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The Best in Orange County Sports and Athletics of 2013

Suck it, Los Angeles sports!
Suck it, Los Angeles sports!
JC Vera/OC Weekly

In honor of the recent release of our 2013 Best Of issue, we've compiled a list of the greatest sports and athletic activities Orange County has to offer. The winners range from professional to amateur with awards for the Best Gym, Best Angels Player and even Best Place to Hit People With Balls and Inhale Foam. So without further ado...

Fasth saves!
Fasth saves!
Andrew Youssef/OC Weekly

Best Ducks Player: Viktor Fasth Goaltender Viktor Fasth's inaugural season in the NHL may have been only half a season, but he seemed determined to make up for lost time. Seriously, he's not a goalie; he's a man-shaped wall in a goal net, racking up a 15-6-2 record after spending the lockout playing hockey in his native Sweden. Fans everywhere were stunned when Fasth wasn't invited to play in the post-season and left wondering whether the Ducks would have advanced had he been there.

Readers' Choice: Teemu Selanne

Best Place to Play Pool: Games Plus Billiards Pool ought to be played in the kind of bars you see in the movies under low light, late at night and with a regular crowd. Games Plus Billiards gives you just that. It's essentially a laid-back dive bar, serving beer and wine for cash only, but with enough pool and game tables to fill up a Dave and Buster's. Plus, there's an outdoor smoking patio and an arcade! You won't have to wait to play, and rounds are cheap--especially when paired with $1 beers on Tuesdays. Grab a friend--or maybe a lot of them. There's definitely room for everyone. 518 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627. 949-642-8847.

Readers' Choice: Danny K's Billiard

La Habra 300 Bowl
La Habra 300 Bowl
MyVoiceNation user 13thFrame

Best Bowling: La Habra 300 Bowl There's something kind of awkward about an upscale bowling alley. No matter how many velvet couches where people can lounge while drinking a cocktail and listening to some kind of music that's supposed to get them laid there are, the place still smells like feet and you're still sharing shoes with strangers. That's what is so awesome about La Habra 300 Bowl. It isn't trying to hide anything. It's just a straight-up bowling alley. From the outside, it looks exactly like the alley from The Big Lebowski. The inside is no different from the one in the film: terrible lighting, worn-down lanes and plastic bucket seats. But the bar is half the reason to visit. The Bowl has been open for more than 50 years, and like the décor, the bartenders are sweet and unassuming. It's a total dive, with dark red carpets and low wooden tables with red-leather swivel chairs. And the smoking "room" is really a dark, glass box with ventilation--kind of. Linbrook may be open 24 hours, but you can't beat drinking and bowling in such a fantastic, rundown throwback. Did we mention the coffee shop adjacent to the bar serves Chinese food? 370 E. Whittier Blvd., La Habra, CA 90631. 714-526-2058.

Readers' Choice: Irvine Lanes

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of OC WEEKLY® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Meadowlark Golf Course
Meadowlark Golf Course
OC Weekly

Best Golf Course: Meadowlark Golf Course According to the august Golf Digest, the best Orange County golf course is Shady Canyon in Irvine. Beats us if that is true because that course is private, and even if we could afford to, we wouldn't belong to a club that would have us as a member. The next best, according to the bible of golf, is the Ocean Course at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast, which got our Best Of nod in 2012. But those links may as well be private because playing 18 holes will set you back $290 (knocked down to $275 if you are staying at the resort). So screw Golf Digest. As we do when figuring out which club to hit over or under (or through) tree branches, we're going with our gut. And that brings us to a place where we always have a good time (if not a good round), Meadowlark. Designed by William P. Bell and opened in 1928 (making it one of Orange County's oldest), the 5,609-yard, par-70 course does get a lot of play and can be oh-so-slow when crowded. But for a municipal, it is extremely well-maintained, and the water hazards challenge even the best players. Green fees are a reasonable $33 if you're walking and $47 if you're riding. 16782 Graham St., Huntington Beach, CA 92649. 714-846-4450.

Readers' Choice: The Resort at Pelican Hill

Best College Player: Michael Brinkley, UC Irvine Men's Volleyball The 5-foot-10 Michael Brinkley from Edison High School in Huntington Beach entered his junior year as a veteran on the UC Irvine men's volleyball team, which has won the past two national championships and four of the past seven. The libero position is that of a defensive specialist in indoor volleyball, one who must wear a different-colored shirt than his/her teammates and cannot serve, block or hit shots above the net; s/he is there to make digs and keep rallies alive. For his efforts as a sophomore Anteater, Brinkley earned Volleyball Magazine All-American second-team honors. He posted a career-high 15 kills in the 2012 NCAA semifinals and that season averaged 2.07 digs per set, as well as digs in double-digits seven times. An undeclared major, Brinkley was All-CIF at Edison, the Best Defensive Player three times and thrice a first-team All-Sunset League selection. He also played for the Balboa Bay Volleyball Club; was a Junior Olympics Gold Medalist in 15s, 16s and 18s; and served as a 2011 Junior National Team alternate. On the sand, Brinkley has an AA Men's Rating as a beach player.

Readers' Choice: Any USC player

Best Sportscaster: Beto Duran The pride of Carson High School is a real Mexican of a sports reporter, and not just because he's the son of zacatecanos. Beto Duran is a ubiquitous presence on the Southern California sports scene--as a reporter for KSPN-AM 710 covering the Lakers and Dodgers, as a pretty face on Time Warner Cable's Lakers broadcasts, and on his wildly popular Instagram and Twitter accounts. And it's because of that work ethic that Duran is beloved even among his peers, who know that his advantage over them isn't that he knows the habla (although that helps), but that Duran works his beats without fatigue. And he's also a trailblazer: Earlier this year, Duran teamed up with Time Warner Deportes Lakers play-by-play man Adrian Garcia Marquez to offer analysis for Time Warner Sports' regular Lakers pregame, the first time two Latinos did the deed.

Readers' Choice: Vin Scully

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of OC WEEKLY® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Irvine Lake Mud Run
Irvine Lake Mud Run
Meranda Carter/OC Weekly

Best Mud Run: Irvine Lake Mud Run A bunch of locals writhing around in mud in the county's wilderness--how can you not love that? Plus, its organizers are moving on up in the world, putting on runs at the Santa Fe and Prado dams this fall. Have fun, and don't forget to cover up your orifices so you don't have to dig out any inconvenient pebbles.

Readers' Choice: Irvine Lake Mud Run

Best Boot Camp: OC Fitness Boot Camp The problem with most boot camps is they're so damn packed that you can never get a slot. That's never a problem with OC Fitness Boot Camp, one of the local pioneers of the workout genre. Oh, your classes will be filled with fat bodies and weaklings such as yourself looking to unleash the inner parkour in you, but if your local one is filled, the great thing about OC Fitness is it hosts classes across the county. It has even expanded all the way to Los Angeles County.

Readers' Choice: Extreme Boot Camp

Best Bicycle Activists: The Bicycle Tree At least once a month since 2006, members of the Bicycle Tree collective have done something downright revolutionary in this cycling-crazed county of ours: set up a tent somewhere in OC and offered their services free of charge to anyone who needs it. It could be a vintage Schwinn or a unicycle, a BMX or some graphite pro shit, or even a fixed-gear hipster treasure--the Bicycle Tree guys and gals bring out vulcanized patches, inner tubes and wrenches to fix problems big and small. But better than just giving the masses charity, the Bicycle Tree volunteers also teach people how to fix bikes via workshops or quick lessons (currently partnered with El Centro Cultural de México in SanTana). And, in their nicest move of all, the Bicycle Tree is always looking for parts to build bikes to give to needy kiddies--all free of charge, of course.

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of OC WEEKLY® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Why pay to exercise at a gym when you can surf for free?
Why pay to exercise at a gym when you can surf for free?
Eric Hood/OC Weekly

Best Gym: [The Great Outdoors Of] Orange County Why bother with a gym pass when you have the beauty of Orange County to guide you? Our epic trails? Our fabulous beaches? Our soft, bouncy asphalt streets? Our muggy, pollutant-filled air? Sure, a gym membership gives you access to hot guys and ladies, but if you can survive our apocalyptic landscape, then you're ready for the world.

Readers' Choice: 24 Hour Fitness

Best Yoga: Enerji Fitness This Tustin studio hosts an array of classes, from kickboxing to something called Barre and Tabata, along with general exercise classes. But when you want some solace from the ruckus, try Enerji Fitness' yoga classes, portraits in namaste. Classes only last an hour, but you'll notice immediate payoffs--more flexibility, calmer mind, better flow. And afterward, you can enjoy a pick-me-up at the Lost Bean nearby. 13011 Newport Ave., Tustin, CA 92780. 714-368-7655.

Readers' Choice: CorePower

Sky High Sports
Sky High Sports
Miguel Vasconcellos/OC Weekly

Best Place to Hit People With Balls and Inhale Foam: Sky High Sports There's a certain je ne sais quoi about trampolines. Sure, they seem like a kid thing, but after a few hops? There's no way you can't have at least a little bit of fun. So what's to say about Sky High Sports, a building in which the walls are lined with trampolines? It's billed toward kids, but it's open until 10 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends because we all know what market has money. In addition to the trampolines, there's a pit full of foam that's probably bad for your lungs but amazing to flip into. If you're not interested in washing white specks out of your hair for a few days, the dodgeball games that happen every few minutes get intense. When else are you going to hit a bunch of people with balls? 2970 Airway Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626. 714-437-5867.

Best Gym to Become and Ultimate Fighter: Team Oyama Colin Oyama knows about mixed martial arts. Two of his former protégés--Tito Ortiz and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson--are two of the sport's legends. And he has stocked his Irvine gym with two trainers--Ian McCall and Shane Delrosario--who happen to be respected fighters in the MMA world. But you don't have to be an aspiring fighter to reap the benefits of Oyama's gym, which is outfitted with cages, boxing bags and mats for those looking to master the octagon or just a vigorous workout. 16632 Hale Ave. Irvine, CA 92606. 949-250-3117.

bestof.jpg
Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of OC WEEKLY® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

OC Roller Girls
OC Roller Girls
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

Best Cheap Night Out: OC Roller Girls A blonde in a uniform, wearing a helmet with a star on either side, puts on a serious face. A whistle blows; a pack of women from a competing group tries to keep her back. The jammer, though, is not fucking around. Get in her way, and she'll muscle right past you, and if you fall, well, don't you dare cry. This is roller derby, Orange County's best cheap night out: no frills, bench seating, surprisingly great snacks, and mild-mannered professional women getting fierce on a banked track in Santa Ana. Once they're off the rink, though, smiles abound; spectators and skaters make plans to party together. Keep that serious face in mind, though.1947 S. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92707. 714-847-9097.

Best Place to Play Ping Pong: 2000 Points Billiards In Garden Grove's Little Seoul district, most pool halls also host ping-pong tables, given the sport is huge in Korea and across Asia. The most famous place is 2000 Points Billiards, which has a neon paddle at its front door to entice young Korean-Americans full from bulgogi, drunk on soju, and ready to spend six bucks an hour for the right to go into a humid room and slash their paddles through the air with all the grace of a Nadal or Federer. It's a good place to look like a boss before making an ass of yourself at the karaoke bar nearby.

San Onofre's Nuclear Boobies
San Onofre's Nuclear Boobies
Brendan Klein

Best Place to Stand-Up Paddle Into a Nuclear Intake Valve: Old Man's Surf Beach Why wave at the late, never-great San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station from the freeway when you can stand-up paddle right past it? Start from the south end of Old Man's Surf Beach (a.k.a. San Onofre State Surfing Beach), and you can get a pretty close look at SoCal's grand experiment with nuclear energy. Of course, after the plant's ignominious closure, there's no danger of growing a third eye . . . we hope. Basilone Road & 5 Freeway, San Clemente, CA 92672. 949-492-4872

Best OC Sports Name: Faith Venus Amsterdam The goddaughter of successful Thai boxer/trainer Ajarn Sommai Chuennirun, Faith Venus Amsterdam is a Muay Thai promoter for Roy Englebrecht Promotions' Fight Club OC. So, this beautiful lady is named after a concept, a planet (as well as a mythological god) and a European city. Try to top that memorable moniker, folks http://www.fightcluboc.com

bestof.jpg
Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of OC WEEKLY® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Best Angels Player: Mike Trout If anyone expected the 2012 American League Rookie of the Year to experience a sophomore slump, "Trouty" blasted that notion into oblivion by hitting (as of Aug. 13) .333 with 148 hits, 20 homers and 73 RBI. Having struck out 20 more times than he has been walked (92 vs. 72) is a concern, but his .425 on-base percentage is still tops among the Halos' everyday players. Make no mistake, Trout is an everyday player, as Mark Trumbo is the only Angel to have appeared in more games--by one (117 vs. 116, again as of Aug. 13). Meanwhile, Trout continues to regularly make SportsCenter highlight reels from the outfield (although J.B. Shuck is giving him a run for the money shot). While the playoff hopes of this year's Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were extinguished in a Texas minute, at least we can continue to watch Trout with awe--until those fucking Yankees take him away from us.

Readers' Choice: Mike Trout

bestof.jpg
Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of OC WEEKLY® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Games Plus Billiards

518 W. 19th St.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

949-642-8847

www.playatgames.com

miles
OC Roller Girls

1947 S. Main St.
Santa Ana, CA 92707

714-847-9097

www.ocrollergirls.com

miles
Angels Stadium Of Anaheim

2000 E. Gene Autry Way
Anaheim, CA 92805

714-940-2070

anaheim.angels.mlb.com

miles
Honda Center

2695 E. Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92806

714-704-2400

www.hondacenter.com

miles
Meadowlark Golf Course

16782 Graham St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92649

714-846-4450

www.meadowlarkgc.com

miles
Irvine Lake

4621 Santiago Canyon Rd.
Silverado, CA 92676

714-649-9111

www.irvinelake.net

miles
Enerji Fitness

13011 Newport Ave.
Tustin, CA 92780

714-368-7655

www.enerjifitness.com

miles
Sky High Sports

2970 Airway Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

714-437-5867

ocy.jumpskyhigh.com

miles
Team Oyama

16632 Hale Ave.
Irvine, CA 92606

949-250-3117

www.teamoyama.com

miles
San Onofre State Beach

Basilone Road & 5 Freeway
San Clemente, CA 92672

949-492-4872

www.parks.ca.gov


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