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Best Of 2003

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Best Of :: Sports & Recreation

Best Goofy Sports Gizmos

The entire history of Denver's hapless and benighted major-league baseball franchise has been a losing battle against the physics of altitude -- specifically, the thin air that torments pitchers trying to throw curveballs at Coors Field, and that allegedly puts Rockies batters off their stride when they play on the road. Last year, the Rox installed a humidor meant to cool and moisturize their baseballs so the ol' horsehide would react as at sea level. The jury's still out on that move. This time, manager Clint Hurdle has positioned a time clock by the entry to the dugout as a reminder to the Rockies that they have to work each day. But that's not all. The scientific wizards of Rockiedom are talking about using a fancy hyperbaric chamber that would simulate the atmospheric conditions of full-speed batting practice in, say, Philadelphia or Chicago -- although it won't replicate the breeze at Wrigley Field. Will the new contraption make any difference to a club that collectively batted 79 points lower on the road than at home last year? Who knows? Ask Todd Helton and Larry Walker come mid-July.


Best Sports Quote

Homer Simpson's buffoonery, Bart's pre-pubescent anarchism and the precocious wisdom of his little sister Lisa have all ripened into beloved cultural institutions, but Matt Groening's wisecracking burlesque of American family life has its way with the world beyond Springfield, too. In the much-heralded 300th episode, broadcast in February, Fox viewers beheld a cartoon version of Frankenstein's monster, lunk-headed and zipper-necked, staggering down the length of a basketball court and trying without much success to stick the ball in the hoop. The big guy's explanation for his obvious incompetence rang a local bell. Said he: "Me made of Denver Nuggets corpses."


Best Sports Quote

Homer Simpson's buffoonery, Bart's pre-pubescent anarchism and the precocious wisdom of his little sister Lisa have all ripened into beloved cultural institutions, but Matt Groening's wisecracking burlesque of American family life has its way with the world beyond Springfield, too. In the much-heralded 300th episode, broadcast in February, Fox viewers beheld a cartoon version of Frankenstein's monster, lunk-headed and zipper-necked, staggering down the length of a basketball court and trying without much success to stick the ball in the hoop. The big guy's explanation for his obvious incompetence rang a local bell. Said he: "Me made of Denver Nuggets corpses."

Best Male Athlete You've Never Heard Of

It may not be everybody's idea of a sporting good time, but someone's got to be best in the world, and Evergreen's Dennis Hastings is going nowhere faster than anyone else his age. Last year, he successfully defended his title as the world's best indoor stationary rower, lightweight division, in the 50- to 59-year-old age group. In November, he was winner of his division in the British Indoor Rowing Championships.


Best Male Athlete You've Never Heard Of

It may not be everybody's idea of a sporting good time, but someone's got to be best in the world, and Evergreen's Dennis Hastings is going nowhere faster than anyone else his age. Last year, he successfully defended his title as the world's best indoor stationary rower, lightweight division, in the 50- to 59-year-old age group. In November, he was winner of his division in the British Indoor Rowing Championships.

Best Female Athlete You've Never Heard Of

We're a poorer state for it, but alas, Colorado isn't usually associated with the bikini sports. That's changing, thanks to the improbable emergence of Highlands Ranch native Emily Copeland, who, despite her landlocked upbringing, has become the country's best female wakeboarder. All of eighteen years old, Copeland has been competing nationally since she was fifteen. She started dominating the circuit in 2001, when she won the Vans Triple Crown Championship and ended the year ranked number one in the country. She finished first in the 2002 Gravity Games and Masters Tournament and won the gold medal in wakeboarding at the 2002 X Games before a late-season injury put her out of commission. Look for her to dominate again this summer.


Best Sporting Club You¹ve Never Heard OfHusband and wife snorkeler/stick-handlers Chris and Agnes DeBrunner of Conifer started DUH in 1993 after moving to Denver from Illinois, where Agnes's brother introduced her to the game. "It was a different game then," recalls Agnes. "More like a holding-your-breath contest." Today, thanks to modern gear like snorkels, fins and spatula-sized sticks, the game is played at the speed of, well, pushing around a weighted puck underwater. From above, a game can look like a group of very pale piranhas attacking a pancake. But, says Agnes, "It's good exercise -- I hate swimming laps -- and it's fun." The club, which boasts a mix of ice hockey and Ultimate Frisbee players, meets at the pool at Lakewood's Carmody Recreation Complex.


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Best Goofy Sports Gizmos: The Rockies' Humidor and Hyperbaric Chamber

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