It all started with a deflated basketball. Though longtime friends Mike Kennedy and Eric Martin scoured downtown Boston for an inflating needle to fill it, no shops in the area carried one. They were frustrated—and they realized that other Bostonians looking for athletic gear were likely frustrated too. So in 1983, they opened City Sports, a shop stocked with all the footwear, athletic apparel, and sports equipment that the metropolis had been missing.
Nearly three decades later, Mike and Eric's neighborhood business has expanded to 20 shops across the East Coast. In addition to stocking popular brands such as Vibram, The North Face, and Patagonia, the store engineers its own CS by City Sports line. Shoppers include yogis, cyclists, and tennis players—anyone seeking to outfit active lifestyles, whether they're playing a team sport or braving the hike up the world's largest gumdrop. In addition to footwear and apparel, the staff stocks fitness equipment such as kettlebells, lifting gloves, and dumbbells.
At Potomac Paddlesports, the first professional kayak school to be endorsed by the American Canoe Association, the team of American Canoe Association– and British Canoe Union–certified instructors patiently lead students through a methodical progression of flat-water paddling skills. The classes cover a variety of watersports, including whitewater rafting, river and sea kayaking, and standup paddling. The small-group classes are designed to keep students engaged, and longer trips down the Potomac challenge their skills with powerful rapids surrounded by lush scenery, interspersed with rare glimpses of bears putting on their bear suits. Outside of class, students can bond with fellow paddlers during weekly sushi meals and occasional movie nights. Further demonstrating their dedication to bodies of water, Potomac Paddlesports works to preserve the nation’s rivers, estuaries, and oceans, sharing this passion with its members through advocacy and donations to conservation programs.
Cardio Tennis fulfills the shameless dream inside all tennis pros and amateurs: furiously smashing hundreds of balls in a row while cranking powerful, grunt-inspiring music. Over the course of an hour, you and your cardio-mates will undergo the rigors of various fast-paced drills. While some technical tennis instruction may occur, the primary focus is placed on the aerobic movement and discovering the uninhibited side of tennis. The friendly instructors at Georgetown Prep will keep class-goers motivated throughout the hour, helping to burn calories, increase endurance, and improve ability to smash things.
As a baseball complex devoted entirely to helping young ballplayers achieve their potential, Round Trip Sports' 7,500 square feet of turfed surface is a breeding ground for the pro sluggers and fielders of tomorrow. Batters perfect their swings in one of three 72-foot hitting tunnels equipped with pitching machines, and pitchers take the mound in one of three 72-foot pitching lanes to practice their fastballs and curveballs. The facility also features fast and slow pitching machines for softball players, and a lobby equipped with TV and WiFi.
But all the equipment would be moot without proper guidance, which is why all of Round Trip Sports' instructors are former college players and major leaguers. They lead clinics and camps for kids of all ages, with specified sessions focusing on topics such as speed and agility and strength and coordination. And then there are the camps and the clinics, where experienced instructors and veteran ballplayers impart the fundamentals necessary to the game: batting, pitching, fielding, and the secret hand signal for "hot dog, hold the mustard."
Warriors duck and weave through rainbow-colored obstacles, huge wooden spools, and thickets of trees, all to evade opposing players shooting at them with high-powered paint markers. The farm grounds transform into Torrid Paintball Sports' battlefield, where players engage in scenario games and tournaments with the latest markers and gear.
The Tennis Zone keeps players smashing aces and ripping forehand winners in style with name-brand equipment, apparel, and racquet restringing services. Stop in for a new tube of tennis balls on the way to a match, or consult the knowledgeable staff for advice on selecting a new pair of shoes or shorts capable of concealing second and third racquets. While tennis is the primary focus, the shop also caters to other racquet sports such as squash, badminton, and racquetball.
As the the Tennis Zone's network for recreational play, Smart Tennis puts tennis lovers in contact with like-minded players of similar age and ability, and then lets them set up matches at mutually agreeable times and places. Newcomers simply enter their age and skill level?recreational or advanced?into the website and then contact other users with similar court credentials. After finishing off their sets and shaking hands, the winner then logs back on to report scores and earn points that can be exchanged for prizes?which are just the icing on the cake and second to the true prizes of friendship, camaraderie, and the aroma of brand new tennis balls.