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BOO 2011

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Photo by Bryan Soderlind

Sports and Recreation - Staff Picks

Since sometime in the mid-1960s, this little marina on the Wekiva River, not far from Wekiva Springs State Park, has been a gathering place for locals. All year long, people come here to rent canoes and kayaks, play volleyball on the sand courts, fish, rent cabanas on the river or just kick back with a cold beer from the outdoor bar. But apparently, there are some neighbors in town – the kind who live in the McMansions surrounding this primitive partying spot on the riverbank – who don’t like living near it. They say too much partying, drinking and noise is disrupting their lives. “It’s not what we bargained for when we bought in here,” one neighbor complained to the Orlando Sentinel last fall. In January, the owners of Wekiva Island won a battle to get the parcel of land it sits on zoned so it can become an “ecotourism” destination and extend its operating hours. But displeased neighbors promised they’d be keeping tabs on the place, ready to file their complaints should things get too rowdy at the river.

 

Best place for a late-night game of pickup basketball

University of Central Florida’s outdoor courts
4000 Central Florida Blvd., 407-823-2408 rec.ucf.edu m

As the Miami Heat inched closer to the NBA Finals this year, you may have found yourself with the urge to pick up the rock and work on your fade-away jumper, while muttering profanities to an imaginary LeBron James. But if it’s 10 p.m. and you have no basketball, no hoop and nobody to play with, it’s a bit difficult to express your Finals Fantasy. Unless, of course, you’re near the campus of the University of Central Florida, which is a reliable place to get in on some pickup ball games. Just to the right of the school’s Wellness Center – e.g., the gym – are three well-maintained and fully marked outdoor courts. The school stops checking for parking permits around 10:30 p.m., though police are supposedly – supposedly – checking occasionally after that. The lights stay on til midnight, so it’s the perfect place to indulge your inner Dwight Howard.

 

Best bad sports ad campaign

Predators’ “Get your nuts back” advertisements

So it’s Super Bowl Sunday, and just when you think you’re enjoying a respite from the typical commercial inanity, this scene comes up: A man wearing a football jersey sits in the bleachers of a deserted stadium. “Football season is over,” the voiceover says. The man despondently munches from a bag of peanuts, until a janitor yanks the bag from his hand. “And now, you’ve lost your nuts!” Cut to a series of clips of Orlando’s arena football team, the Predators, in action, along with cheering fans. Cue a severely pubescent voiceover which exhorts you to “get your nuts back” at an Amway Center “packed with football … AND NUTS.” Finally, the commercial ends with our protagonist totally fellating a bag of peanuts with gusto, after getting two season tickets – and two bags of nuts – for only $99! After the 30-second spot ends, you wonder what else $2.6 million could have purchased for the Preds.

Best community-minded skatepark

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