Sports: Cheap skates, tent-pitching and some nudity

There’s no need to drop a fortune on the sporting life

Give that <i>pallino</i> a roll at the East Portal Bocce Club.

Give that pallino a roll at the East Portal Bocce Club.

Photo By dominick porras

East Portal Bocce Club
Hidden amid the fig and persimmon trees of East Sacramento is the aptly named East Portal Park, a gateway to leisure and home of the city’s finest bocce-ball courts. Italian communities used to reside predominately in these neighborhoods; thus the bocce courts, kumquats and bitter cherry trees scattered throughout the area. This year, however, the East Portal Bocce Club boasts the United States Bocce Federation national champions (the championship was held in Stockton during the last week of May). The men who were victorious this year are only four of the 150 regulars who partake in league play at the East Portal club. Needless to say, you had better hone your skills before showing the pallino who’s boss.
East Portal Bocce Club, 1120 Rodeo Way,

Play It Again Sports
It’s amazing the stuff people throw away, and you’ll find no better example of our disposable society than Play It Again Sports in Elk Grove. Here, in the form of sporting goods that are nearly good as new for a fraction of the original retail price, you’ll find the broken dreams of wannabe athletes who just couldn’t find the time to do those ab crunches or learn how to roller blade or join the local softball team.
Play It Again Sports, 9154 E. Stockton Blvd., Suite 100, Elk Grove; (916) 714-1225.

Fast Fridays Speedway
They do things just a little bit differently in Auburn. Consider motorcycle racing, for instance. Like most motorcycles, the bikes they race on the 1/8-mile dirt oval at Fast Fridays Speedway in Auburn have two wheels. From there, the similarities end. The speedway motorcycle consists of a single cylinder, 500cc motor bolted to a spindly frame with no brakes. That’s right, no brakes. Revel in the chaos for a mere $10 every Friday night from May to September.
Gold Country Fairgrounds, 1273 High Street, Auburn; (530) 878-7223;

OK, so you’re a swimmer. But nowadays, who has the money to plop down on a swim-club membership, or for that matter, a new Speedo? Have no fear (unless you’ve got a problem letting it all hang out), there’s plenty of free places to swim in Sacramento sans suit, from Folsom Lake to the American River’s north fork to Lake Tahoe. For precise locations and other naturist tips, see

Sacramento Monarchs
Can the Monarchs make another playoff run without center Yolanda Griffith, who moved to Seattle this year? Will Bekky Brunson be able to step up inside and keep the Monarchs dominant on the boards? And where else can you find so much fun with tickets that start at $10? Yep, Arco Arena is the place to be, whether it’s to watch the game or the crowd. It’s definitely a different vibe than a Kings game. There are far fewer drunken rowdies and a lot less testosterone (could those things be connected?); plenty of good basketball; games and giveaways; a chance to dance to “YMCA"; and junk food. But you’ll have to pay extra for the junk food.
Sacramento Monarchs, Arco Arena; (916) 419-9622;

Like sex, you like your sporting activities cheap and easy. Well, it doesn’t come cheaper or easier than the Frisbee, those plastic discs kids have been chucking around for decades. Choose your favorite model at, then head out to the local sporting-goods store, where you can pick a Frisbee up for just $15. Head out to the park and start practicing, and who knows? Pretty soon, you might be ready for Sacramento’s Ultimate Frisbee league—not to be confused with Frisbee golf. For more info on the league and the sport of Ultimate (insiders usually drop the “F” word—it’s trademarked after all), visit SUPA, the Sacramento Ultimate Players Association, at or call (916) 442-8473.

Urban Camping
With today’s gas prices, getting out of town for a weekend of camping has become a prohibitively expensive affair. But guess what? You can take a trip and never leave the farm. Just set your tent up wherever, as long as it’s down by the river. Why should homeless people have all the fun? If you really want to keep things cheap, check out Sacramento Craigslist for used gear. We also heartily recommend Sacramento’s REI outlets, which seem to be having hellacious sales on the previous year’s gear often.
REI, 1790 Expo Way; (916) 924-8900; and at 1149 Galleria Boulevard, Roseville; (916) 724-6750.

Adult Swim Club
No, we’re not talking about the Cartoon Network’s
Adult Swim (although that’s also an inexpensive way to have fun, it won’t help you get in shape or cool off). Instead, try the Fulton-El Camino Recreation and Park District’s Adult Swim Club. An early morning training for swimmers of all fitness levels looking to develop their form and increase speed and endurance, the second session is set to start on June 30 and last through August 15. The club meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6 to 7 a.m., and it’s only $59 per seven-week session (cheap, and an even cheaper $55 if you live in the district). That’s less than $8.50 a session.
Adult Swim Club, Fulton-El Camino Recreation and Park District Cottage Pool, 3097 Cottage Way; For more information or to sign up, call (916) 927-3802.

Mulder-roll that Frisbee, alt-bro.