SPRING WILL BREAK McCoy Stadium.
CHEER 'EM ON!
Former Central High school hoop star Ed Cooley has returned home as new coach of the PROVIDENCE COLLEGE FRIARS (friars.com, 401.865.GOPC). Cooley has brought a welcomed focus and intensity to this year's squad, with recent clutch wins against Louisville and Boston College (and they held their own against top-ranked Syracuse at the Dunk a few weeks back). The last few seasons were an absolute trainwreck (adios, Keno), but Cooley's leadership is already paying dividends. Catch 'em in action against Big East rivals West Virginia, Georgetown, and Connecti-cut at the Dunk in February.
The Dunk also serves as the home of the PROVIDENCE BRUINS (providencebruins.com), quite the hot ticket since their Boston brethren took the Stanley Cup home last season. Take advantage of $5 Off Fridays and Buy 1-Get 1 Sundays for all 100-level tickets.
Jim Baron's URI RAMS (gorhody.com, 800.745.3000) are having a rough go of it this year, but the Ryan Center surely will be jumping when division opponents UMass, Temple, and St. Joe's swing through Kingston in February.
Our beloved PAWTUCKET RED SOX (tickets.pawsox.com, 401.724.7300) are hungry to repeat as International League North division champs in 2012. It's always a thrill when the BoSox farm team takes the field under the bright lights at McCoy Stadium, regarded as one of the best AAA ballparks in the country, and lounging on the left-field berm with a brewski in hand is a great way to usher in spring. Easy in/out parking, tickets on the cheap (adult tix start at $7 and box seats are just $11). The campaign begins April 5.
GET OUT THERE!
Get those lats and traps burnin' at ROCK SPOT CLIMBING (formerly RI Rock Gym) in Lincoln (rockspotclimbing.com, 401.727.1704) — take advantage of their combo deal every Friday and Sunday from 7 pm to midnight, just $15 for gear and a lesson. All ages and abilities welcomed.
THE BANK OF AMERICA SKATING CENTER in the heart of Downcity (kennedyplaza.org, 401.331.5544) runs through March 17, and makes for a nice first date spot, ($6 per adult and $4 skate rentals). The 14,000 square-foot rink is double the size of NYC's Rockefeller Plaza rink! Open daily until 10 pm.
Whatever you do, don't leave here without trying some DUCKPIN BOWLING (ridba.net for locations). Duckpin bowling is fast becoming extinct in Rhode Island (with only eight duckpin houses still in business), but it sure is fun while tossing back pitchers of cheap draft beer during the Friday and Saturday night Rock-n-Bowl. Check groupon.com for all-inclusive deals at joints in Warwick and Cranston.