Tempe's finally found a perfect sport to host: AVP Pro Beach Volleyball hits the (imported) sand at Tempe Town Lake Friday, April 25, through Sunday, April 27. Young, tanned athletes who compete in swimwear, then go out and party at night, are so much more appropriate for Playboy's "number-one party school in the nation" than are those loser Cardinals. The athletes even make appearances at various clubs and bars around the Valley -- Sanctuary on Thursday, April 24, from 8 to 11 p.m.; George & Dragon on Saturday, April 26, from 7 to 9 p.m.; and McDuffy's from 9 to 11 p.m. Saturday night.Admission to the matches is free, but prime viewing seats must be purchased -- $100 for all three days. More than 125 professional volleyball players will be competing, including many Olympic hopefuls. For $50, local players can sign up for the Friday qualifier and earn a place in the tournament. Log on to www.avp.com to register. - Brendan Joel Kelley
Sahuaros kick off season
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We think this sprawling metropolis would benefit culturally from a bit of Scot-style soccer hooliganism -- roving bands of drunken preppie boys looking to fight rival teams' fans -- but the Arizona Sahuaros have a different vision for soccer in the Valley. The team, one of seven in the Men's Premier Soccer League, touts the game's ability to teach leadership and teamwork and bills itself as family entertainment . . . so we're pretty sure the guys won't be inspiring any riots. The Sahuaros kick off their 2003 season at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 25, taking on the Las Vegas Strikers at Grand Canyon University's stadium, 3300 West Camelback. Last year, our boys won 10 of 19 games -- a team record -- but then lost in the first round of playoffs. Lack of hooligans notwithstanding, here's wishing them an excellent season. See www.azsahuaros.com for details.
- Brendan Joel Kelley
Learn to reel in those fiesty fish
Want to put more catching in your fishing? From 3 to 5 p.m. this Saturday, April 26, Arizona Game and Fish Department presents a free catfish and carp clinic at the Mesa regional office. Fisheries biologists Dave Weedman and Jim Warnecke will share the lowdown on bait, techniques and habitat -- everything you need to know to land Old Whiskers and his overgrown goldfishie cousins. Weedman notes that many fishermen underrate carp. But why? They're enormous, they're fun to catch and, with the right preparation, they're even tasty. Learn to lure lunkers that'll furnish a whole fish fry. The Arizona Game and Fish office inhabits 7200 East University in Mesa, where smoked catfish will be served for your sampling pleasure. For more information, call 480-931-9400, extension 213 or 214. - Kim Toms