Silence fills the forest as a masked paintball player creeps over logs and leaves, unable to find the opposing team he knows is there. Suddenly, a shower of colored paint spews from behind a nearby tree, and the battle begins. Such moments unfold daily at PBC Paintball Park's facilities during the regular season. Their staff, all of whom are paintball players themselves, have designed both wooded and concept fields at Greensboro, Charlotte, and Greenville. At Greensboro, wooded landscapes transform into a battlefield with bunkers, creeks, and large forts. Felled trees and dense foliage give players ample cover amid the undeveloped woods of Greenville's fields, while tournaments unfold across PBC Charlotte's level terrain. Additionally, PBC Paintball Parks are affiliated with Paintball Central, which runs two stores in North Carolina and one store in South Carolina where players can stock up on enough paintball gear to ready themselves for the inevitable cartoon-character rebellion.
Off' N Running equips Triad terrain-tramplers with a host of shoes and apparel designed to help them thoroughly flatten the finish line. The store stocks both basic running necessities and sport-specific supplements for men, women, and children, including cross-country spikes, moisture-wicking socks, and jogging strollers for conspicuously competitive toddlers. Grab a Brooks EZ long sleeve shirt ($30) to adorn flapping arms with warmth, or keep land flippers feeling loved by slipping them into a pair of high-performance Mizuno Wave Rider shoes ($99), winner of Runner World magazine's Editor's Choice award in 2008. Customers can reap the benefits of Off 'N Running's commitment to top-notch service during a complimentary gait analysis, during which knowledgeable staffers sweet talk furtive feet until they reveal their sole's deepest yearnings.
Going above and beyond skiing and tennis, the affiliated shops of Ski & Sport Station, Ski & Tennis Station, and the Board Room equip athletes for a variety of different sports, including snowboarding, lacrosse, wakeboarding, and skateboarding. Bravely approach the coming winter with brand-name outerwear, featuring such brands as Burton, Patagonia, Ugg, K-2, and The North Face. A fetching fall ensemble might include a venture jacket from The North Face ($99.99), a pair of Rainbow sandals (starting at $39.99), and a Babolat tennis racquet (starting at $119.99) for batting away attacking foliage. As winter approaches, summer items such as the Quicksilver and Billabong wakeboards go on sale, before they wisely pack up their family cockapoo and head down to Naples for the colder months. Ski & Tennis Station also services equipment, including tuning skis and same-day racquet stringing for last-minute downhill tennis matches.
Since 1989, Play It Again Sports has been keeping sports green, recycling gently used athletic equipment into new-to-you gear. Products from brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Wilson make up each store's enormous selection of new and recycled gear, which is replenished daily with goods for a wide selection of sports that ranges from baseball and football to snowboarding, skis, and ice skates. Treadmills and exercise bikes equip bodies with muscular suits of armor, and pintsize and adolescent equipment arms youngsters with protective padding until they eat enough bologna to grow muscles of their own. Knowledgeable staffers man the Greensboro and the new Winston-Salem locations, ready to answer questions and arrange gear deliveries or pick-ups. To ensure their stock remains robust, they also encourage athletes to collect their lightly used gear—including bicycles—and bring it into a local store to either sell or trade.
Buttermilk Creek Outfitters stocks a huge inventory of rugged accoutrements for hunters, fishers, and archers. The shop prides itself on excellent customer service, guiding visitors through the racks of cross-bows, shooting accessories, and a variety of lures to catch trophy fish or salmon filets at the grocery store. One of the two shop locations is home to an archery range, where visitors can practice their aim or take lessons with rented equipment.
Owned and run by self-described fly-fishing addict Stewart Gordon, The Green Drake equips fish-foragers with high-quality gear and water-worthy accessories. Backed by leading brands such as Orvis, the shop provides all the impedimenta necessary to successfully tempt piscine prey into biting the hook, including rods, fly lines, and convincingly worded get-rich-quick schemes. Other aspects of the sporting life are not forgotten in the store, with everything from outdoor clothing and footwear to dog beds for resting up loyal, bird-finding canines. Sturdy luggage and rustic home accessories provide sportsmen and women with the perfect gifts to bestow upon their outdoorsy brethren. Prices for Orvis products on the company’s website are consistent with those at The Green Drake, and the product of any brand carried by The Green Drake can be ordered to the store at no additional cost.