Though they operate more than 200 locations in upwards of 30 states, the team behind U.S. Baseball Academy aims to make each young athlete's experience a personal one. Their four- or six-week camps are taught by local instructors who are current or former coaches at the high school or college level, and typically offer a 6:1 or better player-to-teacher ratio for intense, professional-style training. The Academy's proven itinerary of hitting, pitching, fielding, and baserunning drills was developed by an advisory board of college coaches and Major League players, including Cy Young Award?winner and ace pitcher Brandon Webb.
The Harbison Community Association provides a venue for community members to work out and form bonds with their neighbors. The center maintains an indoor heated pool, a jacuzzi, and a baby pool. Members can build strength in the weight room and challenge their friends to a game on the racquetball court.
A Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, the Charlotte Knights develop budding professional ballplayers and earn devout Knights fans in their home—the 10,002-seat Knights Stadium. The Knights have a storied history and an impressive list of orb-striking alumni, including Cal Ripken Jr., Manny Ramirez, and Jon Garland. Visitors take home free giveaways during Friday-night promotions, and mascot Homer the Dragon roams the stadium on his four-wheeler, tossing T-shirts, bopping people with his tail, and advocating for anthropomorphized-dragon civil liberties.
Carolinas Baseball Center is a state-of-the-art baseball-training facility that offers nearly 50,000 square feet of space for visitors looking to enjoy an afternoon of baseballing and other activities. Each birthday package includes one hour of free-swinging action, thanks to two batting cages equipped with Iron Mike pitching machines, and 90 minutes of party-room use, ensuring there’s plenty of time to munch on cake. Every party also includes two slices of pizza and one drink for each child, with paper plates, cups, napkins, spoons, and tablecloths provided. The birthday boy or girl will receive a Carolinas Baseball Center T-shirt, as well as an opportunity to yell, “Baseball is nothing like masonry!” repeatedly. Additionally, an instructor boasting impressive baseball-mechanics knowledge can be hired for an additional charge.
United Social Sports expands its members' social circles through a slate of several sports and spirited, casual competition. Return to childhood bliss by joining kickball, throw bags at a board with cornhole, or whack around orbs in bocce. Leagues include a championship tournament, end-of-season party, and other goodies.
A new zombie horde rises, hungry for the packs of humans that flee in a desperate fight to see another day. This isn't a vision of a postapocalyptic future—it happens every fall at the Zombie Run Challenge, an event in which participants dressed as zombies chase down human competitors in a race for both survival and top prizes. After registering, competitors separate into the two factions, each with separate goals. In the course of up to two hours, zombies attempt to turn humans by capturing the flags attached to their belts. The living, in turn, try to complete challenges at four–five checkpoints, taking momentary refuge or healing at outposts scattered throughout the woods. All the while, a group of volunteer mercenaries armed with foam darts hunts down the undead attackers. Before the race begins, the special-effects gurus at Gregory F/X will provide zombie makeup to participants in exchange for a donation—100% of which goes to charity and won't be used to buy the zombies fresh brains at the local deli.