Sports & Recreation

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Best Cleveland Competition

CLEVELAND MARATHON

If bleeding nipples, sweaty backs and blistered feet are the ingredients to your perfect Sunday morning, heck, why even bother with church? The Rite-Aid Cleveland Marathon, notwithstanding the gruesome toll on runners' bodies, is an uplifting and pretty miraculous annual event. Thousands of really courageous really fit recently single women and Kenyans descend upon downtown with an idea to approach the zenith of physical and emotional pain. Runners get cool shirts and medals for participating and families and friends truck their strollers and pennants and shout to high heaven that in America we don't only eat donuts and hot dogs; we exercise to outlandish extremes too! For the runners, completing a marathon occasions a remarkable sense of accomplishment. This year, May 19 is one of 11 days all year in which sun is in the forecast, so lace up and join the fun!  clevelandmarathon.com

Best place to play darts

Edison's

Professor Avenue's eminent neighborhood bar offers a lot of terrific amenities (pizza that will melt your brain with deliciousness, anyone?), but the darts operation here truly is top notch. Grab a pint at the bar up front, then duck into the courtyard for a quick game with your buds. The ambiance of the surrounding flora assists the dart in flowing forth from one's hands, which helps a lot if you otherwise suck at throwing the things. But do not fear! Edison's welcomes even the dart-throwing newbies among us. It's the perfect place to flaunt your skills and the ideal locale for learning the ins and outs of this ancient art.   2373 Professor Ave., 216-522-0006, edisonspub.com

Best place to shoot pool

Fox and Hound

Rack 'em up, ladies and gents. Fox and Hound's penchant for combining the best of two worlds - sports bar aesthetics and a throwback billiards lounge atmosphere - has garnered the chain a steadily awesome reputation throughout the region. Each location boasts more than enough tables for casual play. The place also promotes pool tournaments if you're interesting in taking your craft to a competitive level. Bring the whole gang; there's room enough (and brews enough) for all. Various locations,

foxandhound.com

Best Reason to be a Cleveland Sports Fan

There's Always

Next Year

There was 1921, 1948, and the Browns in the '60s. Then things kinda trailed off a bit around here. But no worries. If the Kosar-era Browns, Lofton-era Indians, and LeBron-era Cavs taught us anything, it's that next year could, should, and actually might be our year. It's a forlorn statement and self-defeatist in its current incarnation, but hell, some year has to be our year, right? Imagine the celebration in Public Square if the Browns won the Super Bowl. The fires would be visible from outer space. And with Haslam now heading the Browns, the Indians opening the pocket books, and Kyrie leading the Cavs, the future is bright for Cleveland sports. It is. Stop snickering.

Best golf course

Sleepy Hollow

Any day now, the snowbanks of "Every Street, Cleveland, Ohio," will recede and thousands of duffers across the region will lift their nine irons to the sky and screech: "Golf season is nigh!" Though it may be less dramatic when that moment finally comes around, the simple fact remains that Sleepy Hollow will be there for you, delicately manicured fairways and all. Winding through the Cuyahoga River valley, this course highlights the best in Northeast Ohio nature. Just watch out for those gawddamned greens! Indeed, the play here is tight and competitive, making it the ideal place to a) down a twelver with your pals and see who's got the most pathetic excuse for a drive or b) actually throw down a serious game of golf. Who's covering the cart? (We'll bring the ice!) 9445 Brecksville Rd.,

440-526-4285, clemetparks.com

Best skate park

Lakewood Park

So you've spent the last decade-plus working Tony Hawk's Pro Skater for PlayStation to death and now you want to try your hand (foot? feet?) at a few kickflips for realz, yo? Well then do your best not to look like an utter square and head over to Lakewood Park, which boasts the area's most bitchin' set of pipes, rails and other suspiciously drug-related terms. The vibe is laid-back enough that any rookie would feel welcome, but the tight-knit flavors of the west-shore skating scene are also plenty capable of fostering a real sense of community. As a city, Lakewood, to its credit, has promoted a really positive atmosphere here. Where other municipalities balk at the word "ollie," Lakewood has embraced the sport and worked to ensure a safe, fun experience for all. The newly installed and nearby basketball hoops also help out the scene.

14532 Lake Ave., 216-529-4474,

onelakewood.com

Best playground

Lakewood Park

Kids, if you want the best bang for your playdate buck, get your parents to truck you and the neighborhood crew on over to Lakewood Park's wooded wonderland. The playground has it all: swings, monkey bars, things that spin, etc. The nautical theme also kinda lends an air of the imaginative. Tucked between tennis courts and a let's-welcome-the-community pavilion, the playground at Lakewood Park really does cater to all desires. And parents, the park itself is a beauty, so you can be guaranteed at least several seconds of peace and tranquility until your son's friend Tucker decides to play Let's Throw Rocks At Ducks and then you've got to - OH MY GOD THERE'S A PACK OF WILD DUCKS CHEWING MY LEG OFF! 14532 Lake Ave., 216-529-4474,

onelakewood.com

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