The 88’x184’ Mateflex court inside Benfield Sportscenter is a shape-shifter. One day, it might be a full-size soccer field ready for child or adult leagues. The next, it could be a baseball, field hockey, or lacrosse field. Or maybe it'll be split into several different volleyball and basketball courts, with one corner cordoned off for competitive I-spy tournaments. Whatever the sport, Benfield's staff can set up the indoor arena to meet the athletes' needs. Away from the arena, Benfield Sportscenter encompasses a 1,400-square-foot training area with exercise equipment, as well as a lobby with WiFi and a snack bar.
In addition to open sessions and leagues, the staff teaches a carefully designed child-development program for ages 3 to 5. The curriculum starts with a multi-sport class, then moves on to a tri-sport class, before finally placing kids in single-sport sessions. This encourages children to find their ideal sport, whether it's basketball, baseball, hockey, tennis, or lacrosse.
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.
The Washington Kastles are the 2009 champions of the World Team Tennis league, a 35-year-old tennis association co-founded by Billie Jean King that pits 10 co-ed teams in head-to-head action against one another as they compete for the King Trophy and a chance to face Borlock, the many-tentacled galactic tennis champion from the Ursa Wimbledon nebula. During the July 12 match, watch the Kastles take on the New York Buzz, including former number-one-ranked player Martina Hingis. You'll also receive a free Kastles T-shirt (a $15 value), and have the chance to ask Kastles coach Murphy Jensen to sign your lock of Andre Agassi's hair during a Groupon-exclusive meet-and-greet (a $25 value). With the second option, get the free T-shirt plus a seat during the July 18 match against the Boston Lobsters. Although the Washington Kastles' roster boasts both Williams sisters, neither will be playing at these matches.
At the Columbia Association, visitors find not only a place to work out, swim, or enjoy the great outdoors, but a place to connect with the local community and get to know their neighbors. Families take in live music by the lakefront during summer festivals, or glide across the ice at the public rink. Meanwhile, aspiring athletes build muscle, flexibility, and form with practice at indoor and outdoor tennis courts, or regular trips to the high-tech Columbia Gym. Columbia Association also helps its members maintain a healthy lifestyle with a wide variety of facilities, including nearby golf courses, 23 swimming pools, and even an attached horse center, where humans can learn to ride and horses can get in shape for swimsuit season.
Harlem Globetrotters Playing Three-on-Five
Since forming in the 1920s, the Harlem Globetrotters have continued to entertain millions of parents, children, and general basketball admirers with a trademark blend of athletic precision and razzle-dazzle showmanship. For the team's 2014 tour, a rotating [roster](http://gr.pn/PHdb6w) of Globetrotter favorites?including three female players?takes to the hardwood each game. Spectators might spot veteran guard [TNT](http://gr.pn/rOe0P4) sharing a behind-the-back pass with dunker [Quake](http://gr.pn/QTIGVh), whose high jump once cleared 7 feet, cruelly dashing his dreams of working in a ceiling-fan store. The Globetrotters might also present a study in contrasts with 5-foot-2 [Too Tall](http://gr.pn/PHdmPh) and 7-foot-4 [Stretch](http://gr.pn/1dYrbUt), the team?s tallest member. During each Globetrotters game, youngsters laugh along and witness the jovial jocks performing classic routines of unconventional passing and sudden transmutations of water into confetti. To infuse their visits with an extra shot of unpredictability, the Globetrotters also let fans in each city vote on special rules for every game; past rules have included the use of a four-point shot and the installation of a penalty box. Over the years, similar antics have followed the Globetrotters around the world, including to 122 countries and territories and all six continents on which basketballs grow naturally. The Globetrotters? extensive travels haven?t gone unnoticed: they?re one of the few teams to earn a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as ambassadors of the sport.
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, and basketball franchises. 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, 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.