Olympics 2012: Ten Summer Sports Anyone Can Play in Miami
Despite your best intentions, hours spent on the treadmill or doing the doggy paddle in your condo complex's pool aren't likely to turn you into the next Lolo Jones or Ryan Lochte. But that doesn't mean you can't let their greatness inspire your attempts at athleticism.
As a sporty city, Miami's got plenty of options for you to get your Olympic games on. So if you can tear yourself away from that live feed on your iPad, get out there and see how you stack up against the world's best.
Oleta State Park's Blue Moon Outdoor Center has you covered when it comes to canoeing or kayaking. Rent the suckers out by the hour and a half, two hour or three hour time slots, and flex those rowing muscles. Rates run from $22 to $55 depending on number of people and length of time.
Despite what popular wisdom might suggest, you don't need to be a growth-stunted perma-adolescent to get into gymnastics. Miami Gymnastics and Dance Academy offers classes for grown-ups, from beginners to advanced. They focus on bars, beams, vault, and floor exercises, just like last night's golden girls.
Photo courtesy of Ascot Farm.
Everyone loves horses, but horses don't necessarily love Miami -- it's not known as an equestrian-heavy city. But there are a few places where you can saddle up and play cowboy (or girl) for a few hours. Ascot Farm is one of them. From walk-trot to jumping, they've got the riding gamut covered (and they've trained nine state champs, to boot). It's $60 for a private lesson and $550 for 10.
Water-based sports, on the other hand? Miami's got that covered. And that includes plenty of places to learn to jib, splice, and set. The Coconut Grove Sailing Club offers an adult "learn to sail" series that runs $275 for members and $325 non-members. Other classes and packages are also available for more advanced participants.
In any beach town, there's no shortage of volleying options, and Miami's no exception. The South Beach Volley crew makes their home on the South Beach courts at 8th and Ocean. (Right by Wet Willie's. Coincidence?) Anyone is welcome to play (with a few rules & regs).
If you're not lucky enough to live in a building with a functional pool, you can perfect your breaststroke at the Scott Rakow Youth Center Pool in Miami Beach. Admission is free for adult residents ($10 for non-residents).
Indoor cycling is available at most area gyms, but with Miami's epic flatness, this is a city made for outdoor bike rides. As far as group rides, the best of the best is Critical Mass, a citywide cruise on the last Friday of every month. Riders meet at Government Center at 6:30 p.m. for the 12-18 mile jaunt. Besides that, the Miami Bike Scene site lists a compilation of group rides, for those who like a little company while spinning their wheels.
Forrest Gump's Olympic turn is the only example of this sport most Americans remember. But no matter. An Olympic sport it is, and you can get your ping-pong with a side of booze at South Beach's Chalk Lounge. Rates run from $5 to $10 per 30 minutes, depending on time of day (or night). And if you're really into it, they've got league action and membership programs, too.
While you may associate this sword-fighting sport more with King Arthur's Court than modern-day Miami, aspiring knights can still find plenty of opportunity to wield their blades. The Miami Fencing Club offers classes at various locations around the city. Prices vary depending on location and frequency, and classes are offered for attendees from beginner to advanced.
This often overlooked intense team sport has enthusiastic followers who dub it "the most exciting sport in the world." Some of them live here in town. The Miami Handball Club is accepting new members, and the gang has an open Facebook group set up to keep members in the know.
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