Surrounded by roaring crowds of hoops fanatics, the Erie BayHawks shoot for glory during thrilling basketball matches as the official minor-league team of the New York Knicks in the NBA Development League. Head coach Gene Cross manages a roster of young and veteran talent that recently included overnight sensation Jeremy Lin. Buzzers announce the beginning of four quarters' worth of dazzling slam dunks, three-point shots, and Final Jeopardy lightning rounds as players hone their talents in preparation for upcoming games and potential rise to the NBA ranks.
Founded by NFL veteran Don Beebe and athletic expert Dr. Jeffrey Schutt, House of Speed forges sportspeople of all stripes into world-class athletes with specialized equipment and personalized performance tracking. Once Steve Halloran and his crew arrange sweat donors into small groups of 5–25 (with at least one trainer for every 10–15 athletes), he targets a slew of individual body areas with an optimized warm-up. The PowerPull resistance machine teaches nimble feet to run with correct form and mechanics and the Bear squat machine's angled footplate takes stress off of the back and knees and boosts vertical propulsion for more satisfying high-fives with blimp pilots. Dartfish instant video feedback lets trainees review every juke, jump, and follow-through. House of Speed's proprietary MySpeed web application tracks progress using comprehensive data from eight core drills, allowing participants to compare their stats with those of nationwide competitors.
Since opening in 1998, House of Speed locations have trained more than 40,000 athletes, including Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and former Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner. The Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams, and the University of Illinois have also used House of Speed's off-season training programs to keep players out of summer bicycle gangs and seedy all-night fireplace stores.
Dipson Theatres celebrates a reputation as a regional movie institution with a network of 12 locations lighting 57 silver screens across Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. Though the company now spreads across the northeast United States, it began in the small city of Batavia, NY, in 1939—a time when movies were called “picture shows,” Roosevelt was in the White House, and everybody could only see in black and white. Today that tradition underlies the cinematic experience as patrons chomp popcorn and sip sodas, marveling at modern 3-D visual adventures, summer action movies, family-friendly features, or even indie art flicks and footage from world-renowned opera performances.
Between rugged cliffs stretching hundreds of feet toward the sky, a foaming river surges toward waterfalls and gentle tributaries. Upon its arching rapids tumble buoyant rafts, ferrying animated passengers who scream with delight at each bump along the way or sudden bald eagle sighting. For the experienced guides at Zoar Valley Canoe and Rafting Company, this is an everyday experience.
Securely fastened into a tandem-parachute system, an instructor and a pupil tumble from a Skylane Cessna 182, a floating sensation running through their bodies for the 45- to 60-second plummet. Shortly thereafter, a more experienced jumper takes the leap from 10,500–13,500 feet as an instructor falls separately alongside to ensure that nothing goes awry between the departure of the aircraft and the opening of the chute.
Back on solid ground, a 25-acre drop zone reunites divers post-free-fall, and in the distance, Skydive Pennsylvania's pilots shuttle other divers skyward in a fleet of aircrafts that includes a Super Pilatus Porter, which can ascend 13,500 feet in 15 minutes. The on-ground personnel photograph and videotape all tandem and instruction-assisted-free-fall dives, converting their footage into professionally edited videos, DVDs of stills, and screensavers for skydiving-prone laptops.