Best of Sacramento 2015: Sports & Recreation writers' picks
Sports & Recreation writers’ picks
Best international royalty
The team lost a bona fide prince when forward Luc Mbah a Moute failed a physical and had his offer rescinded. But under new General Manager Vlade Divac, Sacramento’s only major league franchise is starting to recapture the international flair of its competitive heyday, when Divac was threading assists to the likes of Peja Stojakovic and Hedo Turkoglu. At press time, five players on the 17-man roster hailed from foreign soil, including three NBA rookies. Time for Coach George Karl to dust off his Rosetta Stone. The Kings’ season begins October 5. http://nba.com/kings. RFH
Name: Marco Belinelli
Country of origin: Italy
Previous pro stop: San Antonio Spurs
Name: Omri Casspi
Country of origin: Israel
Previous pro stop: Houston Rockets
Name: Duje Dukan
Country of origin: Croatia
Name: Arturas Gudaitis
Country of origin: Lithuania
Previous pro stop: Zalgiris Kaunas
Name: Luka Mitrovic
Country of origin: Yugoslavia
Previous pro stop: Red Star Basketball Club
Best airborne event
Burnt out on Zumba? Make good on that threat to run away and join the circus, then. At Aerial Evolution, crazy-gifted (and superflexible) aerialists show both adults and kids how to climb the sky on hoops and silks and launch into their very own anti-gravity dances. Classes progress from basic body conditioning and floor-level acrobatics to full-blown Cirque du Soleil-style sky ballets. Whether you like the challenge of puzzling through a human-sized cat’s cradle or you’re just in it for the fancy onesies, instructors with backgrounds in classical dance, gymnastics and, of all things, pole dancing will have you channeling your inner Flying Cavaretta in no time. 213 26th Street; 3997 N. Freeway Boulevard in Natomas; 1260 Triangle Court, Suite 100, in West Sacramento; http://sacaerialevolution.com. B.P.
Best cage-free match
Supreme Pro Wrestling
Can’t get enough of melodramatically violent dudes and dudettes just absolutely whaling on each other? If so, it’s time you went out to see the shows at Supreme Pro Wrestling, an independent outfit that puts on events every third Sunday. They’ve got stories, they’ve got hardcore wrasslin’, they’ve got Lucha Libre influences—and they even have a training academy to help you step into the squared circle. Get out there and deliver the smackdown. 6200 McMahon Drive, (916) 947-1767, www.supremepro
Best spiritual fitness
Lotus Garden Meditation Center
The center sits on two lush acres in Carmichael, with peaceful gardens to stroll and enough yoga and tai chi classes to replace your gym membership. Those classes take place in an old barn converted to a “sacred space.” Regardless of how you feel about the word “sacred,” the space is serene and beautiful—a perfect place for exercising your body and mind through traditional Hindu or Chinese movements. Classes cost $10 on a drop-in basis. For more mental fitness, check out Lotus’ free meditation workshops. 7225 Lincoln Avenue in Carmichael, (916) 944-8505, www.lotusgardenmeditation.org. J.B.
Best ninja training ground
Free Flow Academy
You’ve been hopping fire hydrants and swinging from branches for years, but have you ever considered training in playtime? You can at Free Flow Academy, one of the largest parkour gyms (if not the largest) in California. Freerunning, martial arts, aerial acrobatics, it’s all here, even a ninja class that actually focuses on ninjutsu. Courses focus on both movement and expression, making Free Flow a snug fit for athletes and performers looking to take their shoulder-rolls to the next level. 1106 Tinker Road, Suite 150, in Rocklin; (916) 759-1468, www.freeflowacademy.com. A.S.
Best somewhat unrealistic fitness inspiration
Burpees and kettlebells make for a great physical workout and mental release but, let’s face it, the so-called “perfect body” usually starts with some pretty blessed genetics. That doesn’t mean that Sacramento Kings dancer and fitness model Katerina Kountouris can’t have a positive impact with her Instagram gym pics. All those perfectly filtered shots of lat pulldowns, ab crunches and handstands are enough to make one back away from the doughnuts and potato chips. Hey, it’s a start. instagram.com/katerinakountouris. R.L.
Best arena buy-in
It’s no secret that professional sports stadiums can be divisive, controversial affairs. (Cough, Kings! Cough.) So it was a savvy move when the business brain trust behind Republic FC asked the public to submit ideas—rather than financing help—for a Major League Soccer stadium, planned for the railyards in downtown Sacramento. People were able to provide their input through an online survey, completed last month, with small workshops involving randomly selected respondents also planned. It’s too early to say how this will all end up, but it’s a much better start than threatening to move the team to Anaheim. http://sacrepublicfc.com. RFH