The CAA Men's Basketball Championship features the conference's top programs, including George Mason, James Madison, William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth, and Old Dominion, known for their fierce competition both against each other and noted national powerhouses. A once-a-year showcase of conference constituents, the CAA championship allows fans firsthand exposure to each team's peculiar brand of round ball, from George Mason's precision sharpshooters to the seamless passing of William and Mary's cybernetically enhanced hive mind. Each purchase gets you a one-session ticket good for dribbling duos of afternoon or evening contests.
Elegantly lit and plushly upholstered, The Byrd Theatre looks much the same as it did on its opening day in 1928—and sounds much the same, too, thanks to its centerpiece, the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ. Every Saturday night, resident organist Bob Gulledge takes his seat at the orchestra-pit console and might preface the evening's second-run screening of a blockbuster film with selections from Phantom of the Opera or a rousing rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." The antique pipes and bells—which occupy four rooms above the stage—roar back to life with a candy-colored sonority that triggers nostalgia and wakes up any vaudeville performers napping inside.
Since 2007, The Byrd Theatre Foundation has helped facilitate the restoration and preservation of the 1,300-seat auditorium and its organ, making sure it stays State and National Historic Landmark it is today. The Byrd Theatre supplements regular screenings with year-round events, ranging from film and comedy festivals to public-arts forums.
In the four chambers of Tactical Response Unleashed's 12,500 square foot facility, students engage in tactical training sessions, shooting semi-automatic airsoft handguns and automatic rifles at moving targets in simulated scenarios. During each practice session, participants must also duck and cover to avoid pellets of return fire. By presenting students with realistic settings and precarious situations, the training sessions aim to build situational awareness and encourage the appropriate tactical response.
Dedicated to arming students with self-defense skills, the center's staff of former and active law enforcement and military professionals also lead training sessions in firearm safety and defensive tactics. They offer a special course for women, where ladies can practice self-defense tactics and techniques. Classrooms provide the setting for concealed-carry and gun-safety courses, and instructors impart weapon-retention, disarmament, and self-defense classes in a martial-arts dojang.
XZone strives to keep teenagers active and engaged with a lineup of afterschool activities for all interests. Tae kwon do and judo instructors lead self-defense classes that teach patience and confidence, and referees keep paintball matches running smoothly on five large fields riddled with obstacles. Field names such as Spools, Smart Boxes, and Speedball clue players in to types of play. Kids learn how to coax melodies out of guitars and other instruments during 30-minute music lessons that teach fundamentals and more advanced techniques for students playing drums upside down for Mötley Crüe. Those with an itch for friendly indoor competition can head to XZone's game room or calm their hunger pangs with a bite from the café. The center balances sports with scholastic assistance for students in grades 6–12 with onsite tutoring services and a computer lab.
Surreywood Swim & Tennis Club's layout is reminiscent of a summer camp, with outdoor swimming pools and a volleyball court surrounded by towering trees, picnic areas, and shaded playgrounds. The club's three pools include a guarded general-purpose pool with two diving boards; a six-lane, 25-meter competition lap pool; and an unguarded toddler pool with an arbor for shade. Here, swimming lessons help little ones feel more comfortable in the water without Mom and Dad or a personal bodyguard. Five lighted competitive tennis courts offer exercise enthusiasts the chance to practice their sport even when the sun goes down, and a sand volleyball court makes the most of warm weather.
Since 1988, Midlothian Athletic Club has dedicated its 70,000 square feet to myriad forms of achieving healthy living. Whether members want to hone tennis and racquetball skills, break a sweat in group exercise classes such as spinning and BodyPump, or relax in a sauna, they can do it at the MAC. The staff troll a stock of cardio and strength-training equipment, including FreeMotion Elite weight machines, Life Fitness treadmills and ellipticals, and Precor machines, ready to dole out technique pointers. At the indoor pool, swimmers can get a workout on the lap lanes, slip down water slides, or pretend to be toddlers in the kiddie pool. The club also has six indoor lanes, where instructors lead water-aerobics classes that are gentler on joints than moon aerobics.
To help guests recover after a hard workout, the Midlothian Athletic Club hosts many means of relaxation. The massage therapists calibrate their fingers to several styles of kneading, including deep-tissue, Swedish, and myofascial release massage. At the MAC Cafe, chefs sear turkey burgers, bake lime-chili parmesan fries, and blend protein shakes to order for nutritious refueling.
Encore Studio's owner and art director, Karen King Flores, is a professional dance instructor certified through Dance Masters of America and a former apprentice of Robert Joffrey, founder of the Joffrey Ballet. Her graceful performances appeared in such esteemed companies as the Houston Ballet and the Richmond Ballet before she opened her studio's doors in the early 1990s. With 25 years of experience teaching dance under her belt, Karen and her talented staff of teachers—who hail from international dance companies, Vegas shows, and the Kirov in Russia—ground each dance class in fundamental skills and proper technique as they teach students to perform original, age-appropriate choreography. Their well-rounded curriculum includes instruction in jazz, ballet, tap, and hip-hop, a collection of techniques that falls in line with the instructors' priority of letting each participant have fun as they learn. Encore Studio's welcoming, noncompetitive environment allows talent to blossom without fear of judgment from an ambitious old tap shoe.