Spanning 18,000 square feet of turf-covered courts and batting cages, Raider's Edge hones bat-swinging skills with practice areas and instruction for individuals and groups. Baseball- and softball-pitching machines spit endless volleys of spheres, their speeds adjustable to accommodate both little leaguers and six-armed spider-men. The two spacious turf courts can also accommodate practice for soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey, and dual pitching lanes allow pitchers to perfect their craft side by side. Weekly exercise and softball practice programs focus on skills such as hitting, fielding, and pitching, and young players put their skills into practice as part of Raider’s Edge’s Red Raider softball teams.
Beyond providing an opportunity for friendly competition and social interaction throughout the DC area, the organizers of Capital Bocce League only have one mission: help players have fun. During each season, teams of up to 12 players compete in lighthearted bouts of the classic Italian game, which unlike other sports, requires little to no experience, physical exertion, or physics PhDs to master. After each game, teams can head to local bars for exclusive drink specials, and a variety of prizes await the victor of each season's playoffs.
Gui Melendez, a soccer instructor with more than 14 years of experience as a head coach of traveling and high school soccer teams, enjoys coaching soccer because it combines his love of teaching, working with children, and soccer. Along with fellow coach Oscar Caceres, Gui channels his soccer expertise and zeal into programs at Stars and Stripes Soccer Academy. Designed for girls and boys alike, the academy includes camps, clinics, and lessons for youth, middle school, and high school players of all skill levels. Through drills and scrimmages, Gui and Oscar's sessions cover the fundamentals any great soccer player should know, such as dribbling and placing a bullseye on the ref's back when he isn't looking.
They’re a common food in several Latin countries, including Colombia, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, but empanadas are made a bit differently in Argentina. “We have an edge because we actually bake them,” Nicolás Ibarzabal, co-owner of 5411, told the Decider in 2009. ”Here in Chicago there are a couple of places that offer empanadas, but they’re pretty much all deep-fried. We like to think of ourselves as the new healthy frontier of empanadas.”
Along with pals and fellow Buenos Aires natives Mariano Lanfranconi and Andrés Arlia, Ibarzabal makes the flaky baked treats in nearly a dozen varieties. You’ll find traditional hand-cut beef empanadas as well as Americanized versions including barbecue chicken, which Ibarzabal admits is one of his favorites despite chuckles from his Argentine friends. The trio started 5411—a mash-up of Argentina’s country code, 54, and Buenos Aires’s city code, 11—in 2009 as a catering company before rolling out a food truck and finally opening a shop in Lakeview. That shop makes deliveries by the dozen, and the same pale-blue food truck—perhaps the catalyst for 5411’s success—still takes to the streets daily, urging office dwellers to emerge from their cubicles and horses to escape from their buggies.