The Chicago White Sox have some truly dedicated fans. In 1994, the team decided to reach out to the youngsters who worshipped their footwear. They sought to provide kids with the same conditioning and training they honed their skills with, so they started a sports-training summer camp. In a mere seven years, demand for the trainers' services necessitated that the program conduct year-round sessions in all types of sports, and the Bulls/Sox Academy was born.
Taught by the trainers who spend their life making sure that the Sox and Bulls are ready to hit the field or court, Bulls/Sox Academy's lessons bring professional techniques to aspiring athletes. Baseball programs teach functional speed movements for high-speed base stealing and help kids build the upper-body strength to knock balls out of the park and through the windshield of their least favorite neighbor's minivan. The basketball course divvies up training between shooting, skills, and defensive play. The fast-pitch softball teachers—both former professional players and longtime coaches—arm students to beat back high-velocity pitches without hurting the ball's feelings.
Each season, more than 222,000 plants change color at The Morton Arboretum–an internationally recognized outdoor tree museum located 25 miles west of Chicago in Lisle, Ill. They originate from 40 countries in the northern hemisphere, which means an exploration of the arboretum's 1,700 acres is like a trip across America, China, and Europe. Throughout the year, scores of tree-focused events, activities, and services for adults, children, and professionals keep nature enthusiasts engaged and educated. The sights along its 16 miles of walking trails and nine miles of roads evolve yearly from rich greens in the spring and summer to a rainbow of yellow, orange, and red in the fall, before clearing its canvas in winter. Seasonal attractions, including Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum, grant guests with a unique, interactive experience that includes dazzling light projections and electric splashes of color. Such events help summon more than 800,000 annual visitors to the grounds and more than 36,000 member households, all of which visit between 7 a.m. and sunset, daily.
Pump It Up's two indoor inflatable arenas bounce socked striplings high off the ground with a plethora of kid-friendly bounce pads. Trained, amiable staffers supervise fun-filled visits where parents can leap around with their kids through gargantuan, air-filled bounce houses, skip down air-filled slides, and slither like snakes covered in bacon grease through an air-filled obstacle course. Attendees can also focus their free play for special events, such as custom birthday parties and themed, private team parties. These themed soirees immerse children in a schedule of interactive activities befitting a pirate or a superhero while melting off youthful energy faster than ice cubes thrown into a running DVD player. Both giant arenas are climate controlled and maintained according to rigorous guidelines enforced by the well-trained staff and local police. Supplementing its thorough rule enforcement with expert installation and anchoring, Pump It Up holds itself to strict safety standards.
Anchored by owner and certified personal trainer Damon Burrell, Heaven and Hell Bootcamp's staff of workout wonks help clients conquer fitness goals in group boot-camp classes and private training sessions. With a regimen of 15 boot-camp classes lasting 40–45 minutes and held every weekday—as well as three Saturday morning sessions—Heaven and Hell keeps chests heaving, heart rates thumping, and sequined leotards shimmering at a rate that suits almost any schedule. The high-octane group workouts change each day, but typically feature agility training, calisthenics, cardio exercise, and core strengthening achieved by hoisting dumbbells, jumping rope, and stealing medicine balls from the nests of predatory birds of flight. For more individualized attention, the gym plumbs the murky depths of clients' fitness capacities to craft custom training regimens for use in private personal-training sessions.
Prairie Yoga's expert instructors encourage anxious bodies to improve strength, focus, and relaxation through a variety of classes held inside their spacious studio seven days a week. Standard yoga classes are offered in beginner, continuing, and intermediate sessions, allowing students of all skill levels to glean fundamentals, refine foundations, and channel their inner Buddhas. The hot Forrest-yoga-inspired class takes place in an 80–85 degree room, the scorching colloquium dedicated to the synchronicity of breath, core-strengthening poses, and instilling visions of dancing chili peppers in pupils' heads. Students can also dedicate the mind to Zen-like focus while practicing simple physical postures in the Yoga and Mediation class. Students should bring their own yoga mat and towel. A full list of classes can be viewed at Prairie Yoga's online schedule.
Working with junior-high and high-school athletes in the Lisle and Naperville area, ESP Athletics teaches the fundamental tools and skills necessary to catch the eyes of coaches, college recruiters, and pro scouts. Working with the notion that athletes can be trained to become quicker, faster, and more explosive, ESP runs programs aimed to help them outperform their competitors and outrun their evil shadows.
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