By Stacy Jenel Smith
Where do you find stars in the summer time? Often, you need look no further than playing fields and courts in the Hollywood vicinity. Show business is full of high caliber athletic talent. Consider: Geena Davis
was recently a serious contender for a slot on the U.S. Olympic archery team.
"Friends'" star Matthew Perry is a tennis ace who was ranked the Number Two tennis player in Ottawa at the age of 13.
Carson Daly won a golf scholarship to Loyola University. Ellen DeGeneres is talented enough in the sport to have considered going pro.
It's only natural that the energy and competitive instincts that go into a successful career as a performer also frequently lead personalities to sports. Often, the same names pop up in multiple fields of athletic endeavor.
"NYPD Blue's" Mark-Paul Gosselaar is one of those. He's an avid motocross racer who also loves sky-diving, speed boating, auto racing and hockey. Like other thrill-seeking stars, he's sometimes found himself contractually required to refrain from dangerous activities while in production.
Jason Priestley, who's come back from what could have been a fatal crash, would certainly understand that. Priestley's and Paul Newman's auto racing careers are no act.
"Queer as Folk" star Hal Sparks is among Hollywood's league of advanced martial arts practitioners, along with Steven Seagal and butt kicking babe Lucy Liu.
Kevin James,Norm Macdonald, Dennis Haysbert, Esai Morales, Jonathan Silverman, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff and Bob Saget are among the celebs who got together this month at Anaheim, California's Edison Field -- home of the World Series-winning Angels -- to compete in a Hollywood Allstars Celebrity Softball Game prior to an Angels Detroit Tigers match-up.
Tom Hanks, Ben Stiller, Michael Keaton, Chris Noth, Meat Loaf, Treat Williams, Noah Wyle, Matthew Broderick, Jason Gedrick, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and UCLA Bruins quarterback-turned-actor Mark Harmon are also among the names who've played on the Hollywood Allstars team.
This town is full of baseball-crazed celebrities, many of whom love to compete in the Westside Entertainment League, the Prime Time Softball League (48 teams representing many of your favorite shows) or the Showbiz Softball League. Billy Crystal's Coney Island Whitefish team is part of the latter.
Crystal deserves the title of the industry's biggest baseball fan. The performer, who went to Marshall University in West Virginia on a baseball scholarship before transferring to NYU, brought us the acclaimed HBO "61*" baseball film. He cowrote the eulogy Bob Costas delivered at the funeral of their mutual friend and idol, Mickey Mantle. He's got hundreds of thousands of dollar's worth of baseball memorabilia. He's a life-long Yankees devotee who found himself in a strange position as a minority owner of the Yankees' opposing team (the winning Arizona Diamondbacks) in the 2001 World Series.
Billy's buddy Robin Williams participates in bicycle races.
Who's got game? Queen Latifah, for one. She was on two state championship basketball teams at Newark's Irvington High School -- and now makes promoting girls' basketball a regular part of her agenda.
Woody Harrelson, Ice Cube and Coolio have suited up to shoot hoops as part of the NBA-affiliated Entertainment League. Spike Lee and the members of 'N Sync are also among the many celebrity names who not only love to watch basketball, but have played in fundraisers.
Super producer Jerry Bruckheimer's known for chasing hockey pucks at the L.A. Kings' training facility on Sunday mornings, competing with such blades-runners as Kiefer Sutherland, Chad Lowe, Scott Wolf, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Tom Cruise. Mike Myers and Denis Leary are hockey players, too, as was Michael J. Fox before Parkinson's Disease struck him. Minnesota boy Richard Dean Anderson was headed toward a pro hockey career before getting sidelined by injury.
Former "Baywatch" heroine Alexandra Paul is a major triathlete. In 1997 alone she competed in 13 triathlons, including the toughest of them all, the Hawaiian Ironman, with its 2.5-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon.
Country star Jo Dee Messina is now also testing her mettle as a triathlete.
Tom Hanks surfs.
David Duchovny's a triathlete who also hosts the Malibu Triathlon each year. David James Elliott of "Jag" has been among its competitors.
And just down the beach, you might see supermodel/Leo DiCaprio squeeze Giselle Bundchen delivering lethal spikes; she's known as a killer volleyball player.
Seven-time Mr. Olympia bodybuilding title-holder Arnold Schwarzenegger has been into a variety of other sports, such as tennis and skiing, as well. Of course, he's busy this summer running -- for governor of California.