BEST FOREIGN SPORT IMPORT
It may be one of the most popular games on the British Isles and most former British colonies, but, well, it just seems to baffle Americans. All that running back and forth, the big flat stick and any talk of "slick" or "sticky" wickets just makes us uncomfortable. The Boise Cricket Club is trying to change all that, though, and even managed to get the city to put in a cricket pitch. Maybe we'll check things out, if we've got two days to spare. email@example.com.
BEST WAY TO BE A STAR
Graduate from the Idaho Star Program
Combine the fact that more people are turning to motorcycles and scooters to save money with the fact that Idaho does not have a helmet law, and you're asking for trouble. All the more reason to take advantage of programs like Idaho STAR—Skills Training Advantage for Riders. The Idaho Transportation Department program is run by Boise State and gives riders the skills they need to stay alive. Here's a sobering statistic: 92 percent of riders in crashes are self-taught. Besides, most insurance companies offer a discount with completion. idahostar.org.
BEST REVISITATION OF YOUTH
Punk Rock Kickball
Though there's nothing inherently punk rock about organized sports, there's something to be said for the nostalgic resuscitation of childhood playground games. From foursquare to cornhole to red rover, nothing beats a little reminiscent sporting. Especially when there's ample beer involved. But now, if you're picked last for the team, you can drown your sorrows in PBR and not a tub of Ben and Jerry's. myspace.com/kickballsthatarrred
BEST GAME NAME THAT WOULD GET OUR FACE SLAPPED IF WE SAID IT IN FRONT OF MOM
At some point in recent history, the nerdy-sounding yet effectively named bean bag toss became known as cornhole. That's all well and good, but "cornhole" is also a widely used term for a part of the human anatomy. And it gets worse when the gaming set turns it into a verb, as in: "The other day, I was cornholing with Becky." We're about to ruin the game cornhole for you, so read on with caution. Urbandictionary.com offers this crude illustration to define the slang version of cornhole: (o) Ew.
BEST BIKE TREND
Alley Cat Races
While they're relatively new to Boise, alley cat races are a tradition in bigger cities. The races are usually organized by bike messengers and involve sprinting around town on bikes along all sorts of random courses, which usually involve at least one bar. Northstar Cycle Courier bike messengers have taken the lead in bringing the races to Boise, including BW's own Bars and Stripes race. Lots of sweaty people streaking around town in search of beer. Sounds fun.
BEST ARCHERY RANGE NEXT TO A DOG PARK BEHIND THE MILITARY RESERVE
The Archery Range Next to a Dog Park Behind the Military Reserve
It just is.
Hydrotube at Natatorium Pool
The green serpentine water route is the stuff of kids' summer dreams. After a few trips down the fully enclosed tube, the regular pool slides are just plain boring. If only we could somehow incorporate the hydrotube into our workday ... 1811 Warm Springs Ave., 208-345-9270.
BEST WEIRD SWIMMING POOL
If it weren't for the dripping wet kids running around in bathing suits, you may not know Lowell Pool even existed. OK, that sounds like mumbo jumbo, but from State Street, Lowell looks like a giant hunk of above-ground concrete. Rather than putting Lowell into the ground, pool makers left the whole kit and caboodle above ground like a giant cinder block with a giant hole scooped out of the top that's been filled with water. 1601 N. 28th St., 208-345-7918.
BEST PLACE TO TEACH YOUR DOG TO SWIM
Lucky Peak Reservoir
What's a person to do with a water-shy dog? Those little doggie lifejackets are too embarrassing for any dog with a healthy ego, and paying for doggie psychoanalysis is just too expensive, but the other dogs keep laughing. Backyard wading pool? Too shallow. The river? Too fast. Try heading east to the reservoir, where dogs can play in calm waters while building Fido's self-esteem.
BEST GIANT FLAMING TIKI GOD
Boondocks Fun Center
What's better than miniature golf? Miniature golf around a giant tiki god with flames shooting out of its head, of course. Granted, BW staffers are suckers for any kind of tiki god—the ones that decorate lawns, hold up the ends of thatched bars and especially the ones that come full of frosty adult beverages. We also kind of like open flames and adore anything in miniature, so the Boondocks' mini golf course is perfect. After a grueling game of chasing your brightly colored ball across Astroturf, you get the bonus reward of having your eyebrows burnt off by a 10-foot-tall, propane-spewing, island-themed lawn gnome. What could be better? 1385 S. Blue Marlin Lane, Meridian, 208-898-0900, boondocksfuncenter.com.
BEST DRIVING RANGE
Anything With Water
Golf is an act of futility, an excuse for self-imposed frustration. So, why not give yourself some kind of validation? Strangely, there's nothing quite as satisfying as a solid splash as your ball drops into a driving range/lake. It may be the last thing you hit on purpose for the rest of the day.
BEST ONE-HANDED BALL GAME
During the annual Boise Weekly employee retreat at the Lodge at Riggins Hot Springs, several of BW's finest were introduced to the game of bocce ball by one of BW's other finest, Chelsea Snow. She not only supplied the equipment—four large balls, or bocci, and the small white target ball, the pallina—but helped us sort out the rules as we played on a very non-regulation surface. We whiled away several lazy Saturday afternoon hours, cocktails in one hand, bocci in the other, tossing the balls not so far as to make retrieval strenuous, but far enough to make the game a bit challenging. We have a few traditions as a part of our retreat, and some of us are hoping that a bocce tournament becomes one of them.
BEST AS THE CROWS FLY
Boise Weekly is proud to present a written re-enactment of what it's like to take a zipline trip through the Idaho wilderness. Aaaaauuuuggggghhhhh! (breath) Aaaaauuuuuggggghhhhh! (breath) Aaaaauuuugggghhhh! Tamarack Resort, Donnelly, tamarackidaho.com or Zip Idaho, Horseshoe Bend, zipidaho.com.
BEST FLASK INDUSTRY BOON
Boise River Alcohol Ban
Admittedly, the amount of drinking on the river has decreased significantly since the alcohol ban went into effect. And, admittedly, putting the kibosh on booze hasn't done anything for some people except bring out some deviant creativity. We've seen people with beer in their jumper cable cases. Only the really pathetic put white Russians in baby bottles. The traditional use a flask. The traditional with an outdoor frame of mind use a camping flask.
BEST GIRL-ON-GIRL ACTION
Boise State Sixxes
When rugby just doesn't cut it, women join the Women's Independent Football League, formed in 2000 with more than 1,600 women playing in 41 teams across the United States. They aren't just girls playing football; the Boise State Sixxes are athletes doing what they love. They have the heart and determination it takes to hit hard and score major yardage. Like any team, they practice the fundamentals, including full contact tackles. The team learns how to protect the ball, break away from the defense and fight for touchdowns like any fierce competitor. myspace.com/bsusixxesfootball.
BEST WATER DISPLAY
Lucky Peak Reservoir Rooster Tail
Boise may be getting all citified, with its fancy restaurants, boutiques, art galleries and spas, but true Idahoans still get a kick out of the simple things in life; namely, the Lucky Peak Dam rooster tail. Every now and then, when we get a decent winter snow fall, Lucky Peak Reservoir fills to the brim and dam managers are forced to dump some water, quick like. The result is a massive plume of water shooting out from the base of the dam. Families haul children and out-of-town guests east of town to see the spectacle and prove that we, too, know all about the finer things in life.
BEST BOWL OF SPANDEX
Idaho Velodrome and Cycling Park
Bikes going round and round, carrying Spandex-clad riders at dizzying speeds—not your typical Idaho pastime, but you've got to love an excuse to pull out those bike shorts. The indoor facility in Eagle isn't open yet, but we're still excited. Besides, there's always BMX and mountain biking in the meantime. idahovelopark.org.
BEST ORIGINAL PLAYGROUND
We have visions of our childhood playground before all the equipment got replaced with plastic "safer" versions of themselves. We say playground, safe, what? One of us broke his or her nose once and arm three different times, all at this same playground. Did we grow up to be traumatized by playgrounds? No, we grew up to be strong and not wussy. When we drove by the playground in Kuna Park, we were so excited to see that they had not replaced the metal equipment. Springing metal animals? Check. Merry-go-round? Check. Monkey bars? Check. Oh, Kuna you have won us over by staying the same. Please don't change; we love you the way you are.
BEST BICYCLE SHOP TO FIND RANDOM THINGS
Bikes2Boards isn't all glossy and giant. But we like it that way. Their small store is comforting and their selection is comprehensive but not overwhelming. If you are looking for a bike basket, they've got it. If you are looking for fancy wheels for your fixed gear—in beautiful candy colors, we might add—they've got those, too. Need a bolt or chain? Mark those off your list. They have a full-service fix-it shop, too. If they don't have what you're looking for, they'll order it. Maybe you're not into the commitment of bike ownership. Fear not, they rent bikes, too. 3525 W. State, 208-343-0208, bikes2boards.com.
Bogus Basin Mountain Resort
Most of us associate Bogus Basin with snow-covered slopes, a fairly treacherous, icy road and flying downhill on one or two boards. But Bogus officials are doing all they can not to be tied exclusively to the "ski" word, witnessed by its transformation into Bogus Basin Mountain Resort. Not that skiing isn't a major part of the resort, but the focus is on becoming a year-round playground. There are mountain bike and hiking trails and even a disc golf course. Add that to a slate of stargazing parties, geocache events and assorted celebrations, and you've got the makings of one rockin' off-season. bogusbasin.org.
BEST TRAIN TO NOWHERE
Thunder Mountain line
Just a half hour from Boise, a train can take you up the river and back in time. The Thunder Mountain Line, a rare sightseer-only train, takes passengers along the Payette River for riverside picnics or onboard wine tastings and dinners. There are costumed murder mystery nights, themed holiday excursions and the occasional strolling minstrel—all on a '40s-era train retrofitted with a dining car, bar and open-air viewing cars. It may seem kind of cheesy at first thought, but two hours spent relaxing to the gentle rocking motions of the train is more than just physical transportation; it's psychological. 120 Mill Road, Horseshoe Bend, 208-331-1184, thundermountainline.com.
BEST HOTTIES ON WHEELS
Treasure Valley Rollergirls
Seriously, there's only one place in town where a girl in a short skirt and thigh-highs can pull off a mouth guard—the roller derby. We salute you, Rollergirls, for making ass-kicking look so effortless. treasurevalleyrollergirls.net.
BEST EVENT THAT WE ARE LIKE, "WHAT?"
The world is full of things that make us scratch our head and wonder, "What are they thinking?" We have just such a reaction about the Pedal Paddle. The event has participants ride bikes upriver, carrying rafts or other floatation devices on their backs, then float back down the Boise River, carrying their bikes, all culminating in a beer party in someone's back yard. We're not quite sure if we should admire their spirit and ingenuity or cringe at the high probability of death.
BEST PLACE TO LOSE YOUR SHIRT
Les Bois Park
Les Bois as in the horse track, and your shirt, as in your dinero. The thing is, there are all these signs in the betting area saying how one-two-three-easy it is to place a bet. And therein lies the double screw. Cheap and easy means you place far more $2 bets than you ever win back because you have absolutely no idea what you're doing, and before you know it, you've blown your mortgage money on a horse with three legs because you like the name "Inyerrear." 5610 N. Glenwood Ave., Garden City, 208-321-0222, lesboisracing.com.
BEST ALL-AMERICAN DATE
Boise Hawks Baseball Game
Grab your best gal, or guy, and jump in the Studebaker to watch the boys of summer down at the old ballpark. Buy a couple of red hots, a frosty one or two (of course, we're talking about root beers), a bag of peanuts and cozy up on (not under) the bleachers. Maybe after the game, you can head to the malt shop to meet up with the other crazy kids for a sock hop. 5600 N. Glenwood St., 208-322-5000, boisehawks.com.
We thought we were on acid. We weren't (although it would have been a lot cooler if we were, man). One late night, driving by Camel's Back Park, a BW staffer spotted a swarm of lightning bugs that looked like neon-colored worms darting people-high in the black, black night. We stopped the car and stared. Turns out a few daredevils (so named because the po po tend to hang in this North End park all night long waiting to bust kids smoking dope on the swing set) had a brilliant idea. Glow-in-the-dark Frisbees. Raver light sticks on all four appendages. A game of Ultimate. Dude. Can we play next time?
BEST MORNING RAVE
Ecstatic Dance Project
Some people need a certain dose of alcohol or some narcotic to let it all hang loose. Not the ecstatic dance people. Sunday mornings, if you are in the mood, you can shake your booty in a room full of folks who just want to move. There are chicks and dudes doing yoga in time to the music—sometimes trancey, occasionally disco—hula hoopers, kids, jumpers, hand dancers and floor dancers. Did we mention booty shakers? It is a great way to wake up. Fulton Street Center for the Arts, 854 Fulton St., 208-331-9224, bctheater.org.
BEST 6 a.m. HIKE
In the summer, Table Rock is best hiked at 6 a.m. Wait until 6 p.m. and—without a single shady spot to be found between the trailhead and the summit—you may be the victim of sunstroke. But first thing in the morning, it's cool, it's quiet, and little else gets the lazy blood moving like that first quarter-mile of steep-ass terrain. Make it to the top with a few minutes to watch the city wake up and then barrel down the hillside to make it home for a shower just before work.
BEST EXCUSE TO THROW A RUBBER BALL AT SOMEONE'S HEAD
Adult Dodgeball League
Among the choices of team-building sports, dodgeball is a curious selection. Inevitably, one team is stacked with players with a certain gleam in their eye and a hunger for inflicting the sting of defeat. That ball is headed straight for the most vulnerable areas, and when it arrives with an audible sting, there go any feelings of grandeur. All that's left is to tuck tail and slink off the court. Yet grown people continue to play a game that may have lasting effects on their self-worth. The game doesn't have a lot of room for mercy. Luckily a variety of competitive levels exist on the Boise circuit.
BEST MAIN STREET MILE COSTUME
Boise Weekly Delivery Boxes
During the Main Street Mile in June, a variety of different mascots made the dash down the course. Members of the Boise Fire Department dropped their hoses and made an appearance. Buster Bronco galloped down the block, and a few other news operations brought out their representatives, but few stuck out like the handsomely decorated Boise Weekly distribution boxes. The bright red likenesses of the receptacles which house Idaho's only alternative newspaper had both style and verve. Waving to the crowd with the stub of an arm protruding from the side of the boxes, the BW mascot boxes bravely marched down Capitol Boulevard spreading the good word about the publication they proudly represented.
BEST SPORTS EVENT THAT SOUNDS LIKE A DIGESTIVE PROBLEM
Tube, Trot and Trike
A unique Boise event that involves floating the river and sprinting to a tricycle race, all to benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation sounds great. Too bad the same thing can't be said about the event's name, which seems like something you pick up from bad water in South America and requires some heavy antibiotics to clear up.
Fort Boise Skatepark
We know, Kuna's is bigger and better. Ketchum's and Hailey's skateparks draw people from around the country. Even Buhl's skatepark is a concrete dream. But there is something about the old familiarity of Fort Boise Skatepark that makes us swoon. We love its mellow transitions. We love the bowl. Sometimes we don't love all the little kids lying around on the pyramid or the BMX bikers. But we love Fort Boise for its imperfections, too. 600 E. Garrison Rd., 208-384-4240.
BEST GOLDEN GIRL
For once, Boise was ahead of the curve. We've known that Kristin Armstrong was one of the best cyclists around for years. Now, finally, the rest of the world knows it, too. All it took was an Olympic gold medal for the road cycling time trials in Beijing to bring Armstrong the attention she deserves. She came home to a hero's welcome, with hundreds joining her on a symbolic ride through the streets of Boise to honor her accomplishment. No one could help but smile when thoughts turned to Boise's first ever gold medal winner. Good on ya, Kristin.