In 2009, the Cleveland City Stars folded, leaving the Sixth City without a soccer franchise to call its own. Two years later, the group of local soccer supporters known as the 6th City Syndicate finally found a new team to cheer for as AFC Cleveland (its initials: A Fans' Club) joined the National Premier Soccer League, finally bringing the beloved sport back to Cleveland's glacially-formed soccer stadiums. Bolstered by the Syndicate's support, the team surged into the NPSL spotlight in its very first season, winning the first-ever Rust Belt Derby and upsetting the Erie Admirals to claim the Great Lakes Conference championship.
For the fourth race on its 2012 tour, the American Drag Racing League returns to Gateway Motorsports Park's 1/8-mile drag strip for the first time since 2010. Piloting dragsters separated into seven all-professional racing classes, from Top Sportsman to Pro Extreme, drivers rocket down the track so quickly that they finish each race younger than when they began. The SuperCar Showdown—a new feature on the 2012 circuit—pits the latest consumer automobiles against one another in no-holds-barred drag race free from the usual handicaps, performance restrictions, and rules against fiddling with rival drivers' preset radio stations. After reopening under the helm of former Indy driver Curtis Francois, Gateway Motorsports Park has stepped up its devotion to motorsports of all kinds, looking beyond the drag strip to fill its amphitheater-style seats with fans of everything from hot rods to world-class stock cars.
Fairview Park Recreation Department at the Gemini Center hosts an impressive array of classes—20 each week. They take advantage of the brand new facility's amenities, holding spinning classes in dedicated cycling rooms or teaching aquatic skills in the aerobic studio. They also hold outdoor classes during summer months, taking advantage of the sunshine and green lawns. "It's great to see members push themselves and have fun while doing it," reports the Center's group-exercise coordinator.
Beyond fitness instruction, they also use the facility to host summer camps, athletic leagues, and families looking for a day at the pool. They even built a second pool, exclusively for leisure, with waterslides, a lazy river, and submerged beauty parlors.
As the official Wolverines hoops haven for more than 40 years, Crisler Arena holds more than 13,000 rollicking gold-and-blue brethren for each of the storied program's hard-fought home games. Behind playmaking sophomore guard Darius Morris and freshman phenom Tim Hardaway Jr., the Wolverines are ready to challenge conference opponents with a fury of fast breaks, dunks, dribbles, and dirty dishes. Michigan's Big Ten matchup against the Badgers from Madison also marks Fan Appreciation Night, during which ardent hoops hounds are rewarded for their unconditional basketball jones with special prizes and performances by the Michigan dance team. Cheer on Coach Beilein's crew of collegiate ballers as they polish glass backboards and refinish hardwood floors in a valiant attempt to intimidate their haplessly smaller, red-clad weasel prey.
The ARCA-sanctioned half-mile semi-banked oval speedway Toledo Speedway hosts stock car racing melees every Friday night of the summer months. Sportman, street stock, four-cylinder, and figure-8 action will entertain speed-craving spectators with the sight of daring inside passes and near-misses; in events such as the R & M Recycling Street Stock feature and Jeff’s Collision 4-Cylinder race, drivers careen around the speedway in a daring ballet of leaping pistons and pirouetting axles. SpongeBob and his geometric wardrobe will warm up the crowd while kids storm the track to dog-pile their favorite drivers for autograph requests before the racing commences. Seating at the speedway is first-come, first-serve, allowing attendees to come early to avoid being seated behind the top-hats of confused 19th-cenutry horse-racing bettors.