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Best Sporting Goods 

Sports Authority

READERS' PICK: Do the folks at Sports Authority deserve the name? Absolutely! This place has anything and everything for male and female athletes. Whether your thing is hockey, tennis, basketball, volleyball, golf, rock climbing, football, baseball or soccer, this is the place to go. The ceilings are high, the prices are low and the employees are helpful. And even if you don't participate in sports, haven't got an ounce of athletic potential or just like picking on the weaker species, they also have fishing equipment, hunting gear and guns.

OF MYTHIC PROPORTIONS: Target. My, our Target-loving friends were busy this year. For a store where you can also buy deodorant, Nintendo games, stationery and jewelry, Target does have a surprisingly extensive selection of sporting-goods equipment: bikes and basketballs, tents and baseball gloves, in-line skates and kerosene lanterns. And they're all at prices dictated by the life-and-death struggle being forced by the presence of Super K and Wal-Mart. As long as there is no clear-cut winner in that particular shake-out battle, we all win at the checkout stand.

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