Best of OC

Best Of 2011

Neighborhoods

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Best Of :: Sports & Recreation

Best Ride At Disneyland
Mad Tea Party

It's officially called the Mad Tea Party, but everyone knows it as the "teacups." Forget freaking Space Mountain—or even California Screamin', for that matter. To show people you're made of sterner stuff, head for the Alice In Wonderland-inspired ride that "re-creates the film's 'unbirthday' sequence featuring the Mad Hatter and March Hare's chaotic tea party." Most people either love it or hate it—there's really no middle ground for this ride, the obvious reason being that you need to be pretty nausea-proof to stomach sitting in twirling teacups placed on three separate turntables, which are all teetering on an even larger turntable. Because of its polarizing nature, there's never a very long wait (each of the 18 pastel teacups fits five people), and if you don't particularly like whom you're sitting with, you can spin your cup as fast as you can—as long as you don't lose your lunch.

1313 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, 92802
MAP
714-781-4565
Best Ducks Player
Corey Perry

It should've been a bad year for the Ducks. Newly minted captain Ryan Getzlaf took a puck to the face in a game against Phoenix in December, causing him to spend weeks on the injured reserve list and the team to lose its already-shaky focus. Perry, the Ducks' right wing, stepped up and brought the team to fourth seed in the West, allowing it to advance to the playoffs. Perry's no-holds-barred style around the opponent's net—he's one of the last power forwards and has a mean forecheck—paid off, even though he frequently had to be scraped off the ice by his teammates. All told, he scored 48 assists and a league-high 50 goals during the regular season, most during the last 20 games of the season, with an additional two goals and six assists during the playoffs. Not surprisingly, Perry got the Hart Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player for the 2010-11 season; now that we know what he can do, the heat will be on for the upcoming season.

2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, 92806
MAP
714-704-2400
Best Angels Player
Jered Weaver
John+Gilhooley

Yep, we're going with the Weave again, but this year, we're laying off the stats (which clearly indicate he's not only the Angels' best player, but also one of the best pitchers in baseball). This time, he wins for being old-school. We'll answer the back-and-forth about Weaver's response to two Tigers batters showing him up after their July 31 home runs with a quote, but not one about Weaver. "Barry Bonds?" ex-umpire Doug Harvey once said. "I'll tell you what: If he hit a home run off [Bob] Gibson or [Don] Drysdale and stood and admired it, they'd knock that earring out of his ear the next time up." But seriously, Jered, get a haircut.

2000 E. Gene Autry Way, Anaheim, 92805
MAP
714-940-2070
Best College Player
Lynn Walker, Vanguard University Women's Tennis

If sports are really half-mental, the amount of emotional baggage in the mind of Lynn Walker would have crippled most collegiate athletes, leaving them on the floor, hugging their knees to their chest and bawling their eyes out. She lost both her father and her mother in traumatic fashion, and last year, she found out that what she thought was a lingering injury in her calf was actually a cancerous tumor. It seemed life had nothing but unfortunate circumstances to present to the now-50-year-old woman. Walker was once a promising junior tennis player in an area of Florida that churned out talent. (She once hit with John McEnroe, before anyone outside Florida knew his name; in true McEnroe fashion, he called her a cunt, and she left the court in tears.) During her senior year of high school, Walker was set to attend an out-of-state university on a scholarship when her father passed away in the arms of her mother; a femoral artery ruptured, and he bled out onto the family's white rug. Unwilling to leave her mother's side during such a tough time, Walker dropped out of high school and took a job with a high-end fashion company, rising quickly through its ranks. Six years after her mother passed away, Walker, then 47, decided it was time to get a college degree (she had already gotten her GED). She attended Santiago Canyon College before settling at Costa Mesa's Vanguard University and surprised even herself by landing a spot on the women's tennis team—after more than 20 years of not picking up a racket. In her final season of competition—when opponents still occasionally questioned whether a coach was on the opposite end of the court—she helped the team make it to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Women's Tennis National Championships tournament, competing in both singles and doubles. In May, Walker attended the graduation for the college degree she had long coveted. Next up for Walker: planning her wedding.

55 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa, 92626
MAP
714-668-6145
Best Amateur Sports Team

Skating, scars and skimpy clothing—we can't think of anything better to watch on a Saturday night. Since 2006, the OC Roller Girls have been bringing fierce fun to the county, always ready to suit up in knee pads and booty shorts and, their words, "knock a bitch out." For the gutsy gals, who have monikers such as Chick Norris and Ivanna Cocktail, the derby is more than a sexy exhibition on wheels; it's a movement. The organization is dedicated to helping community nonprofits, fostering teamwork and showing that women can, indeed, kick ass.

17208 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, 92647
MAP
714-847-9097
Best Coach
Tom Tereschuk

In the looming, elephantine shadow of NCAA Division I colossus Cal State Fullerton—and the somewhat-more-elongated, bushy-tailed shadow of the emerging UC Irvine program—Tom Tereschuk has quietly built his non-scholarship baseball squad into a pint-sized powerhouse. A former star pitcher and quarterback at Lakewood High and Long Beach City College, Tereschuk went on to pitch at University of San Diego. After building a stellar reputation as a high-school coach at Servite and Villa Park (he was honored as California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2002), he debuted as Chapman University's coach in 2003 and promptly led his team to a national championship that same year (its first in 35 years). In 2011, his squad made it all the way to the final game before succumbing to Ohio's dreaded Marietta College. (Fucking Pioneers.) During that campaign, Tereschuk topped the 300-win plateau. That's exactly the kind of performance that got him named this year's American Baseball Coaches Association's NCAA Division III West Region Coach of the Year—to go along with the six other times he's earned that title. He has a reputation for toughness, but he also knows when to be supportive. "I remember as a freshman, during regionals, I struck out, and I was afraid that [Tereschuk] was going to be upset," infielder Tyler Hadzinsky told The Panther newspaper this year. "Instead, he gave me the confidence to keep going and was very encouraging. . . . I ended up hitting a home run that game." Good job, coach. And get those Pioneers next year.

1 University Dr., Orange, 92866
MAP
714-997-6729
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Best Ride At Disneyland: Mad Tea Party

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