Best of Seattle: Sports & Adventure


Dana Wolff Grit. Passion. Desire. Oh, and a well-trained liver. The characteristics that helped us select 34-year-old Dana Wolff as Seattle’s best kickball player (more on that later) are obvious. more...

Zach Scott The string of upsets that ended what had been a pretty good 2013 for the Seattle Sounders resulted in an unprecedented house-cleaning; in the off-season, December to February, I hesitated even to visit the team website, dreading yet another headline about the departure of some favorite player or other. more...

Guest Bests

Big Lo Lorin “Big Lo” Sandretzky may be best known as the guy at Seahawks games holding the “Sea-Fence” sign. It’s a tradition he started back in 2002, when the Seahawks opened their new stadium. more...

Staff Picks

Best Sports Moment
Leading up to the Seahawks’ 2014 post-season, there was talk among fans of the rival 49ers about the lack of Lombardis in the Seahawks’ trophy case. Writing in the pages of this paper, though, local Niners fan Kevin Sur explained that it wasn’t the trophies that mattered so much as the “finally” moment that marked the franchise’s turnaround—which for the 49ers took the form of The Catch, which famously sealed the team’s 1982 NFC Championship. more...

Best Coach
Let’s be brutally honest for a second: If Pete Carroll is not your coach, dude is downright insufferable. There’s the gum chomping.

Best Sports Venue
With all due respect to the revamped Husky Stadium—which admittedly is the most picturesque college football stadium in the country—nothing beats a game at CenturyLink Field. And we’re not just talking about the Seahawks here.

Best Sports Figure
In a world where professional athletes are so often dickheads, so often terrible, so often selfish and disgusting, the Seahawks’ Derrick Coleman is everything we all should strive to be. Chances are you know his story: He’s the first deaf offensive player in NFL history, a guy who exchanges letters with hearing-impaired kids and gives up his first-class airline seats to Marines.

Best Sports Retiree
Radio advertisements are annoying, an unfortunate side-effect of the fact that they are engineered to stick in your head. Advertisements on 710 AM during Mariners games are one step beyond; they are maddening.

Best Gay Athlete Role Model
Now 72, former University of Washington running back Dave Kopay was the first professional athlete to openly declare, after his playing days, that he was homosexual. That was 1975, when the media world was different, and though he later wrote a bestseller about his struggles and went on to a productive life running his family’s business in L.A., his coming-out wasn’t as noisy and controversial as the Internet/social-media response to Michael Sam’s drafting by the Cardinals last year.

Best Sports-Beat Writer
When it comes to covering sports in Seattle, Bob Condotta has done it all. And that’s only a slight exaggeration.

Best Sports Broadcast Personality
Steve Raible is a Seahawk—has been since the very beginning. Very literally.

Best Call
The immediate response to David Sims’ call from Yankees Stadium on the night of June 2 was that it was a disaster. The next day Deadspin ran the headline “Mariners Announcer’s Brain Breaks in the Middle of Home Run Call,” and, yes, it had sounded like maybe the Root Sports personality was having an aneurism.

Best Storm Player
It’s been a disappointing season for the Storm, who will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2003. The team couldn’t absorb a second consecutive year without Lauren Jackson, the best female basketball player in history, who missed the year after her knee and Achilles tendon surgery. more...

Best Reign Player
Reign coach Laura Harvey knows to hold onto a good thing. When Seattle brought her over from a successful run coaching England’s top women’s club, Harvey targeted Kim Little, the best player from that team, to join her with the Reign. more...

Best Mariner
Lloyd McClendon’s predecessors in the Mariners’ managerial chair touted “belief” and “mind-set” as the keys to winning, and excused poor performance by the M’s young players as part of the learning process. McClendon’s message? more...

Best Seahawk
The Seahawks won the Super Bowl with a legitimately historic defense. The most important play of that Super Bowl performance—Malcolm Smith’s pick-six—illustrates perfectly how much of a team effort it was. more...

Best New Sounder
Tough call, considering the extensive off-season turnover and new midfielders like Marco Pappa and Gonzalo Pineda who quickly became regular and invaluable starters. But what most needed upgrading after 2013, few would disagree, was the Sounders’ back line. more...

Best Basketball
So the Sonics aren’t coming back anytime soon, this year’s Huskies are not looking promising, the Seattle University’s Redhawks team is still getting used to playing Division I ball, and the Storm plays at the wrong time of the year (sorry, but basketball just feels better in the winter). So what is a Seattle hoops fan to do?

Best High-School Athlete
Probably not a ton of room left on Budda Baker’s letterman’s jacket. Nor, because of him, in the Bellevue High trophy case.

Best College Athlete
Slight and short seems to be the ideal size for a Husky pitcher. In the mid-2000s, it was Tim Lincecum rewriting the conference record books.

Best Batshit-Insane Buzzer-Beater
In southwest Washington basketball playoffs, Evergreen High of Vancouver trails Camas by two points with two seconds left. Evergreen’s inbounding the ball under their own basket.

Most Determined Consumption of Stadium Concessions
Washington State’s annual football game at CenturyLink Field is one to forget. The Cougs’ incompetence combined with heavy rain has driven most fans to the exit.

Best Promotion
It’s great to see kids at the ballpark. Even if those kids don’t understand the rules of the game.

Best Park
Kerry Park is a place that will make you proud you call Seattle home. It’s the ideal green chunk of landscape from which to gaze upon the city’s shimmering skyline and watch ferries skitter across Elliott Bay—and, yes, there are days, perched here on the south side of Queen Anne Hill, when the silvery-white Mt. Rainier beckons.

Best Urban Running Loop
Much like identifying good real estate, when it comes to inspired running, the key is often “location, location, location.” For decades the preferred route for local runners (and joggers) has been the Green Lake loop in North Seattle.

Best Outdoor Pool
Say, like SW ’s own Matt Driscoll, you don’t consider yourself a Wild Waves person. You don’t like the crowds, the huge fees, or the madness of it all. more...

Best Indoor Pool
South Enders like to grumble about getting the short end of the stick. And it’s true, residents there generally face more crime and fewer amenities. more...

Best Bicycle Hill Climb
Too many donuts, too many IPAs, too much ice cream. We’ve all got our shameful secret calories to burn off, and that’s what weekend training rides are for. more...

Best Velo Guru
Judge not, lest ye be passed by a paceline of uniformed cyclists pedaling at 30 miles per hour on the Burke-Gilman Trail. It’s easy to be critical of those weekend riders squeezed into Lycra astride carbon-fiber mounts costing upward of $3,000, but more challenging to render judgments from within the peloton. more...

Best Gondola
Skiers know already that our state’s best gondola is also our state’s only gondola (and don’t get us started about that stupid waterfront gondola scheme; let the tourists walk—they could clearly use the exercise). But what non-skiers may not realize is that the Crystal Mountain Gondola rises 2,500 feet from the base (off Highway 410, northeast of Mount Rainier) all the way to the 6,872-foot summit, where there’s actually a restaurant used in the off-season (i.e., right now) for weddings, parties, and the like. more...

Best Driving Range
There are a lot of reasons to go to Jefferson Park, particularly since the park, in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, inaugurated its new levy-funded skatepark and Beacon Mountain playfield (with ziplines) in 2012. But the real attraction is an older one, the driving range connected to the Jefferson Park Golf Course, a 6,200-yard, 18-hole course that will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year. more...

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