The Florida Collegiate Summer League assembles 160 top college athletes each summer to play wooden-bat baseball in a competitive atmosphere intended to prepare them for careers in professional baseball. Four general-admission tickets unlock a plethora of best-available seating options at one of five home fields for your quad-pod pack of family members. Alternate nourishing bites from four hot dogs and bags of chips with hydrating drags from four icy soft drinks while viewing inspiring feats of athleticism such as grand slams, base burglary, and home-stretch backflips.
When Gerald Bennett began work as head chef at the InterContinental Hotel in Cleveland, he was accustomed to whipping up dishes for celebrity clientele. But when the royal family of Dubai came to visit and he served them in their opulent suite, he never thought they'd ask him to leave with them as their personal chef. Since returning to the states and stepping into his role as the president of the Private Chef Association, Gerald has worked to bring his gastronomic prowess to the masses through Food Fun Adventure’s classes and tours. He passes along a visible passion for culinary fusion, which shines through in dishes blending French and Thai or American and German influences.
Culinary tours take participants to local sushi houses, steak houses, and bistros, each highlighting specialty dishes. When head chefs come out to greet their visitors, they often divulge culinary secrets and answer questions about curfew hours for free-range ingredients while doling out tapas and other small plates.
In a more hands-on culinary experience, customers gather in classes and learn to refine dishes based on a chosen theme. Using mostly local and organic ingredients in two kitchen classrooms, chefs show students how to craft delicacies such as scallion waffles with orange-zest chicken and tagine-roasted rack of lamb. In one kitchen, which doubles as an art gallery, knives flick through ingredients, and pots clatter at island stations and small burners. The company’s event center, Heaven, fills with chatter as up to 40 pairs of students filter in. Beneath projectors for screening chef demonstrations and documentaries about the life of a paring knife, separate kitchens equipped with ovens and burners fill with the bustle of creation, which gives way to reverent exhalations as patrons finally sample the fruits of their labor.
Donning armor of red, purple, and gold, Orlando City has established itself as one of the USL Pro’s most dominant teams, winning USL Pro championships in 2011—its inaugural season—and 2012. After their second championship, the squad’s success attracted the attention of the MLS’s Sporting Kansas City, who will serve as Orlando City’s parent squad for two years, beginning with the 2013 season.
When varsity football arrived at Central Florida in 1979, it capped off a decade of drastic changes on the university's campus. In 1970, the school unveiled its new nickname for athletics: the Knights. At that time, though, UCF wasn't even UCF yet—it was still Florida Technological University, a title that was shed in 1978 to gain larger statewide appeal and minimalize applications from college-aged robots. With a new mascot and a new identity, the school's athletics program began to develop its own personality. The football team wasn't just the Knights; they were the Fighting Knights. The baseball club became the Diamond Knights, and the tennis team the Smashing Knights. It was an era marked by change and by a collective toughness among the school's teams. When it joined Conference USA in 2005, UCF athletics showed similar resolve almost immediately. The football team won conference championships in 2007 and 2010, and the women's basketball team did the same in 2009 and 2010. The 2013–14 seasons mark yet another chapter in the university's history, as it begins competing as part of the Big East.
The Orlando Predators stampede into the Arena Football League’s 25th season boasting the debut of a new head coach and retooled roster. Former Predators player and Winter Park native Bret Munsey brings with him both a new playbook and ArenaBowl championship expectations, telling the Orlando Sentinel upon his hiring, “[The Predators] want to win [this] year, and I’ve got to find a way to do that.” The front office has contributed to the championship campaign with new additions on both sides of the ball. Recently acquired quarterback Trevor Harris will compete with Collin Drafts for the duties of breaking the team out of each huddle and igloo-encased locker room. On defense, new nose tackle Richard Clebert dominates the line of scrimmage by clogging foes’ running lanes, as he did in his last two seasons on a pair of ArenaBowl championship teams.
Named one of USA Today's Top Ten Skating Rinks in 2008, USA Skateplex sends eight-wheelers careening around a skating arena, competing in a full arcade, and snacking at concession stands. During public skate sessions, freewheelers strap on their own blades or a rental pair of old-school four-bangers and do the counter-clockwise coast to DJ hits. Pairs of floating friends can take a breather for intermittent soda and arcade breaks; groups of four get twice as many game tokens and a large cheese pizza to salten the deal.