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Friday, April 4, 2008
FORGET THE ALAMO


"Tim Duncan never sends me flowers anymore."

Hordes of college basketball fans will descend on San Antonio this weekend to witness history: all four #1 seeds have made the Final Four for the first time since the seeding system was instituted in 1979. That means two big games on Saturday, with the NCAA Championship decided on Monday evening. That leaves about 40 hours to kill in an unfamiliar city.

The sports-minded can keep themselves busy, however. Forget the Alamo, and try these alternatives:

Visit "The Wolff" Nelson Wolff Municipal Stadium is considered to be the Jewel of the Texas League. The 14-year-old park hosts the reigning champs of the eight-team AA league. The Padres affiliate will host the Tulsa Drillers of the Colorado farm system at 4pm on Sunday. Call it a trickle-down rematch of the dramatic one-game playoff that closed the MLB's regular season last year. San Antonio Missions 5757 Highway 90 West. 210-675-7275. Price: Between $6.50 for outfield seats and $9.50 for box seats.

Spoil a Good Walk Live oaks and other native plants crowd around the fairways at the Olympia Hills public golf course. Some holes boast elevation changes of 50 feet from tee to green. Be the ball. Olympia Hills Golf Course , 12900 Mt. Olympus Drive, Universal City. 210-945-4653 Weekend rate: $44.50, reserve a tee time via web .

Ice and Astroturf If you'd rather smack an orange ball up a set of stairs coated in Astroturf, Northwoods Ice & Golf Center has two miniature golf courses. As the name would suggest, winter sports enthusiasts can also dodge the zamboni from noon to three on Sunday, and again at 11:30-2:30 on Monday afternoon.

Northwoods Ice & Golf Center , 17530 Henderson Pass. 210-490-9550. Skating: $6.00 (all ages) plus $3.00 skate rental fee per person. Mini Golf: $7.00 for 18 holes, $10.00 for 36.

Get on Your Bikes and Ride! Rent a velocipede and tour downtown San Antonio, or go for the picturesque and historical Mission Tour. Who knew adobe could be so damned attractive?

Mission Trail Tours , Von Ormy, TX. 210-336-7831 Prices : $40 per person for Downtown, $45 per person for the Mission Tour.

With the weather getting warmer, it should be a perfect time to saunter down the River Walk, as well, but the walk will be decidedly low-impact with so many visitors crowding into town. Whatever you choose, take time to get outside between roundball sessions and get some cardio work done. It takes a lot of lung capacity to shout "Whooooooooooo!" for forty minutes.