- Gaelic football: It's a cross between soccer and rugby, without the nasty aftertaste.
Jim Coyne's days on the gridiron are pretty much over. Lately he's been on the sidelines, coaching St. Jarlath's, the team favored to win the Midwest Gaelic Athletic Association Championship against the Detroit Wolftones on Sunday. "The bigger and faster player is the ideal," says Coyne, who compares Gaelic football to soccer and rugby, without the pesky timeouts. "You gotta have good hand-eye coordination. You gotta be able to catch rebounds. And you gotta be able to have endurance."
St. Jarlath's knows that skill well. The 23-year-old team has won its league title 11 times and is shooting for a spot at the North American County Board Championships in Denver in September. "There's a bunch of us keeping this game alive in Cleveland," Coyne says. "We keep it alive because we love it."
And they think you should, too. The 30-man team is recruiting players for next season's training sessions in April and May. "It's one part of the Irish culture people don't often see," Coyne says. "It's the best-kept secret in sports, but it's the coolest game you'll ever want to play." Game time is 2 p.m. at the Troy Intermediate School Soccer Complex, 237 Belmar Boulevard in Avon Lake. Admission is free; call 440-933-9131. -- Cris Glaser
Beach party packs sand and nearly naked bodies.
Amy Bender knows that some people might laugh at this, but she loves to roll around in the sand. The 24-year-old is competing in the Self Shake 'n Bake contest at Friday's Mid-Summer Beach Party (the one who coats himself with the most sand after jumping into Lake Erie wins). "I'd better do it now, before I [get] too old for this," Bender laughs. The competitions range from a water-balloon toss and beach volleyball to a backboard relay and limbo contest. "All the winners will win some kind of tchotchke prize," says Cleveland Metroparks' Monique Johnson. The party runs from noon to 5 p.m. at the Huntington Reservation Beach, 28795 Lake Road in Bay Village. Admission is free; call 216-351-6300. -- Cris Glaser