As the AHL affiliate of their big-league Dallas namesake, the Texas Stars spared no time claiming their birthright. In its very first season—2009–10—the team conquered the Western Conference, hoisting the Robert W. Clarke Trophy and earning a place in the Calder Cup finals. Since every faceoff was past the newborn Stars’ bedtime, they ultimately fell short of the league championship, but they continue to entertain crowds of up to 6,800 at the Cedar Park Center.
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.
Pro Performance Training Center's all-indoor facilities let athletes train regardless of the weather. The gym's large, open expanse of astroturf offers plenty of room to do baseball, softball, or volleyball drills, and there's also a room full of treadmills, weightlifting machines, and free weights for individual exercise. In addition to working one-on-one with students, the personal trainers on staff also lead small group fitness classes with intense names such as Hurricane Fitness or M.E.L.T., which stands for More Exercise, Less Time and not for the kind of sandwiches you get after class.
Stocked with a roster of talented young puck manipulators, the IceRays are taking on their fellow South Division skaters from Wichita Falls as they fight for a chance to victoriously hoist the Robertson Cup and dump ice water on head coach Brent Hughes. Fans can also enjoy special half-priced domestic drafts while enjoying excellent views of the NAHL action in the horseshoe-shaped arena.
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.