After the glut of snow days and subarctic temperatures and waaaaaaay too much indoor time with children, I suspect you all will have the same reaction to news about a new indoor sports facility that I had, and that is this:
WHEEEEEEEEE! Now, how soon can we get there?
Phield House, which is located at 9th and Spring Garden, opened in December as the brainchild of Grad Ho locals Rachel and Mark Soloman. Long story short, the couple — parents to two boys, ages 12 and 9 — had spent countless hours doing what we all do: carting kids back and forth from city to ‘burbs for birthday parties and ball games and the like. They wondered why nobody in the city had ever opened the sorts of indoor arenas they were forever driving to. “We’d be at the bounce places scratching our heads, wondering where these types of places were in the city,” Mark says. “As they got older, it was about sports and activities in open areas. And we kept asking, ‘Why isn’t there something like this here?’” They noticed, too, that as the kids got more into athletics, there weren’t the sorts of practices or clinics that being a part of a “teaching team” entailed … mainly because there were no readily available spaces in which to hold them.
So when Mark, who’d been in the corporate world for some 19 years, ended up leaving the job he was at, he decided it was time to try something new. He focused first on answering that question: Why didn’t a big, easily accessible indoor sports/games facility exist in Center City? After doing some homework, if turned out that others who had had similar ideas about opening this sort of facility were daunted by the scope of the endeavor, by the commitment it’d take. But since Mark and Rachel were in a moment of transition anyway, the couple decided to give it a go, and voila: Phield House is now open, and staffed with the former athletic director from Springside Chestnut Hill as well as a handful of other experienced instructors and coaches.
Here’s what it means to you now: The city has a giant (25,000 square feet!) indoor sports facility, and a place for kids (and grown-ups) to play soccer and basketball and baseball in leagues, as well as a place for little ones 3 to 5 years old to take an “active stars” class, which helps them build their gross- and fine motor skills and get some exercise. There’s also sports-focused after-school programs and vacation-day programs, which include everything from baseball to basketball to soccer, as well as time to do homework for bigger kids. (And speaking of bigger kids: Phield House also runs camps and clinics where they can also get specific help with their individual sport.)
The goal, Mark says, is to “give kids a place to run around and offer some consistent programming for parents and kids, to give them more options and a place to be active. Which is nice, especially when it’s very cold, or very hot outside. The climate control here is definitely a helpful factor.”
And that’s not the only reason to be happy, guys: They also do birthday parties. (Call for info, if you’re interested!) Additionally, the Solomans have plans to run more of their own leagues — so, very likely, you can expect to see, say, adult volleyball and other popular sports pop up there. There’s also a comfortable WiFi lounge with TVs for parents who are waiting for their little ones, as well as batting tunnels, and an all-purpose room for meetings, parties and the like. At this point, they’re not doing regular drop-in open play, BUT they have opened up the facility for some open play on snowdays. (Follow them on Facebook — that’s where you’ll see announcements of open-play time.) Down the road, the couple says, they might look into space for yoga and other exercise opportunities for grown-ups.
In short: YAY. This opens up a whole new world of activities for littles and bigger kids and even parents looking for fun ways to blow off a little steam and get some exercise. (Who’s up for some over-35 co-ed soccer?)
Photo, taken by Bryan Karl Lathrop, courtesy of Pheild House