At Sigma Performance Swimming, dedicated instructors coach everyone from toddlers taking their first splash to adults training for professional trials. The waters in 25-yard indoor and outdoor pools are churned to a froth as swimmers work to hone the school’s three focuses: technique, speed, and endurance. With a ratio of five students to one instructor, pupils are granted ample individual attention as they learn basic aquatic strokes. Students can consult footage of their form during an underwater-stroke analysis to further refine their technique. As their talents grow, swimmers can join Sigma’s nationally competitive teams or set personal goals, prepare for races, and perfect their sailfish Halloween costumes.
In 2012, the Stampede pulled off an unlikely upset when they toppled the seemingly unbeatable Collin County Rattlers in the third annual Shanklin Bowl, capturing their first Minor Professional Football League championship. The victory brought glory to Bedford, where the team plays all of its home games at Pennington Stadium—a 12,500-seat multipurpose venue that also hosts many of the area's biggest high-school games. To stay in touch with the surrounding community, the Stampede, now a member of the Professional American Football League, resist the urge to toss tin-can walkie-talkies into random open windows and instead raise awareness on issues through frequent outreach efforts.
Travis Watkins bridges the gap between two seemingly disparate professions: personal trainer and poet. His experience as a physical education teacher, youth sports coach, and strength-and-conditioning mentor have given him an expert understanding of the body. It was, however, his time as a spoken word artist and Teach for America member that refined his skills in supportive communication, which he incorporates into his training persona.
Today, he guides clients of all ages through customized workouts and boot camps. He might meet them in their own homes for an equipment-free exercise circuit, during which he'll demonstrate moves that utilize bodyweight as resistance. Or, he might teach them proper weight-lifting techniques for boosting muscle mass. When it comes to kids, he leads group classes full of games and obstacle courses as part of Fit Kids Academy, as well as sessions geared toward student athletes.
Just off a straight stretch of the Trinity River, the sounds of laughter and victorious whooping grow louder. A curious look toward the hubbub yields a vision rarely seen in the city—helmet-clad athletes of all ages splash along the water's surface, launching their bodies in what looks like the offspring of water-skiing and snowboarding onto ramps, jumps, and railings that protrude from the water's surface like geometric islands. It's all part of a regular afternoon at Cowtown Wakepark, the watery brainchild of 20-year wakeboarding enthusiast Tommy Fambrough. During the course of three years, Tommy slowly formed the labyrinth of water-bound obstacles that visitors enjoy today, earning acclaim from the Trinity River Vision Authority's revitalization project for his riverside paradise's part in keeping the area an accessible and productive part of the community.
Each wakeboarding run begins when visitors strapped into their Liquid Force boards grab a cable and are pulled from the shore-side wooden platform across the water, cutting through the river's calm surface and pausing only to heckle passing fish. Spectators stick to the shore under covered tents and at picnic tables, or recline on the water's surface inside tented rafts. Onsite instructors can show first-timers the ropes, and also lead summer day camps to instill children aged 7–16 with wakeboarding, kneedboarding, and wakeskating basics.
As legend has it, an 1875 article in the Dallas Herald claimed that a live panther was spotted walking the streets of Fort Worth. The city soon became known as the "The Panther City," so when Fort Worth's first minor-league baseball team was founded, in 1888, calling it the "Panthers"—rather than, say, the "Fighting Dandelions"—just made sense. Over the years, journalists shortened the club's nickname to the "Cats," and the team dominated the Texas League through the first part of the 20th Century, at one point winning six consecutive league titles in the 1920s.
After bouncing between affiliations with several MLB teams, the Cats disbanded in 1964. However, the Cats returned in 2002, almost immediately reliving the success of the previous century and capturing three straight titles from 2005–07. Despite never adopting the Panther name, the modern-day Cats have never lost sight of their history, as evidenced by mascot "Dodger" and LaGrave Field's classic design.
In 1997, the newly formed Fort Worth Bulls, due to a naming conflict, had to change their moniker. Although they settled on the Brahma—a type of beef cattle—as new inspiration, the one-time bulls never altered their tenacity. After the Central Hockey League's Fort Worth Fire folded in 1999, the Brahmas packed their players in bubble wrap and moved from the WPHL to the new league, where they have since made multiple playoff appearances and, in 2008–09, captured the organization's first Ray Miron President's Cup with a five-game series victory over the Colorado Eagles.