During the Gary SouthShore RailCats' inaugural season in 2002, the players spent an estimated 200 hours on buses—traveling approximately 12,000 miles without their own ballpark to call home. Indeed, the diamond at U.S. Steel Yard was still under construction, forcing the team to play its entire first season on the road. But while the trip could have been a rocky way for an organization to start out, it instead forecasted a wild ride ahead in which the RailCats never stopped moving. After just four years, the RailCats captured their first Northern League title, marking the first of five straight appearances in the championship series—a Northern League record.
Despite that first year away from home, the RailCats seem to have settled in well at U.S. Steel Yard. Within the park, views of the South Shore commuter train remind fans of the team's origins, and a 55-foot scoreboard towers over left-centerfield in much the same way early pitchers once towered over batters from atop a stack of milk crates.
The only full-service women-only gym in Highland, Womens Core Fitness Center is a supportive, laid-back environment that welcomes all women to come and work up a sweat. There are multiple cardio and strength-training machines, and clients can work out individually or in small-group fitness classes. Certified instructors lead more than 25 classes per week, ranging from Zumba to INSANITY and Turbo Kick. Personal training and childcare are available as well.
Bulldog Brewery was born out of steelworker Kevin Clark's home brewing hobby. But founding his own brewery didn't mean Kevin was ready to quit his day job. And neither have co-owners, Bob Fausto and Jeff Kochis, a steelworker and a second-generation firefighter respectively. The hard work required of having two jobs is in keeping with the brewery's mission: to celebrate small town America and the blue collar workers who live there.
One of the ways they achieve this goal is by providing a place for customers to relax after a hard day's work, whether it's with a grilled panini sandwich or a pint of flavorful lager, stout, or IPA. Their beer also celebrates the working man. The 1890 Stout, for instance, commemorates the year that oil refineries came to Whiting. Its dark, crude-like color conceals notes of vanilla bean and cherry, and it's best consumed while wearing an oil can jauntily perched upon your head.
The team sits silently, trigger fingers poised to unleash the simulated ammo in their laser-tag guns. Nearby, one of their teammates waits to be rescued. The team's leader creeps forward, checks the area, and gestures to the others. They locate their captured comrade, but something is amiss: the pilot's head is shaking. The air fills with flashes of light, and the battle is over.
Team Combat Live uses laser tag as a means to act out immersive tactical scenarios, foster team camaraderie, and covertly scan supermarket barcodes. In indoor and outdoor spaces, combatants run, crouch, and fire, using the same laser gear employed by SWAT teams and Special Forces. To further hone tactical skills, Team Combat Live sprinkles each battlefield with ammo boxes and medic locations. Their instructors, including a certified SWAT instructor, also host summer camps that teach tactical maneuvers.
A stress-shedding family-friendly sport for splatter soldiers of all types and stripes, paintball grants its combatants the perfect backdrop for one-on-one duels or group-oriented maneuvers. Spread out your tickets over six solo sessions, or round up five friends, coworkers, or NBA starters for a fast-paced adrenaline-fueled jaunt across unique indoor and outdoor terrains that can include pastoral fields and themed villages. Each trek arms guests with a battle mask and goggles, semiautomatic paintball marker, hopper and tanker, and orientation that lays out the rules, safety precautions, and the symbolism behind to Jackson Pollack’s early work.
At Yoga by Gretchen, students from all walks of life find inspiration to foster their personal growth, physical fitness, and mental clarity. Gretchen and her team of instructors lead up to 25 students in yoga classes based in the Hatha and Vinyasa traditions, accommodating a variety of needs and goals. Beginner classes introduce students to yoga basics, Booty Ab yoga provides a more traditional fitness-class routine to tone bodies, and vigorous Vinyasa flow classes strengthen and stretch muscles with a series of challenging postures connected by focused breaths. In addition to yoga, the instructors also lead Pilates, Zumba, and kickboxing/boxing classes, in which ladies learn self-defense techniques to protect themselves from punching-bag assailants. Kids are welcome in the studio as well, laying the foundation for a lifetime of wellness with kids Zumba, hip-hop, and teen yoga.