Like the growing variety of ice cream flavors, the increase in sports websites can be overwhelming. At some point, instead of adding to our ever-lengthening list of bookmarks, we choose to pare down to the vanilla, chocolate and strawberry links.
Editor-in-chief Rula Razek and her eight-person editorial staff at Internet Cool Guide are here to refresh our palates. After gazing at more than 2,000 sports websites, they have released Internet Cool Guide: Sports (teNeues Publishing, $9.95), a sports-web Zagat's to approximately 500 sites considered worth logging on to. "The most important factors [in site selection] were great content and ease of navigation," says Razek, 25.
Thirty-two categories—from the major sports to fantasy sports to weekend diversions—are listed between the guide's bright-orange covers. Each site receives a brief review, and those with exceptional content, design, originality and customer service have a C, D, O and/or S adjacent to their listings. Only six sites earned as many as three ratings letters, among them ncaa.org, explore.com ("a cool primer on the adventure sports scene") and nike.com ("stunning visuals and loads of hand-crafted pages devoted to the world's top athletes").
"I know how time-consuming the Internet can be," says Razek, who also writes USA Weekend's "Where on the Web" column. "We've surfed the sites that aren't worth your time so you don't have to." If you're surfing anyway, you can find j much of the material that's in the book on internetcoolguide.com.