Sports & Recreation

Writers’ picks

Crystal Whitlow shows off her barefoot shoes at Fleet Feet Sports.

Crystal Whitlow shows off her barefoot shoes at Fleet Feet Sports.


Best professional women’s tackle football team

Sacramento Sirens

Football is not just for men anymore. Even if you’re a British soccer fan who thinks “American football” could better be described as “hand-oval,” you’ve got to respect the Sacramento Sirens’ brand of tackle football. This hard-working team of athletes has been a part of the Independent Women’s Football League for a decade now and has won three championships. Cheer ’em on again this season as they seek to increase that tally to four. J.M.

Best King to keep your spirits up

Tyreke Evans

It’s been a rough year for Kings fans. With all the lockout and relocation drama, it’s hard to focus on the actual basketball games. When you lose perspective, keep your eye on Tyreke Evans. Evans secured the Rookie of the Year award in 2010 by averaging 20 points, five rebounds and five assists—a feat that has only been matched by three other players in NBA history. A plantar fasciitis injury in Evans’ left foot led to a second year stat drop. Evans struggled to stay on the court in the 2010-11 season, just as Sacramento struggled to keep the Kings. This year, it’s a new game and Evans might be the core piece of a much needed basketball revival in Sacramento—assuming, of course, that we have a basketball season at all. A.P. & B.C.

Best sport you need to try

Barefoot running

Remember being a kid, when running was liberating and fun? Injuries, such as plantar fasciitis, suck all the pleasure out. Sacramento is home to a growing legion of people who swear that conventional running shoes are to blame for many injuries, and the remedy is to go barefoot. One can go truly barefoot, a “tenderfoot,” or use minimal running shoes, which are designed to protect one’s soles. It’s important to get educated, so check in with Fleet Feet Sports before ditching the kicks. The store offers clinics and barefootwear, including the popular, yet awkward-looking Vibram FiveFingers. Various locations, S.

Best place to spot a mayor while bowling

Capitol Bowl

This great little leisure spot is just across the river from downtown. It’s undergoing some remodeling, but the lanes are still open—and they’re good lanes, all nice and sparkly and … OK, complimenting the lanes won’t keep your ball out of the gutter. We tried. Capitol Bowl respects the zeitgeist of bowling (as demonstrated by its Big Lebowski screening and bowling party), and they’ve got Dance Dance Revolution. You might even get a chance to have a showdown at either bowling or dancing with West Sacramento’s mayor, Christopher Cabaldon. Be warned: He’s likely to beat you at both. 900 West Capitol Avenue in West Sacramento, (916) 371-4200, K.M.

Bowlers with skills know Capitol Bowl is the place to be.


Best water play on a hot day

Sacramento State Acquatic Center

The Sacramento State Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma is the best destination on a triple-digit day. Kayaks, canoes, windsurfers and other equipment are available for rent. The center offers classes to improve your skills at maneuvering any one of these seacraft, often for much cheaper rates than private companies. So don your life jacket or floaties and put your toe in the water at Lake Natoma. 1901 Hazel Avenue in Gold River, (916) 278-2842, H.B.

Best casino extras

Cache Creek Casino Resort

Being so close to Nevada—the gambling capital of the universe—Northern California casinos have to use ingenuity and flair to keep their customers from crossing over the state line. No one does this like Cache Creek Casino Resort. Located just 25 minutes outside of Woodland, Cache Creek offers some of the best amenities in the business. Spa with “pedicure thrones” and a “relaxation lounge?” Check. Aged steaks and a lengthy wine list at C2 Steak and Seafood? Check. A golf course voted one of Golfweek’s “Best Resort Courses” in 2011? Check. Michael McDonald crooning in the Summer Stage Outdoor Amphitheatre this weekend? Reno? What’s Reno? 14455 Highway 16 in Brooks, (530) 796-3118, A.P.

Best outing with your father-in-law

Hedrick Ag History Center

Stuck with a father-in-law (or prospective one) while the significant other is otherwise occupied? Already killed the conversations on sports and the 49ers’ need for a quarterback? When conversational common ground has been throughly covered, take a drive and check out the antique tractor collection in Woodland at the Hedrick Ag History Center. The center has the world’s largest collection of antique farm equipment and antique trucks, and surveying it all can help you bond with your in-laws. Tractors may not be your thing, but that’s not as important as getting through several awkward hours successfully. 1962 Hays Lane in Woodland, (530) 666-9700, H.B.

Best free lunchtime workout

A pick-up game at Roosevelt Park

During the work week, state workers and downtown denizens regularly mix it up on the softball fields and basketball courts and in pick-up soccer games at Roosevelt Park. On Tuesdays from May through October, a farmers market provides after-game grazing. Pack the shorts, T-shirt and sneakers, and get your game on at Roosevelt Park. And be prepared to be gamey at work afterward. 1615 Ninth Street. H.B.

Best party to ring in the new year

Zuda Yoga New Year’s Eve celebration

If the way you spend New Year’s Eve sets the precedent for the next 365 days, there’s no better place to be when the clock strikes 12 than centered and at ease with yourself. Zuda Yoga can help you welcome 2012 with cleansing breaths and a focus on health, strength and happiness. Set goals for the new year and let go of things weighing you down from years past. Midnight will come and go in the blur of Zen energy emanating from your fellow like-minded yogis. It’s hot yoga, so remember to bring your towel and skip the body butter. 1515 19th Street, (916) 441-1267, K.B.