Great Scots

Get some dirt up your kilt at the Highland Games

2/26-2/27
Stereotypes are an awful blight, which is why the Scottish are such an inspiringly indefinable people. Any group that counts among its sports the Hammer Throw, Weight Toss, and Standing Stone Put are on the high side of macho. Yet those same people are just as likely to be found wearing a kilt and breaking into a jig, and that, my friends, is well-rounded. Scottish history and culture take center stage at the 41st annual Arizona Scottish Highland Games and Clan Gathering, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, February 26, and Sunday, February 27, at Mesa Community College, 1833 West Southern. Two days of athletic events, dance, pipes and drums, live entertainment, genealogy, reenactments, and language and Celtic studies promise to have you feeling "Scot" even if you're not. Opening ceremonies begin at noon Saturday. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $5 for children ages 5 to 15. Kids under 5 get in free. Call 602-431-0095 or see www.azscots.com. --Craig Wallach

Serve's Up

Tennis pros aim for more than love

Passing that stone is just one of the Highland Games.
courtesy of www.scottsdaletennis.com
Passing that stone is just one of the Highland Games.
Will Spadea's opponents prove in-Vince-ible? Find out at the Arizona Men's Tennis Classic.
Will Spadea's opponents prove in-Vince-ible? Find out at the Arizona Men's Tennis Classic.
Make memories -- and memorabilia -- to last a lifetime at the Spring Training Fan Fest.
courtesy of Peoria Sports Complex
Make memories -- and memorabilia -- to last a lifetime at the Spring Training Fan Fest.
The Critical Mass Bike Ride traffics in alternative transportation.
courtesy of Patrick Campbell
The Critical Mass Bike Ride traffics in alternative transportation.

2/24-2/27
The Arizona Men's Tennis Classic serves up serious competition through Sunday, February 27, at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort, 7575 East Princess Drive. Players including Mark Philippoussis, Vince Spadea (pictured) and Tommy Haas volley for about $400,000 in prize money. Tickets cost $14 to $72. Call 602-514-8800. -- Niki D'Andrea

Battle of the Hands

Climbers get boulder, but no wiser

FRI 2/25
If you're ready to rock and climbing the walls, check out the Rock Climbing Bouldering Competition at 4 p.m. Friday, February 25, at AZ on the Rocks Indoor Climbing, 16447 North 91st Street in Scottsdale. Climbers compete in 10 categories, based on gender and difficulty. Those who "boulder" (climb without ropes on rock walls 14 to 16 feet high) not only climb vertically up the wall, but sideways as well, so farting downward won't thwart the competition. Call 480-502-9777. -- Niki D'Andrea

Fan Friendly

More fun than games at Spring Training Fan Fest

SAT 2/26
So some greedy guy snatched that foul ball right from your hand at the D-Backs game last season, and you had to listen to little Johnny cry about it all the way home. Get vindicated at the Spring Training Fan Fest, taking place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, February 26, at Peoria Sports Complex, 16101 North 83rd Avenue. Baseball fans of all ages can mingle with Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres players, plus some superstar visitors, who in the past have included Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Randy Johnson. In addition to autograph sessions, kids can enjoy interactive games and a kids' clinic. And it's all free. Call 623-412-4211. -- Niki D'Andrea

Mass Exodus

Bicyclists take to the streets, because they're there

FRI 2/25
In a region where status cars are king, the public transportation system is laughable at best, and many choke at the thought of actually hoofing it, it’s no surprise that recently relocated East Coast native Patrick Campbell had to use some resurrection skills to revive the monthly Critical Mass bike ride. The trek, which happens this month in Tempe at 7 p.m. Friday, February 25, is a monthly unorganized event that’s been happening in cities worldwide for years to serve as a gentle reminder that there are other ways to get from Point A to Point B. “First and foremost,” says Campbell, “it’s a fun, low-key recreational ride and an opportunity for riders to get together. I can’t make a blanket statement for every participant’s agenda, but certainly for some it promotes other ideas, like facilitating a more environmentally friendly mode of travel.” Citing the illegality of riding on the sidewalks, the group follows its legal right to ride on the streets and maintains, “We are not disrupting the traffic, we are the traffic.” Get your wheels to the Gentle Strength Co-op, 234 West University. Participation is free. See www.cmphx.org. -- Amy Young

 
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