FansEdge bestows sports enthusiasts with a selection of more than one million officially licensed NCAA, NFL, NBA, and NFL products to proclaim team loyalty. Cubs fans can brandish a personalized jersey ($99.99), and time-displaced youth can bask in the familiar glow of a Baltimore Colts Johnny Unitas T-shirt, emblazoned with an original logo ($21.99). Bulls fanatics can enshrine their laptops in bold Chicago colors inside a 15-inch laptop sleeve ($39.99) or seat a workplace mouse atop a Bulls graphic mousepad ($9.99). Not content to outfit people and electronics alone, FansEdge also carries a selection of mantelpiece collectibles, including signed football helmets and the costumes of retired mascots.
Whisper Creek’s visionary architects, Greg Nash and Billy Casper, and Orchard Valley’s architect, Ken Kavanaugh, present two championship-style courses of verdant, undulating terrain, flecked with challenging features. Golfers traverse Whisper Creek's 240 acres of protected wildlife sanctuary in GPS-enabled golf carts that provide yardage measurements, record scores, and eliminate the need to ask tiger-head club covers for directions. During an 18-hole round (up to a $68 value with cart), clubs send dimpled orbs hurtling past imported white-sand bunkers, pristine waters, and more than 5,000 character hardwoods. Over on Orchard Valley’s 6,800-yard, par 72 grounds, manicured practice facilities conduct dress rehearsals for the course’s 18 holes (up to a $76 value with cart), which span sand traps and wetlands, including the expansive water hazard on the aptly named "All or Nothing at All" second hole.
During the Gary SouthShore RailCats' inaugural season in 2002, the players spent an estimated 200 hours on buses—traveling approximately 12,000 miles without their own ballpark to call home. Indeed, the diamond at U.S. Steel Yard was still under construction, forcing the team to play its entire first season on the road. But while the trip could have been a rocky way for an organization to start out, it instead forecasted a wild ride ahead in which the RailCats never stopped moving. After just four years, the RailCats captured their first Northern League title, marking the first of five straight appearances in the championship series—a Northern League record.
Despite that first year away from home, the RailCats seem to have settled in well at U.S. Steel Yard. Within the park, views of the South Shore commuter train remind fans of the team's origins, and a 55-foot scoreboard towers over left-centerfield in much the same way early pitchers once towered over batters from atop a stack of milk crates.
The 10 golf courses that comprise Forest Preserve Golf guide players on a tee-to-green tour of the greater Chicagoland area, offering an insightful glimpse into the city’s culture and history. Burnham Woods, for example, takes its name from the legendary architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham, credited with designing the city’s structural layout and its manmade river of mustard. The Chick Evans course is named after the first player to win both the US Open and US Amateur, who would later go on to found the popular Evans Scholarship for caddies. With each course densely forested, golfers walk among the area’s natural wonders, as the Highland Woods course perches upon the highest point in Cook County and the Little Calumet River winds through the River Oaks course. With the exception of the 9-hole Billy Caldwell and Meadowlark courses, all are full-length 18-hole tracks.
The instructors of Origins Dance Academy have traveled far and wide to learn and practice their craft, from choreographing in Los Angeles to dancing in prestigious European and Canadian ballet companies to appearing in area musicals. That wide range of experience allows them to teach youngsters in a wide variety of classes, including tap, ballet, and hip-hop. Origins also occasionally presents its students in performances and sends them to competitions judged by technique, difficulty, and how well the dancers perform sequences from Swan Lake while partnered with real swans.
Through expertise as teachers and mentors gained through extensive experience and professional competition, Extreme Martial Arts Academy's instructors guide students of all ages and abilities through avenues of self-discipline, physical fitness, and self-defense in martial-arts programs and classes. Under the tutelage of master Al Verduzco and sensei Steve Reyna, groups of approximately 8–16 students will delve into the benefits of ancient art forms while learning how to keep disgruntled heavy bags from unionizing. Kids will also learn how defend themselves on the ground and standing up as they pick up valuable self-confidence as well as anti-drug and anti-abduction tips.
As skaters glide across Glenwood Roller Rink’s polished hardwood, the lights flashing over their heads might as well belong to a time machine. That’s how convincingly the rink captures the essence of those carefree days when you first held hands in couples skate or landed your first flawless triple axel. A team of DJs keeps things festive throughout roller-skating sessions for all ages, pumping out upbeat tunes to fuel the nightly festivities. They wisely opt for a soundtrack tinged with soul on themed nights for adults.