The Florida Collegiate Summer League assembles 160 top college athletes each summer to play wooden-bat baseball in a competitive atmosphere intended to prepare them for careers in professional baseball. Four general-admission tickets unlock a plethora of best-available seating options at one of five home fields for your quad-pod pack of family members. Alternate nourishing bites from four hot dogs and bags of chips with hydrating drags from four icy soft drinks while viewing inspiring feats of athleticism such as grand slams, base burglary, and home-stretch backflips.
Donning armor of red, purple, and gold, Orlando City has established itself as one of the USL Pro’s most dominant teams, winning USL Pro championships in 2011—its inaugural season—and 2012. After their second championship, the squad’s success attracted the attention of the MLS’s Sporting Kansas City, who will serve as Orlando City’s parent squad for two years, beginning with the 2013 season.
The Orlando Predators stampede into the Arena Football League’s 25th season boasting the debut of a new head coach and retooled roster. Former Predators player and Winter Park native Bret Munsey brings with him both a new playbook and ArenaBowl championship expectations, telling the Orlando Sentinel upon his hiring, “[The Predators] want to win [this] year, and I’ve got to find a way to do that.” The front office has contributed to the championship campaign with new additions on both sides of the ball. Recently acquired quarterback Trevor Harris will compete with Collin Drafts for the duties of breaking the team out of each huddle and igloo-encased locker room. On defense, new nose tackle Richard Clebert dominates the line of scrimmage by clogging foes’ running lanes, as he did in his last two seasons on a pair of ArenaBowl championship teams.
While most people’s biggest water-related fear might be sharks, Phil Pektas's was children. Not the kids themselves, of course, but the prospect of teaching them. This terror first surfaced when he was tapped to fill in for the Pre-K instructor at the swim school where he taught. Fortunately, he conquered that fear during the very first lesson and 20 years later is still introducing young people to the necessary skills for ensuring safe, aquatic fun. Pektas and his staff of American Red Cross–, CPR-, and First-Aid- certified instructors use activities, toys, and analogies to improve performance in the pool. With games such as Bird Catcher, kids will learn how to control their breathing and hunt for sub-aquatic fowl indigenous to chlorinated pools.
Since its 1965 founding in Venice Beach, California, Gold's Gym has dotted the globe with more than 600 locations where professional athletes and exercise newbies gather under the umbrella of personal strength. Nearly 3.5 million Gold's members chart and aim for their fitness peaks, perspiring beneath the gaze of certified personal trainers or pedaling beside peers at cycling sessions. In a diverse lineup of group classes, patrons strengthen cores with Pilates, finger-paint pictures of ninjas in martial arts, and amp up heart rates to the pulsating soundtracks of Les Mills routines. Many Gold's Gym locations stockpile futuristic amenities, such as cardio machines with individual iPod docks and televisions that help keep patrons motivated.
Four times a week, the Sanford Orlando Kennel Club unleashes its greyhound dogs for live, competitive contests with up to 16 races per day. Spectators can nosh trackside on savory American fare or wander the grandstand or clubhouse between heats while gazing at the tidy midfield and lush foliage framing the track. A full card of simulcast racing compliments the live action. On monitors throughout the club, nationwide greyhound, thoroughbred, and harness races beam in stretch runs and photo finishes. Once a week, amateur poker players assemble at tables overlooking the track, hoping to win a slot at a monthly or regional tournament, or to get the rare opportunity to play cards with a dog.
The Sanford Orlando Kennel Club nurtures their canine athletes long after retirement with the Adopt a Greyhound program. The initiative places dogs into loving homes with the help of four area adoption agencies, who also find school-bus-driver vacancies for retired stock-car drivers.