Best Of :: Sports & Recreation
What do you do when you need to burn off some steam? A lot of us check in at the gym. The idea behind Great Play is that, in an age when we're being bombarded with news about childhood obesity, maybe the kids should be doing the same. That's the whole point of the national franchise operation, which recently made its debut in the Denver area. Unlike other sport facilities for kids (specifically, kids ages six months through elementary-school age), Great Play offers a number of programs under one roof, from age-specific classes to open gym time, when children can just untether after a morning of too much TV. Also — and of great importance to the founders of Great Play, Englewood residents Keith and Jyl Camhi — is the non-competitive bent of the instruction, which encourages children to have fun first, and to learn specific skills (how to throw a ball or swing a bat, for example) in easy increments. It's their way of proving that exercise is good for you and therefore something worth encouraging; the goal of the Great Play method is to make it a natural part of kids' lives as they grow. The Colorado Boulevard gym is the first of several planned in the state (another will be opening in Highlands Ranch soon). In gymnastics vernacular, Great Play sticks it!
Old athletes are still young by everyday life standards — except for Jamie Moyer. The left-handed veteran (who got his first start against Steve Carlton) is attempting to make a comeback and to make the Rockies roster after missing last year recovering from Tommy John surgery. And after a slow start, he's now competing for the fifth starter position — complete with his wicked 67 mph pitches. Just that, and the fact that he made it to spring training, is commendable. No word on whether the Rockies staff has to accommodate him with a 4:30 p.m. dinner.
A lot was expected of the number-two overall pick in the NHL draft, but few people were counting on the kind of performance that the Swedish-born Gabriel Landeskog has turned in. The lefty is in the top five in most offensive categories among rookies and second on the team in points. In March, he was named the NHL's top rookie. He also provides hope, which we will gladly traffic in. The Avs have lacked a star since Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg began to fade. The talented winger is only nineteen years old and should get even better, especially if center Matt Duchene, who is all of 21, grows with him.
Readers' Choice: Matt Duchene
They're not as popular as Rocky dogs or Helton burgers, but fans can still get their Rocky Mountain oysters at Coors Field. Since 1995, sliced bull's testicles, battered and fried to a golden, chewy crisp, have been available at stand 144 in the ballpark, where they have a "small but hard-core following," says Aramark regional manager Richard Hesse. Play ball!
Denver-based manufacturer Never Summer Industries marked its twentieth anniversary in the snowboard business with the addition of the Proto CT, a springy new all-mountain freestyle board that ruled this season's demo days and earned top reviews. Like all boards in the line this year, the Proto CT is made in Colorado and features Never Summer's patented Rocker Camber Technology, a profile shape that floats on powder, rules on the rails, and helps even beginner riders avoid catching an edge and face-planting under the chairlift. It's also loaded with slope-tech like "Carbonium Laminate Technology," "STS Pretensioned Fiberglass," Never Summer's "Superlight" wood core, and a "graphite-impregnated Sintered 5501 base." Translation? The Proto CT has both pop and pep, offering a lively ride in the best and worst conditions.
Rookie defensive sensation Von Miller forced a fumble on his very first NFL play, was named AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, recorded 11.5 sacks, played a couple of games in a cast and was named to the 2011 Pro Bowl. Not bad. Off the field, the bespectacled Miller was the picture of poise. And while Tim Tebow was certainly the spark that the Broncos used to fire themselves up for a mid-season turnaround, Miller was the fuel. The Broncos will be Peyton Manning's team come September, but its orange-and-blue heart beats behind jersey number 58.
Readers' Choice: Tim Tebow