Houston Gymnastics Academy under the watchful eye of coach Kevin Mazeika. If there's such a thing as an office pool for Olympic gymnastics, put your money on Townsend.

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