Air Play

SAT 2/19
It's been said that the hardest thing to do in sports is hit a baseball. Those selling that tired line, however, are most certainly blocking out painful childhood Wiffle memories. Making contact with a perforated ball possessed of the ability to move up, down, and sideways seemingly all at once is no small feat. In fact, in these parts it appears positively medalworthy. One of America's favorite backyard games becomes a medal sport at the Grand Canyon State Games Wiffle Ball Tournament, Saturday, February 19, at Matt Mantei Field, 1730 South Roosevelt in Tempe. Games start at 8:45 a.m. Major, minor, co-ed and youth teams compete in a round-robin affair, with medals to be awarded on the same day. Entry fees range from $30 to $50. Admission is free. Call 602-285-5267 or visit -- Craig Wallach

Arizona Rattled

Arena snakes lie in wait for the Crush

SAT 2/19
Siaha Burley and Joe Germaine have rarely been in this position -- losing, that is. But that's just where the Mesa Westwood and Mesa Mountain View alumni, respectively, have found themselves early in the Arena Football League season with the Arizona Rattlers. In fact, that goes for the entire Rattlers team (1-2) and first-year head coach Todd Shell as they try to get to .500 at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 19, when they host the Colorado Crush at America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson. For tickets, $5 to $77.50, call 480-784-4444 or see -- Joe Watson

Rank 'n' Tile

Scrabble tourney throws down

For those about to spell-check, here's an event for you. Hark back to a time when "sounding it out" really meant something. Shut off your computer for five minutes and venture to the National Scrabble Association's annual tournament, held this year at the Grace Inn, 10831 South 51st Street in Ahwatukee, where spelling issues can incite a riot. Or at least a point-altering challenge. Play looky-loo while this group of more than 100 alphabet-loving competitors from all over the U.S. makes creating a wealth of words with the Q, X and Z tiles look easier than Paris Hilton -- period. The action kicks off with an early-bird tournament at 10 a.m. Friday, February 18, and picks up again Saturday, February 19, through Monday, February 21, at 9 a.m. each day. Admission is free. Visit Amy Young

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea
C. Murphy Hebert