Having soared to the midpoint of their 2011 season with three hard-fought victories, the Dayton Flyers look to continue their ascent in the Pioneer Football League standings by defending their home turf at Welcome Stadium. The team moved to the NCAA I-AA mid-major level in 1993, earning a reputation for excellence with the second-best winning percentage in NCAA FCS football since the turn of the century and a stockpile of 11 Pioneer Football League championships to its name. Head Coach Rick Chamberlin leads the squadron of gridiron giants, frantically waving a traffic-control wand to direct footballs safely into the hands of his receivers. Redshirt freshman quarterback Will Bardo pilots the offense in his first year of action, locking onto top-tier targets such as senior wide receiver Luke Bellman. Team captain and defensive end Devon Langhorst holds down the other side of the ball, distracting quarterbacks from their play calls with fascinating anecdotes about fellow Daytonians and team namesakes Orville and Wilbur Wright.
The Wright State Raiders aim to overcome a bumpy season start to propel a run of backboard-slapping matches into success at February's Horizon League tournament. The challenge inspires energetic head coach and well-known public speaker Billy Donlon—now in his second year at the helm after four years as assistant coach—to further psych up his roster with canny strategy and an all-team Henry V discussion group. As cheers ricochet around the arena, junior guard Julius Mays pops off screens for soft jump shots and jukes defenders for ardent drives to the bucket. Meanwhile, sophomore forward AJ Pacher patrols the paint with nearly 7 feet of rebound readiness. From corner seats in the Wright State University Nutter Center, fans command a panoramic view of the court and the freshly baked new video board that gleams amid a sea of raucous students and other faithful basket boosters.
The talented pigskin couriers of the Dayton Silverbacks deliver a hard-hitting mix of passing, running, and tackling to feed the fervor of local sports fans. Fielding a team that includes rushers and receivers among the Continental Indoor Football League's leaders (in yards per game), the Silverbacks look to antagonize CIFL rivals and enchant spectators without exposing them to the blizzards, hailstorms, and falcon attacks of outdoor sports. Enjoy a high-energy match with a friend, family member, or teenage football looking for career ideas, and cheer along with the crowd-pleasing Silverbabes as they applaud each exciting trip to the end zone.
The seasoned performers of Piccadilly Circus dazzle audiences of all ages with 90 minutes of acrobatics, comedic high jinks, and trained animals beneath the big top. Audiences gasp at high-flying trapeze artists swooping through the air with the confidence of a kite in a wind tunnel, as well as contortionists able to bend themselves into human bonsai trees. Death-defying motorcyclists roar into a caged globe to perform a 360-degree display of vehicular mastery. Gaggles of clowns coax out chuckles, and a trained elephant parades around the ring, occasionally stopping to memorize an audience member's phone number. General-admission seating surrounds the ring, allowing ample viewpoints from which to observe the boisterous spectacle.
A freestanding climbing wall with craggy angles and multiple inclines steals the spotlight at Vandalia Recreation Center by soaring to 27 feet up the middle of an atrium. But climbing is far from the 58,000-square-foot center’s only attraction. Gravity-bound members burn calories at a fleet of cardio machines and build muscle with strength equipment and free weights in the fitness center, and a three-lane, 1/16-mile track helps runners train for catching the gingerbread man. At the Aquatic Center, a zero-depth entry pool welcomes swimmers who rack up laps and children who whoosh down a twisting waterslide and through a giant frog’s mouth or frolic in waterfalls. A vortex and bubble bench set the stage for aquatic fitness, useful for independent exercise or formal classes.
Aquatic aerobics sessions join plenty of other organized activities on the center’s bustling schedule of fitness classes. Students stretch during yoga, break a sweat to the Latin beats of Zumba, and pump their legs through spinning classes. While parents work up a sweat, their offspring head to childcare at Ricky’s Tiny Tikes (ages 6 months to 4 years) or Luther’s Jungle indoor playground. Here, children 4 and older clamber through the jungle-themed slides, tubes, and nets with the help of a bi-level play structure or polish their da Vinci forgeries with paper and crayons.
Glow-in-the-dark palm trees rise above Englewood Fun Center’s 18-hole miniature golf course, greeting guests as they arrive to partake in any of the center’s indoor or outdoor attractions. Clients don Hawaiian leis before taking to the 18-hole, custom-designed mini golf course, where they will lope through a tropical pastiche of tiki huts, misting waterfalls, two ponds, and multiple bearded Tom Hankses. Indoors, scampering tykes can slip on socks and tumble freely among the cushy walls and elastic floors of the inflatable bouncing area, or try their hands at skee-ball and other games in the arcade. The indoor facility also encompasses three batting cages, where hitters shoulder their favorite bat or oversized banana and swing at soft or hardballs delivered at adjustable speeds and heights to accommodate all ages and skill levels.