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Love Is a Battlefield
Knock Down, Drag Out
From Mexican Cantina to Good Fellas Restaurant to the Radisson Hotel, speed-dating
singles (we hope) sign up to get it over with as quickly as possible. Generally,
10 to 12 people of each gender within roughly a 10-year age range attend sorry,
Nicolas Cage. The women wait daintily with pens poised above match sheets
to judge each man who lands across the table. The men make notes of potential
interest as they scurry to the next waiting woman. Each couple is given just
six minutes to bond or nauseate. Organizers suggest coming up with questions
in advance: What are your hobbies? or When was the last time you lied?,
they recommend. We prefer: Do you have a need for speed?
If the less than two-hour process ends and youre officially considering either
suicide or an arranged marriage, the company offers a guarantee: Next session
is free yippee! Also, no one gets your contact information until after your
matches are tallied bad news for stalkers. Assuming a few pre-dates seemed
promising, after 24 hours youre free to make a love connection. Cupids arrow
may have an odd trajectory, but it is fast and painless. www.pre-dating.com/speeddating/LA.php.
These days, there are no shoddy cars to be found at Pomona Raceway; in fact,
cars must be specialized. Driver sponsorship comes at the hefty price of $2.5
million and up. Though the track was originally established as an alternative
to racing signal to signal, keeping drag teens like Danny Zuko off the streets,
Pomona Raceway hosts some of the industrys most important events. The National
Hot Rod Associations (NHRA) February season opener, Carquest Autoparts Winternationals,
has been held at this, the oldest venue on the circuit, since 1961. The season
closer in November, the Auto Club of Southern California Finals, has unfolded
here since 1984. In 1992, a $4.5 million renovation project was completed, which
included a new timing tower and 40,000 grandstand seats, inviting even more
At the major races, 300 cars may be competing. When the starting signal goes
off, drivers shoot down a half-mile straightaway track, accelerating to 330
miles per hour. In an instant, $3 million worth of cars may be destroyed. In
an instant, one zooming speed demon is deemed the winner. 2780 Fairplex Drive,
Pomona; (909) 593-7010 or www.pomonaraceway.com/trackinfo/.
Team in Training
They say L.A. has no seasons. But at Southern Californias Team in Training
headquarters, the year is definitely divided. In four-month training sessions
defined by winter, spring, summer and fall, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
guides athletes of all skill levels to competition in half/full marathons, 100-mile
bicycle century rides, triathlons, and adventure racing, which includes sports
like kayaking and mountain biking.
Each participant works toward a specific event, receiving coaching and Saturday-morning
workouts with Team in Training to improve form and technique, develop race strategies,
and strengthen against injury. The organization supplies room and board, airfare
and a Pasta & Victory dinner at each event. In exchange, the athlete must
choose an inspirational honoree and raise money, 75 percent of which goes back
to cancer research and patient services. In fact, the Society donated a large
sum of money, raised in part from Team in Training, that resulted in the development
of Glevac, an important new cancer drug.
The exercise and training increase strength and, of course, help control weight.
So, in a way, you could say participants are running for their lives. And since
the proceeds go to cancer research, in a way, you could say theyre running
for other peoples lives as well. Contact Mary Lee Walsh, campaign coordinator,
at (310) 846-4720 or (310) 216-7600. 6033 W. Century Blvd., Suite 300.
Killer Guppies Dragon Boat Team
The dragon dares not cross the river if it is not the most furious one, says
an old Chinese proverb adopted as mantra by the Killer Guppies, a Southern California
Dragon Boat team. Established for a 1999 Long Beach tournament, the team has
grown from an untrained motley crew to a winning motley crew, with uniforms.
Although the name Guppies might suggest gay urban professionals, the team
is actually made up of people from all walks of life. Mostly they employ the
Friendster method of recruitment: pals of current paddlers most often join.
Still, outsiders can paddle with the fishes via the teams Web site. Practices
are at 8 a.m. on weekends in Naples Naples, Long Beach, that is.
Under the guidance of Filipino coach Nathan Salazar (whose name even sounds
hardcore), the Guppies have begun to compete internationally, traveling as far
as Shanghai, China. China is, of course, where the sport originated, when Qu
Yuan, a statesman, warrior and poet, was wrongly accused of treason and drowned
himself in the Mi Lo River. Fishermen rushed in boats to recover his body. The
sport began as a re-enactment of the historic event. Now racers (never called
rowers, because rowers face backward) compete to get some tin or win medals
all over the world. During races there are 16 to 20 paddlers onboard, as well
as a drummer, who guides them and sets the cadence.
Just as the sport has been made more contemporary, the Killer Guppies have modernized
their inspirational Chinese proverb. Their new motto is much simpler: Kill .
. . kill . . . kill! (213) 473-6200.