Grade school and junior high in the '80s. Days of tube socks, Keds, T-shirt rings and passing crushes. Every Friday night you traded in your sneakers for a pair of brown quads with bright orange wheels and fat rubber toe-stops. If you were really cool, you brought your own skates. In skates, you were taller, another kind of creature who could glide into the stream of moving bodies and circle the floor beneath the disco ball. Maybe you fell sometimes, the pain in your bottom compounded by scores of legs rolling past you, those legs belonging to snickering classmates. Maybe you were one of the kids who could skate backward, who won the races. But none of that mattered as much as this: Who would skate together during the couples skate? These days, till 10:30 p.m. on Friday night, kids still pack the Dairy Ashford Roller Rink, a somewhat stale and rundown but held-together place of elementary school soap operas and birthday parties. Now they whirl on in-line skates to the Backstreet Boys and other Top 40 songs (no rap or hard rock, though). They still do the Hokey Pokey, and you can too. Thursday nights are for you now -- half-price tickets for adult skate, the best of the oldies from the '50s to the '80s -- so go ahead, double-knot those thin, long laces. Relive your childhood.
It may seem odd to pick a guy who wasn't even good enough to start for the Rockets last year, but don't let Cuttino Mobley's sixth-man status fool you. He's more important to the team than fellow guard Steve Francis, who has the name recognition and the fancy dunks but little of Mobley's game-breaking abilities. The Rockets' No. 1 goal this off-season was to sign Mobley to a multiyear deal, and the organization did exactly that. The guard, who averaged 15.8 points last year (second to Francis's 18 points), agreed to a six-year contract worth a reported $32.2 million. On the day the signing was announced, Rudy Tomjanovich told the Houston Chronicle that Mobley was "one of the handful of players in the league that can be called a "go-to guy.' By that I mean we can get the ball in his hands, and something positive is going to happen." Mobley is the kind of shooting guard who's not afraid to drive toward the basket, which has not exactly been a Rocket hallmark. His speed and agility could transform the Rockets from a boring inside-out post-up team to a fun-and-gun quintet. That ability alone -- to make the Rockets more funky James Brown than elegant Nat "King" Cole -- makes him worthy of accolades. Cuttino! Take us to the bridge! Or the hoop! Or the play-offs!
It may seem odd to pick a guy who wasn't even good enough to start for the Rockets last year, but don't let Cuttino Mobley's sixth-man status fool you. He's more important to the team than fellow guard Steve Francis, who has the name recognition and the fancy dunks but little of Mobley's game-breaking abilities. The Rockets' No. 1 goal this off-season was to sign Mobley to a multiyear deal, and the organization did exactly that. The guard, who averaged 15.8 points last year (second to Francis's 18 points), agreed to a six-year contract worth a reported $32.2 million. On the day the signing was announced, Rudy Tomjanovich told the Houston Chronicle that Mobley was "one of the handful of players in the league that can be called a "go-to guy.' By that I mean we can get the ball in his hands, and something positive is going to happen." Mobley is the kind of shooting guard who's not afraid to drive toward the basket, which has not exactly been a Rocket hallmark. His speed and agility could transform the Rockets from a boring inside-out post-up team to a fun-and-gun quintet. That ability alone -- to make the Rockets more funky James Brown than elegant Nat "King" Cole -- makes him worthy of accolades. Cuttino! Take us to the bridge! Or the hoop! Or the play-offs!
Best Astro? Of this godforsaken season? Isn't that like having a category for Best Police Academy Sequel? Let's be blunt: Good Astros are few and far between this year. But why not offer up some applause for local-boy-made-good Lance Berkman, the pride of Rice University and slugger of the future? Berkman made the jump to the bigs with surprising ease, racking up a slew of multi-homer games to brighten an otherwise dismal Astros campaign. He doesn't qualify for Rookie of the Year honors because of a quirk in determining how long he officially was considered a major-leaguer last year, but his performance this year should offer hope that things at Enron Field eventually will get better.
Best Astro? Of this godforsaken season? Isn't that like having a category for Best Police Academy Sequel? Let's be blunt: Good Astros are few and far between this year. But why not offer up some applause for local-boy-made-good Lance Berkman, the pride of Rice University and slugger of the future? Berkman made the jump to the bigs with surprising ease, racking up a slew of multi-homer games to brighten an otherwise dismal Astros campaign. He doesn't qualify for Rookie of the Year honors because of a quirk in determining how long he officially was considered a major-leaguer last year, but his performance this year should offer hope that things at Enron Field eventually will get better.
SRO Sports Bar & Cafe
Nothing says "fine dining" like rows and rows of autographed sneakers and moldy uniforms, but such is the standard decor at sports bars nationwide. Luckily you don't go to sports bars for food. You go to see games you can't get on the tube at home, with a lively crowd, and you hope the beer's good and the food is serviceable. The SRO location at Westheimer and Gessner ably provides the necessities. It's a large, airy place, with a high ceiling that cuts back considerably on the problem of being unable to see the screen through the haze of secondhand smoke. The plentiful booths all have televisions that can be tuned to any number of games if you're somehow not satisfied with the choices offered by the big screens. The food's fine, as far as these places go; there are even some heart-healthy offerings in case cheese fries and nachos aren't your style. And yeah, if you just can't live without them, there are plenty of old sneakers and other memorabilia lining the walls.
Nothing says "fine dining" like rows and rows of autographed sneakers and moldy uniforms, but such is the standard decor at sports bars nationwide. Luckily you don't go to sports bars for food. You go to see games you can't get on the tube at home, with a lively crowd, and you hope the beer's good and the food is serviceable. The SRO location at Westheimer and Gessner ably provides the necessities. It's a large, airy place, with a high ceiling that cuts back considerably on the problem of being unable to see the screen through the haze of secondhand smoke. The plentiful booths all have televisions that can be tuned to any number of games if you're somehow not satisfied with the choices offered by the big screens. The food's fine, as far as these places go; there are even some heart-healthy offerings in case cheese fries and nachos aren't your style. And yeah, if you just can't live without them, there are plenty of old sneakers and other memorabilia lining the walls.
The powers that be have seen fit to pass laws to keep our hands to ourselves in times of personal conflict, but there's at least one place you can go to experience a good old-fashioned face pummeling vicariously. Browning Boxing has been serving up modern-day gladiators every month for three years now to satisfy audiences' blood lust. But don't think that because this is an aggressive sport the Hooters gals waiting the tables will be the only women you see. A couple of the women take their turn inside the ring, mano a mano, to get things rolling. The event is Las Vegas-style, meaning valet parking, hand-rolled cigars and a martini. $42, ringside; $22, general admission.
The powers that be have seen fit to pass laws to keep our hands to ourselves in times of personal conflict, but there's at least one place you can go to experience a good old-fashioned face pummeling vicariously. Browning Boxing has been serving up modern-day gladiators every month for three years now to satisfy audiences' blood lust. But don't think that because this is an aggressive sport the Hooters gals waiting the tables will be the only women you see. A couple of the women take their turn inside the ring, mano a mano, to get things rolling. The event is Las Vegas-style, meaning valet parking, hand-rolled cigars and a martini. $42, ringside; $22, general admission.
Start behind West Oaks Mall and head out Westheimer, which becomes FM 1093. Turn left at 1464 (by the Shell station), across the tracks past the Clodine general store. Instead of following 1464 as it curves left, take the road to the right, which is O'Brien. Cross Beechnut and continue to Madden. Take a right and head west. Note the goats on the left at the first curve. The Texas Department of Corrections owns most of the land out here. Take a right at the stop sign (Harlem Road) and go a short way until the first left, which is Mortin. Now you're riding in the Brazos River Valley. Note the cotton fields on the right. Cross 99 and continue to Skinner. Turn left. This is river bottom and prime horse country. Make a right at the bridge (McCrary). Past Bryn Myr Farms, note the emus on your right. Go all the way until Richmond-Foster, where you'll make a right. Continue to FM 359 north and make a left. This is a good time for a stop. Fortunately you're right at Old Schulze's Antiques. Located in a 1929 building is an amazing collection of restored wooden furniture, including a desk made out of an old organ, and a complete confessional, if you're decorating in a Catholic motif. Continue past the sprawling Hines Nursery until 1093. Take a left into Fulshear. When you intersect Main Street, make a right and go four blocks until you find Dozier's Grocery. This is where you want to stop for some of the best barbecue ribs in these parts. It's about 50 miles round-trip.

Best Of Houston®

Best Of