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.
South Gleason Golf Course tests players with an 18-hole layout that stretches across more than 6,300 yards of bent-grass greens. The par 71 course originally opened in 1928, shortly after experts figured out how to domesticate golf carts. Players have since flocked to the public links ever since to take on its various challenges, including several holes riddled by water hazards. Away from the course, visitors can work on their short game at an on-site putting green and chipping area. They can also collect pointers from the facility's teaching professional and celebrate low scores at its full-service bar.
A shotgun blast signals the start of the race, and the runners tear off through the woods. All the while, the sounds of growls and moans behind them grow closer. Though held in broad daylight, The Running Dead presents its participants with a chilling challenge: if you're a runner, make it to the finish line in one piece, and if you're a zombie, track down your prey. Regardless of affiliation, the 5K challenges all its guests with a series of man-made and natural obstacles.
Throughout the course, runners are encouraged to work as a team. At the end, those who survive are rewarded with a beer or soft drink and a truce with the zombies. After the race, all are welcome to the Zombie Prom after-party: a horror-centric celebration featuring vegan and carnivore-friendly food, an awards ceremony for the most convincing zombie getups, and a chance to argue with a local principal that the undead shouldn't have to do homework. A DJ drops beats throughout the event, while two local cover bands and a headliner provide a live soundtrack.
Inside Silver Buckle Saloon, the Gimme Golf simulator must compete for attention with live music, football on the HD televisions, and even a mechanical bull. But compete it does, transporting its players to far-off golfing destinations such as California's Pebble Beach, Canada's Banff Springs, and Scotland's St. Andrews. These are, of course, all computer recreations of the venerable courses, but what the simulator lacks in authenticity it makes up for in convenience, comparatively minuscule greens fees, and protection from all elements except shaken-up beer cans.
The only full-service women-only gym in Highland, Womens Core Fitness Center is a supportive, laid-back environment that welcomes all women to come and work up a sweat. There are multiple cardio and strength-training machines, and clients can work out individually or in small-group fitness classes. Certified instructors lead more than 25 classes per week, ranging from Zumba to INSANITY and Turbo Kick. Personal training and childcare are available as well.
The team sits silently, trigger fingers poised to unleash the simulated ammo in their laser-tag guns. Nearby, one of their teammates waits to be rescued. The team's leader creeps forward, checks the area, and gestures to the others. They locate their captured comrade, but something is amiss: the pilot's head is shaking. The air fills with flashes of light, and the battle is over.
Team Combat Live uses laser tag as a means to act out immersive tactical scenarios, foster team camaraderie, and covertly scan supermarket barcodes. In indoor and outdoor spaces, combatants run, crouch, and fire, using the same laser gear employed by SWAT teams and Special Forces. To further hone tactical skills, Team Combat Live sprinkles each battlefield with ammo boxes and medic locations. Their instructors, including a certified SWAT instructor, also host summer camps that teach tactical maneuvers.