Diamond Dreams Baseball and Softball Academy's athletic facilities double as classrooms for players of all ages. A 10,000-square-foot arena houses indoor pitching mounds, technique cages, and throwing tunnels with Iron Mike and curveball pitching machines. An adjoining 2,000-square-foot performance center caters to youth and adult development programs.
Helming these facilities, experienced instructors adhere to a philosophy known as Life-Sport-Connect. As implied by its title, Life-Sport-Connect emphasizes the link between athletics and the real world. As athletes learn how to maintain a positive attitude, work as a team, and douse their coach in sports drink, they develop virtuous characteristics that affect their personal lives.
Classes, workshops, and camps primarily emphasize baseball, softball, and football. Regular baseball tournaments provide game time between local and regional teams, and a chance to show off with home-run derbies and throwing competitions.
The same venue that hosts weddings and upscale dinners also welcomes established comedians and rock bands, making First Avenue Club a go-to destination for all manner of events. Inside, a full-service bar overflows with 12 draft beers, 40 bottled beers, and a wealth of mixed drinks. Further behind the scenes, the kitchen fires up hearty entrees such as roast pork loin and baked cod.
2011's Firecracker 500 Festival serves up more than 20 eclectic garage-rock groups bent on rocking an all-ages-audience's socks off over three thrash-filled days. Bands such as White Mystery and Pitchfork-reviewed quartet The Coathangers kick out jams with riot-grrrl grit, and headliners The Strange Boys shred psychedelic hooks sharper than Jimi Hendrix's diamond-tipped mustache-trimmers. The festival's full roster of up-and-coming acts can expose most attendees' ears to new shrieks and sounds.
The lunch menu at Guido's Deli fields a reliable squad of fresh sandwiches and paninis. The American Dream sandwich celebrates life, liberty, and hungriness with roast beef, ham, smoked turkey, and a choice of cheese ($3.50–$7). Eight paninis populate the menu, one for each president who could pat his head while rubbing his stomach. The Naturalist unites portobello mushrooms and roasted red peppers with caramelized onions, artichoke spread, and tomatoes on a whole-wheat platform, and the Italian brings together disparate deliciousness in the form of capicola, salami, mortadella, provolone, and roasted red peppers ($3.50–$7). The caprese panini, like the first Roman recipe books, binds volumes of fresh mozzarella, roma tomatoes, and a fresh basil or spinach pesto spread ($3.75 small/$7.50 large) and makes a fine companion for a glass of freshly brewed iced tea ($1.50).
New Life Fitness World motivates calories crusaders with personal trainers and more than 140 hours of group classes. Launch fitness plans in a one-on-one training session before bounding into any of the four locations' exercise courses, such as cycling, Zumba, and Piyo, a combination of yoga, Pilates, and trick yo-yoing. After land-based laps around the indoor tracks, or the aquatic equivalent in the indoor heated pools, fit fiddles can indulge in a sauna steam, a hot-tub soak, or a tanning session. Towel service and locker rooms facilitate transitions out of the gym, while childcare frees parents from the stress of pushing strollers while jogging on the treadmill.
A community pillar since 1956, the Iowa City Community Theatre has enlisted local dramatists to take to the stage for the fourth-wall-leaning musical farce The Drowsy Chaperone . A heartfelt and humorous examination of the interplay of life and art, the play depicts a devoted fan of musical theater as he literally slips into the world of his favorite cast album. As the comedic musical unfolds, audiences find themselves thoroughly bemused by the main character's constant footnoting of theatrical trivia, and English students flip frantically through encyclopedias to cite his sources. A nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering a love of theater in the community, ICCT reserves a spot for everybody—onstage, in the audience, or masked behind the subterranean organ.