Facility Profile - February 2005
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Designed to Compete

Born 2 Run Sports Complex
Mercer, Pa.

By Sutton R. Stokes

"The reason I [designed it that way] is because most of the playground basketball courts have been closed," explains Hoy, who says he's played some of the best games of his life on playground courts. "We've got a whole generation of kids coming up that don't know what it means to play pickup ball, [so we offer] opportunities for local kids to come in and play street ball."

Another unusual aspect of the indoor playing areas is the fact that parents and other spectators are not allowed to watch from courtside.

"Our whole facility is designed for the athlete first, and there is no seating near the playing areas," Hoy says. Instead, parents must watch from a second-story mezzanine area. The consolation, Hoy points out, is that "no matter where your kid plays, you have a bird's-eye view of the action." Hoy, a long-time high-school coach and sports-camp director, admits that concerns about aggressive or over-involved parents informed this aspect of the design "100 percent."

"We've all heard the nightmare stories about parents' behavior at athletic events," Hoy says. "We just want to create an environment…where the kids' experience comes first, not the parents'."

Another group of spectators who get a bird's-eye view of the action are the NCAA coaches Hoy brings through for periodic talent exhibitions. These mass scouting sessions are designed to help college coaches see the largest number of up-and-coming players in the shortest time possible, in order to avoid running afoul of NCAA restrictions on off-campus recruiting time. Hoy keeps his eye out for talented players during the many tournaments Born 2 Run hosts, then invites the top ones back to strut their stuff for the coaches.

NCAA coaches aren't the only taste of the big leagues offered to Born 2 Run participants. The complex already has attracted an impressive roster of professional athletes to help run various clinics and camps, and more are scheduled for the future. Lorrie Fair, a member of the 1999 Women's World Cup squad and the 2000 silver-medal U.S. Olympic team, directed a recent soccer camp, while Milwaukee Buck Mike James will offer his second point-guard camp in June 2005. Other guest instructors have included NFL players and Olympic competitors.

It's all part of what Hoy describes as the facility's commitment to helping young athletes improve and expand.

"If you come here on Sunday for a camp, Friday when you leave you're going to be better for having been here," Hoy says. "That's the business we're truly in."

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