Though the designers of Columbia SportsPark might have squabbled over how many batting cages to build or whether the mini-golf course should have a waterfall, they unanimously agreed on one factor—the park should be a place for families to spend time together. Today, their collaboration fulfills that mission with a sprawling 15,000-square-foot playground of family-friendly recreational activities. Along the 18-hole mini-golf course, lush plants, gushing waterfalls, and pristine ponds recreate the peaceful feel of a tropical garden or DMV lobby. Skaters pull off stunts at the 15,000-square foot outdoor skate facility with ramps, pipes, and a four-foot spine, while batters slug practice balls in cages equipped with professional fast- and slow-pitching machines. Beyond the daily family outings, Columbia SportsPark regularly hosts camps, skate lessons, and community gatherings throughout the year.
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.
Named after "The Star Spangled Banner" songwriter and Frederick County resident Francis Scott Key, the Frederick Keys have represented the Baltimore Orioles as their Class-A affiliate since 1989. In the decades since, they've claimed the Carolina League championship four times, most recently in 2011. During the seventh inning stretch, up to 5,400 fans rise inside Harry Grove Stadium for a rendition of "We're the Frederick Keys," a song that encourages fans to shake their car keys, house keys, or any Keys player that needs a stern pep talk.
In the world of athletic training, Robert Taylor, Jr.?s resume speaks for itself. In addition to stints as the head strength and conditioning coach for two NCAA Division I programs, his expertise also landed him gigs with professional baseball, football, basketball franchises, and World Cup lacrosse. Now, along with the other experienced coaches at SMARTER Team Training, Robert shepherds high school athletes toward their full potential at training camps and clinics. Whether they?re honing position-specific skills for football, lacrosse, basketball, field hockey, soccer, baseball, softball, volleyball, or other sports, or increasing overall athleticism during the school?s signature Speed, Agility, and Conditioning Camp, students always find a challenging itinerary designed to bring skills to a more advanced level. There's even a college prep training program, which gets high school players ready for the increased intensity at the college level.
My Gym Children's Fitness Center, which currently has more than 270 international locations, began more than 30 years ago as a structured place for children to safely play, acquire new skills, and romp off a sugar buzz. All classes are organized according to age level—starting as young as 3 months—and designed to incorporate the latest physiological and psychological research. Tiny Tykes gets babies moving with help from their parents, Mighty Mites teaches youngsters self-reliance and beginning sports skills, and Whiz Kids, a class for kids aged 4.5 to 6, emphasizes motor skills such as running, jumping, throwing, and kicking. My Gym's energetic instructors are experts at using music, dance, and gymnastics to build youngsters' strength and self-esteem, while stimulating their giggle-plexes. The noncompetitive environment fosters creativity, and hands-on activities boost children's learning retention and fun quotient.
The Bethesda Big Train baseball team came to fruition through the passion and charitable work of the Bethesda Community Baseball Club. Upon seeing that the area's softball and baseball fields were in disarray, this group quickly took to the task of improving them for the community's youth. After raising the money to fix the parks, the organization erected Shirley Povich Field to give the Bethesda Big Train a place to call home. A summer collegiate baseball team, the Big Train delights fans with the sounds of summer: the crack of the bat, the smack of a fastball hitting the catcher's mitt, and the buzz of a cell phone politely vibrating. The team members also aspire to be role models for the region's younger generation, showing them that they can play baseball at a high level while still putting college, their studies, and their right to wear sweatpants to class first. Today the club participates in the Cal Ripken League and has won the league's championship three seasons in a row, giving locals and fans plenty to cheer about while enjoying family fun out under the summer's warm evening sky.