Fit Holy biceps! Fit's got more hot bods than an I-10 traffic jam in July. And they've got state-of-the-art equipment and a really nice view of downtown, plus helpful trainers who aren't annoying. At Fit, there are fewer cheesy, too-tan bimbos and beefcake macho men than you'd find at other chain-type gyms in town. Here, there are just nice folks who work hard. But that's not the best part. Fit rules because they have so many lazy-people amenities: massages, steam rooms, Internet access, tanning booths, meditation classes, gigantic plasma screen TVs and Starbucks. Since working out is beginning to feel more like being a lazy slob, Houston could be on its way to skinniest-city status.

Jonathan Feigen As streaky and uneven as the Rockets' 2003-2004 season was, Houston Chronicle readers could count on NBA beat writer Jonathan Feigen to get his touches and make it look sweet without fail. Sports writing is a province inherently booby-trapped with clichés. West Coast late games, repetitious seasons and predictable jock-talk quotes ensure that if you haven't heard it before, you're going to hear it repeated a thousand more times. Feigen cuts through that stale routine with graceful description, sharp analysis and the ability to be clever without being smug.

Jonathan Feigen As streaky and uneven as the Rockets' 2003-2004 season was, Houston Chronicle readers could count on NBA beat writer Jonathan Feigen to get his touches and make it look sweet without fail. Sports writing is a province inherently booby-trapped with clichés. West Coast late games, repetitious seasons and predictable jock-talk quotes ensure that if you haven't heard it before, you're going to hear it repeated a thousand more times. Feigen cuts through that stale routine with graceful description, sharp analysis and the ability to be clever without being smug.

The Tavern on Gray Cutthroat, eight-ball, nine-ball -- it doesn't matter what game you play, or even if you're any good. As long as you've got a buddy and a beverage, you're gonna have fun playing pool at the Tavern, where happy hour is 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day. This sprawling, laid-back sports club has plenty of booths and seating at its insanely long bars. While you're waiting for your pool partner to sink that stripe, you can watch a plethora of TVs, choose from dozens of brews, chow down some buffalo wings or dial up "Bad to the Bone" on the Internet jukebox. If you need some fresh air, you can always slip outside to one of the picnic benches, or challenge a friend to a game of Ping-Pong.

The Tavern On Gray
The Tavern on Gray Cutthroat, eight-ball, nine-ball -- it doesn't matter what game you play, or even if you're any good. As long as you've got a buddy and a beverage, you're gonna have fun playing pool at the Tavern, where happy hour is 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day. This sprawling, laid-back sports club has plenty of booths and seating at its insanely long bars. While you're waiting for your pool partner to sink that stripe, you can watch a plethora of TVs, choose from dozens of brews, chow down some buffalo wings or dial up "Bad to the Bone" on the Internet jukebox. If you need some fresh air, you can always slip outside to one of the picnic benches, or challenge a friend to a game of Ping-Pong.

Sheryl Swoopes The Comets' Sheryl Swoopes has jumped to a level of success guys like Yao Ming and Steve Francis can't touch. She's the first woman to have a Nike shoe named after her, and the WNBA's first marketing campaign was built around her. She's a two-time WNBA MVP and a three-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. Swoops led the 1996 and 2000 USA teams to Olympic gold and was a key part of the Comets' 1997-2000 championship teams. And she's accomplished all of this while giving birth, raising a child and missing a season to recover from a serious knee injury. Swoopes continues to play for the U.S. National teams, and she's still one of the Comets' leading players, even in this, her eighth season. The future of the WNBA is always in doubt, but as long as it survives, the best and classiest basketball player in Houston can be found down at the Toyota Center playing for the Comets. Yeah, she's got game.

Sheryl Swoopes The Comets' Sheryl Swoopes has jumped to a level of success guys like Yao Ming and Steve Francis can't touch. She's the first woman to have a Nike shoe named after her, and the WNBA's first marketing campaign was built around her. She's a two-time WNBA MVP and a three-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. Swoops led the 1996 and 2000 USA teams to Olympic gold and was a key part of the Comets' 1997-2000 championship teams. And she's accomplished all of this while giving birth, raising a child and missing a season to recover from a serious knee injury. Swoopes continues to play for the U.S. National teams, and she's still one of the Comets' leading players, even in this, her eighth season. The future of the WNBA is always in doubt, but as long as it survives, the best and classiest basketball player in Houston can be found down at the Toyota Center playing for the Comets. Yeah, she's got game.

Bob Ford It's a summer Sunday in Houston, early in the afternoon. Translation: The air's sweltering, and the sunlight's blinding. There's a vast expanse of green grass surrounded by steel and concrete, and a sweating mass of human bodies waiting. A voice comes booming out over the latest Britney Spears song: "Good afternoon, Astros fans." Nothing sounds more perfect than the voice of Bob Ford, the Houston Astros' public address announcer. With his deep, rumbling timbre, which can be heard on high in any cranny of the park, Ford makes his presence known during every game. ESPN.com calls him "the voice of God." In the church of Minute Maid Park, the masses give thanks to the gods of baseball for Roger Clemens, and for Bob Ford, who continues with his sermon: "Now, for today's lineups."

Bob Ford It's a summer Sunday in Houston, early in the afternoon. Translation: The air's sweltering, and the sunlight's blinding. There's a vast expanse of green grass surrounded by steel and concrete, and a sweating mass of human bodies waiting. A voice comes booming out over the latest Britney Spears song: "Good afternoon, Astros fans." Nothing sounds more perfect than the voice of Bob Ford, the Houston Astros' public address announcer. With his deep, rumbling timbre, which can be heard on high in any cranny of the park, Ford makes his presence known during every game. ESPN.com calls him "the voice of God." In the church of Minute Maid Park, the masses give thanks to the gods of baseball for Roger Clemens, and for Bob Ford, who continues with his sermon: "Now, for today's lineups."

Seth Payne You gotta love a defensive lineman with a name like Payne, and the Texans' Seth Payne lives up to the moniker. At least when he's on the field. Unfortunately for Houston fans, the defensive tackle has suffered as much pain as he's inflicted, spending most of the 2003 season sidelined by a torn ACL. When he's able to play, however, Payne is an unsung anchor for the team's unusual defensive scheme -- it's his job to tie up two opposing blockers in order to let the linebackers roam free and get the glory of high-profile tackles. Payne's no slouch at racking up his own tackling stats, too, powering his six-foot-four, 300-pound frame over the top of terrified running backs. Which isn't what you'd expect from a graduate of the Ivy League's Cornell University -- not exactly a football factory. The fancy education helps Payne call the Texans' defensive plays at the line of scrimmage, and it has also led him to be active in the community. He's a frequent volunteer for reading and teaching programs and has done yeoman work for the March of Dimes and the Houston Food Bank. Recovering from a torn ACL isn't easy, but Texans fans are fervently hoping for a Payne comeback.

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