Best Of 2009

Best of Orlando 2009 - Sports and Recreation

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Best free bike tuneup

Rusted Chain Bike Collective

The RCBC 'promote[s] interdependency through cycling, encourage[s] movement towards environmental sustainability, and foster[s] local unity.' Yes, they'll fix your bike for free (donations encouraged, however), but what they really want is to empower you to learn how to fix your own bike. They're looking for a dedicated space, but for the moment you can find them Wednesday evenings at the Audubon Park Community Market (apmarket.

Best cheap place to get wet

Splash Park and Playground
Lake Mary Sports Complex
550 Rantoul Lane, Lake Mary

Keeping kids happy is easier than most people think: When it comes to summer days, it all boils down to point and shoot with water. The problem with that formula, at least here in theme-park central, is the exorbitant cost that comes with an aquatic afternoon. The good folks in Lake Mary have solved that issue with their splash park, which is exactly what it sounds like ' streaming fountains of water aimed downward for $2 per person (open April through September).

Best place to camp

Moss Park
12901 Moss Park Road

Orange County's largest park is also one of its coolest. Moss Park is 1,500 acres of land between lakes Mary Jane and Hart in southwest Orange County. You'll find beautiful live oaks, a beach, hiking trails and plenty of spots to set up a tent. You'll also find some small measure of solitude, which is getting kind of rare in these parts.

Best fool-me-twice

Xtreme Football League

Like a hot city's fat friend, Orlando has long been desperate to fill its gaping eyesore (the Citrus Bowl) with something — anything ' that promises to stay for a little while and tell us we're pretty. For a sad moment in 2001, the Xtreme Football League (the Orlando Rage!) used us. Now we're ready to open our Bowl again, this time to the AOL-funded United Football League. Michael Vick's name has been floated as quarterback. What could go wrong?

Best bureaucratic idiocy

Fleet Peeples Park
2000 S. Lakemont Ave., Winter Park

Here's an idea: If you don't like dogs, avoid dog parks. Apparently, this is too egalitarian for some of Winter Park's snobbier residents, who over the last year launched complaints about the popular (and perennial Best of Orlando readers' poll winner) Fleet Peeples Park because the dogs were taking up their precious real estate on Lake Baldwin. In February, an alternate on the city's parks commission took up their cause, pushing that board to enforce rules that essentially forbid dog owners from letting their mutts off-leash on weekends. Fortunately, at a meeting in early June, the parks board backed off of some of the crazier ideas. The park is still free, and available to off-leash dogs on weekdays and weekends before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. So go enjoy it, before some other Park Avenue fancypants decides that your dog doesn't belong in their park.

Best quizzically named sporting event

I Believe in Wrestling

What's not to believe? The rings at the Downtown Recreation Center take every ounce of doled-out punishment the Amway gets when WWE rolls through town. Former world champion Larry 'the Living Legend' Zbyszko and Chasyn Rance take their students from the FIP/Believe/Riot training center to the next level: costumed man-crush drama. So who out there is doubting this is the sort of thing O-Town is into?

Best thing to look forward to next year

Orlando Predators

In 2008, the Arena Football League showed more foresight about the economic collapse than any other industry and announced it would suspend the 2009 season. Watching a receiver catch a pass three rows deep in the audience is sadly low on the discretionary income priorities tree. But the AFL is looking to put coach Jay Gruden and your Orlando Predators back on the half-field next February. Two years is too long not to catch a T-shirt from a cannon.

Best place to throw your back out

Lebron's Baseball Depot
5850 Edgewater Drive

At 20 balls for $2, there's almost no cheaper place to do yourself an injury; just step under the giant 'Batter's Up!' bat and belly up to the snack bar to purchase tokens. Lebron's batting cages are endearingly ramshackle, with a big clanking pitch machine in the center looking like a steel octopus under a netting tarp and a picnic table full of kids scarfing Fritos. Scuffling teenagers swing hard next to dads lecturing Little League daughters on follow-through. But please, if you're over 30, stretch first.

Best rolling roadblock

Orlando Critical Mass

As in cities around the United States, the Critical Mass ride serves as a reminder of the growing number of bicycle riders sharing the roads. The display of solidarity departs from Loch Haven Park at 5:30 p.m. on the last Friday of the month, and 250-plus rebellious teens, young families, girls with pink baskets and easy riders come together to play nice in the streets. Traffic is corked off at intersections for safe crossings, which isn't always appreciated by honking drivers ready to start the weekend.

Best place to skate for Jesus

Saturday Christian Skates (canceled)
Semoran Skateway
2670 Cassel Creek Blvd., Casselberry

Remember when roller-skating was a filthy affair featuring middle-parted girlfights over who gave whom a blow job in the bathroom? Well, at this (sadly, now defunct) event you were more than welcome to shuffle your best mobile flirtatious come-on, only you got to do it to the likes of DC Talk and Michael W. Smith. You know, if Jesus had roller skates, he would have been that much more awesome.

Best place to have sex in the middle of a lake

The weird wooded island in Lake Holden

For those fortunate enough to have proper water sports hardware — boats, you dirty minds — Lake Holden, just south of downtown Orlando, is a fantastic place to shirtlessly impress your neighbors with your upside-down wakeboarding skills. But the lake's real hidden gem lies in its center, an unpopulated island of brush and bad intentions. Blocked from view of the luxurious estates lining at least half the lake (Hello, Holden Heights!), this little sanctuary, complete with waterlogged mattress, looks like a place where teenage girls get pregnant and crabs — not the edible kind — find new, hairy homes.

Best dick move

Florida GOP versus Florida Forever

These are tough times, so when the Republicans who dominate the Legislature start cutting back, you'd expect the $12.3 million appropriation for the sensitive-land-buying program, the Florida Forever Coalition, to be among the first to go. But when lawmakers closed a tax loophole that could have funded FF, the House GOP refused. Why? The Senate declined to go along with their plan for offshore oil drilling. So the House took their ball and went home. Thanks, guys.

Best City Park

1st: Lake Eola Park,
2nd: Central Park,
3rd: Blue Jacket Park,

Best Dog Park

1st: Fleet Peeples Park,
2nd: Paw Park,
3rd: Barber Dog Park

Best Local Sports Team

1st: Orlando Magic,
2nd: UCF Football,
3rd: Orlando Predators,

Best Miniature Golf Course

1st: Congo River Golf , multiple locations,
2nd: Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf, 8501 International Drive , 407-352-7378, 12545 State Road 535, Lake Buena Vista, 407-827-1242,
3rd: Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course, ?1675 N. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, 407-939-4636,

Best Place to Bowl

1st: Colonial Lanes 400 N. Primrose Drive, 407-894-0361,
2nd: Aloma Bowl, 2530 Aloma Ave., Winter Park, 407-671-8675,
3rd: Boardwalk Bowl, 10749 E. Colonial Drive, 407-384-0003,

Best Place to Camp

1st: Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, 407-884-2008,
2nd: Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort, 4510 N. Fort Wilderness Trail, Lake Buena Vista, 407-824-2900,
3rd: Ocala National Forest, 904-942-9300,

Best Place to Work Out

1st: L.A. Fitness, multiple locations,
2nd: YMCA, multiple locations,
3rd: Planet Fitness, multiple locations,

Best Pool Hall

1st: Sportstown Billiards, 2414 E. Robinson St., 407-894-6258,
2nd: Trick Shots Billiards, multiple locations,
3rd: Backstage Billiards, multiple locations

Best Public Golf Course

1st: Dubsdread Golf Course, 549 W. Par St., 407-246-2551,
2nd: Winter Park Country Club, 761 Old England Ave., Winter Park, 407-599-3339,
3rd: MetroWest Golf Club, 2100 S. Hiawassee Road, 407-299-1099,

Best River to Canoe/Kayak

1st: Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, 407-884-2008,
2nd: Econlockhatchee River Canoe Trail,
3rd: St. Johns River

Best Shooting Range

1st: Shoot Straight, 1349 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Apopka, 407-889-0842, 4700 S. U.S. Highway 17-92, Casselberry, 407-834-2242,
2nd: East Orange Shooting Sports, 7210 Gardner St., Winter Park, 407-679-1995,
3rd: Oak Ridge Gun Range, 6160 S. Orange Ave., 407-857-5663,

Best Skateboard Park

1st: Vans Skatepark, 5220 International Drive, 407-351-3881,
2nd: Mesh Skatepark, 881 W. Warren Ave., Longwood, 407-657-2002,
3rd: Orlando Skate Park, 400 Festival Way, 407-898-9600,

Best Theme Park Ride

1st: The Incredible Hulk Coaster,
2nd: Manta,
3rd: Dueling Dragons,

Best Theme Park

1st: Universal Islands of Adventures,
2nd: Disney's Magic Kingdom,
3rd: SeaWorld Orlando,

Best Water Park

1st: Wet 'n Wild,
2nd: Aquatica,
3rd: Typhoon Lagoon,

Best Yoga Studio

1st: College Park Yoga, 706 W. Smith St., 407-999-7871,
2nd: Shine On Yoga, 619 N. Thornton Ave., 407-963-1956,
3rd: Bikram Yoga Orlando 3218-B E. Colonial Drive, 407-896-2530,

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