Under the new management of Tom Lawless, the 2011 Hooks—the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros—look to proclaim bat-swinging dominance in the Texas League. Baseball supporters can claim seats at Whataburger Field, which is built to reflect the feel of a classic ballpark and can hold about 7,000 Hooks fans and three times as many foam fingers. Two wristbands adorn arms and grant access to extracurricular excursions in the Driscoll Children's Hospital Kids Zone, featuring a rock-climbing wall and a chimp-free jungle gym. Along with being able to see the USS Lexington and the Texas State Aquarium from inside the park, fans can enjoy breath-robbing views of the Harbor Bridge and mascots removing their comically oversize heads to observe the National Anthem. After the game, fans can trade their baseball caps for 10-gallon hats as they take in a concert by Tejano rockers Texas Tornados or Green River Ordinance, a quintet of aspiring environmental attorneys moonlighting as talented musicians.
Kicking off the 2012 season, both the men's and women's teams at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi storm lanes and drain buckets as they face off against the rest of the Southland Conference. Head Coach Robert Robinson plans to help his women's squad rebound from last year's setbacks and return them to 2010's deep run to the conference-tournament final. Junior guard Jessica Jammer paces her sneakered mates by dropping points that frequently total double digits, helping expand both the dreams and counting skills of aspiring athletes in the stands.
Antonio Daniels studied elementary education at Bowling Green State University. But rather than making a career of reading Newbery Award–winning books or conducting science experiments over bunsen burners, he entered the 1997 NBA Draft and was chosen as the fourth overall pick by the Vancouver Grizzlies. However, once he recognized the hollowness of a baller's lifestyle––whose only rewards were a 1999 NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs and the perk of wearing shorts to work––Antonio atoned by establishing his annual youth summer basketball camp.
For all five days of the camp, Antonio prowls the sidelines, giving kids pointers and boosting their confidence in the game he has now played professionally for 13 years. Coaches from the middle-school through college ranks join him in running the aspiring dunk machines through drills, skill training, and competitive games. At the end of the camp, children will not only have sharpened their hooping tool set, but they will also leave with two of the best souvenirs Antonio can offer other than plaster casts of his hands and feet: a T-shirt and an autographed photo.
At Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, experienced instructors strive not only to equip students with water-safety skills but to instill a lifelong passion for swimming. To this end, they limit classes to no more than four swimmers to ensure individual attention, and they divide students into eight swimming levels to keep classes challenging. Once students progress to a more advanced swim level, instructors congratulate them with a ribbon and swim certificate, which students can fold into a paper boat and rescue from sinking. In addition to swim lessons, Aqua-Tots Swim Schools hosts family-friendly events throughout the year, from birthday parties to CPR classes.
Whichever date you choose, you get a spot in the upper-level seating-area sections 301–314 or 326–328, above the rodeo and superb for spotting man and beast locked in violent embrace. Bull riding distinguishes itself from shark surfing and surgical-laser tag as one of the most dangerous sports in existence. Professional riders employ little more than tight-fitting chaps, a hard leather strap, and incredibly beefy thigh muscles in their attempt to stay fixed for at least eight seconds on nearly one ton of mammalian muscle and ruminant rage.