At this point, it's difficult to imagine the St. Louis Steamers without Daryl Doran on the bench or on the field. Or both. The seemingly ageless Doran moved to a vice presidency with the team in September, leaving a legacy of professionalism and talent that may never be equaled. But that's not to say it couldn't happen. After all, Wayne Gretzky appeared after Gordie Howe, so it stands to reason that there will be a great one to follow Mr. Soccer. But even without Doran, this may be the year for the Steamers. They have the talent, with former Major Indoor Soccer League Defender of the Year Genoni Martinez returning and forward James Koehler coming over from the Milwaukee Wave to join midfielder Jeff DiMaria (pictured, airborne). The Steamers play their home opener at 1:05 p.m. at Savvis Center (South 14th Street and Clark Avenue; 314-241-1888 or www .savviscenter.net), taking on the Philadelphia Kixx (and how tough can your team be when your nickname is also the name of a breakfast cereal?). Tickets are $12 to $30. Paul Friswold
Fight First, Then Eat
Thanksgiving is traditionally a time for the relatives to come over and share your bounty. Often this translates to Uncle Horace eating both drumsticks, devouring most of the pumpkin pie and claiming the comfy part of the sofa for himself. By late afternoon, you're perilously close to exacting holiday revenge on the lumpen in-laws through that other holiday tradition, the dreaded Indian Burn.
But not this year: better to get the bloodlust out of your system the night before, at the annual Guns 'n' Hoses charity boxing matches. Watch members of St. Louis' two civic families, the police and the fire departments, go toe-to-toe in the ring at 7:30 p.m. at Savvis Center (South 14th Street and Clark Avenue; 314-241-1888 or www.savviscenter.net; $15 to $150). Imagine every body blow thudding into Uncle Horace's ribs. Picture every haymaker as a clout to Horace's chops. When the night is over, you'll have helped raise money for the Backstoppers, and you'll be as peaceful as a baby lamb. Uncle Horace is safe for another year, the thankless glutton. Paul Friswold
Dancing at the Park
The Showdown returns!
Attention, all area dancers competing this weekend in the second annual Gateway Dance Showdown, held in the gym on the St. Louis Community College-Forest Park campus (5600 Oakland Avenue): You know you can work it, you know you have skills, so don't let doubters shake your confidence. Instead, invite them to come see you dance from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the Showdown is $5 for students and $10 for adults, but that's nothing compared with what the former cynics will have to pay to win your forgiveness after you wow them with your great routines and flexibility (the splits get 'em every time!). For more information about the competition, call 618-234-6012. Alison Sieloff