Sports/Outdoors for the week of February 12-18, 2003 

For spectators and participants -- go for it!

Mr. Big Man
A pinball gone berserk

Dust off your bandwagon now, while no one is looking, and hop aboard the locomotive of success that has become the 2003 Golden State Warriors. Yes ma'am, those Golden State Warriors.This season our local five has, remarkably and without warning, clawed its way to the Rim of Respectability by playing near-.500 ball while defeating a handful of league heavies, including the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers -- twice! No player better exemplifies the team's newfound hustle-and-bustle more than Earl Boykins, the lighting-quick point guard who at 5'5" and 133 pounds is the smallest guy in the league and, at times, in the Coliseum itself. Watching the spirited Boykins scrap around the court, bouncing from kneecap to kneecap, calls to mind a pinball gone berserk -- especially if that pinball could somehow stop on a dime, square to the hole, and float in a jumper from fifteen feet out. Money!

On Tuesday, February 18 (7:30 p.m.), Boykins and the rest of the Warriors return to start the second half of their season, only to be welcomed back by another set of NBA tough guys, the Boston Celtics. The Celtics bring their high-flying act to town featuring Paul Pierce, the powerful slam-master extraordinare. Pierce may be a giant among men, and he sure lets out one ferocious roar after he dunks over his victims, but did we mention -- we got Earl Boykins? Bandwagons forward! -- Justin Berton

Right Track
Future track stars, step up

Young athletes -- boys and girls aged five to eighteen -- are invited to participate in the Hampton-Phillips Classic Track and Field Club for Youth, which holds practices Tuesdays through Thursdays at 5 p.m., Saturdays at 10 a.m., at Oakland's McClymonds High School (2607 Myrtle St.). The fourteen-year-old Berkeley-based nonprofit club was established by local track Olympians Millard Hampton (1976) and Andre Phillips (1988), along with concerned parents and coaches, to offer supervised training programs and competition for school-age kids, with equal opportunity for athletes to develop their skills, self-esteem, respect, and motivation. Education on physical fitness and proper nutrition is also part of the program -- but so is having fun. The club's first track meet of the spring season takes place Saturday, February 22. E-mail, or phone 510-430-8223 or 510-761-8386. -- Kelly Vance


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