Best Summer Games – A Top Five List

What better allows you to be a friend, teammate, competitor, host, and inspirer of happiness than summer lawn games?  Well, there probably are other things that lend better to those roles, but heck, summer games are fun and can bring together a family and friends!  I remember, in my younger summers, sitting in a low, striped polyester beach chair in the back yard, holding a glass of iced lemonade to my nape and watching my cousins blow bubbles in the sun.  That child, hot and bored, wished for something a bit more exciting and fifteen years later, I happily present to you, the top five backyard games for this summer.

5. Badminton

An Odd Garden Variant of TennisCarlton Shuttlecock

If you haven’t seen the game of badminton before, you’re missing something extraordinary.  Reminiscent of 19th century England, the game consists of lightweight racquets, a net, and the illustrious shuttlecock.  The (usually nylon) feathers of the shuttlecock provide drag so that it decelerates much quicker than a ball, which means, no out-of-the-park home runs for any over-excited players.  Hit the shuttlecock in the air over the net until it hits the ground!  Easy to set up in the back yard or in a park, lightweight, and affordable, badminton is a great way to involve anyone and everyone.  Cheerio!

Try the Franklin Elite Series 4 Player Badminton Set

4. Volleyball

Sick Dig Bro! Wilson Softplay Outdoor Volleyball

Another net game, volleyball is an incredibly fun way to get some exercise.  Setting and spiking competitively or leisurely tossing the ball back and forth, this game works for everyone.  Learning this game also can have advantages when you come across a game of indoor volleyball, beach volleyball, or even water volleyball.  Make some memories this summer with family games of backyard ball in the sun.

Recommended volley ball set – Park & Sun Spectrum Classic

3. Toss Games

Did You Say Cornhole?Bean Bag Toss - Cornhole Game

At my desk, there isn’t much in this world more enticing than being outside with some buddies, baseball game on the radio, and tossing a bean bag with a cold beverage in my free hand.  I don’t know about you, but I’m a fan of relaxing and taking advantage of the warmer months.  Sometimes referred to as tailgate games, toss games are simple and require little set up.  Usually in the form of a bean bag, players toss the object underhanded at a target.  Rules depend on the game being played, but the simplicity and the game-day feel of toss games definitely put them on the top five summer games list.

Fun bean bag game for the family – Corn Toss by Sport Design

2. Croquet

Through the Wickets and into the Stake, Old Sport!North Meadow Scottsdale Croquet Set

With origins dating back 400 years, croquet can transport you through time.  Well, no.  But it is exciting, classic, and perfect for some backyard Saturday fun.  Whether you’re sporting knickers and argyle socks or some under armour shorts, any day with reasonable weather is a perfect day for croquet.  I had fun playing this ball and mallet game as a kid at my grandparents’ house in Maine and this summer I will be definitely getting into some croquet mischief, putting on an English accent, creating new rules, and competing feverishly with my young nephews.  Undoubtedly a winner, croquet is perfect for backyard hangouts.

Best seller –  North Meadow Scottsdale 6-Player Croquet Set

1. Horseshoes

Summer Just Got a Bit LuckierWD Horseshoe

Albeit strange, pitching oversized shoes of a horse is cool.  Ancient Grecians tossed them when they couldn’t afford a discus.  Soldiers threw mule shoes in Union Camps during the Civil War.  Abounded in history, horseshoes is a game everyone knows and playing it is easier than ever today.  All you need is two stakes and some horseshoes to pitch.  The skillful pitch of the shoe is not something that demands tremendous physical ability, which makes it perfect for players of all ages.  Backyard or in the sand, horseshoes defines the summer as the epitome of relaxing, fun, and memorable!

One of the best horseshoe sets around – WD Horseshoe Co. Glory Set

Now, where’s my lemonade?

By Isaac Clark

Isaac is a Lemonade Lover at Sports Unlimited.

Happy Mother’s Day

life-is-good-heartIt is tiring and difficult to exude appreciation on a consistent basis, but our mothers deserve no less.  As a family owned company, we at Sports Unlimited feel pretty darned strongly about our families and the special relationship everyone has with his or her mother.  This weekend is not the time for us to sell, but for us to celebrate!

Hi Grandma!
Hi Grandma!

Showering our mother or grandmother or the mother of our children with gifts is lovely, but common.  The right gift can be truly heartfelt, but the one perfect way to convey our sincere appreciation is simply to spend time with her.  Make the phone call, drive down the street or go for a walk with her.  When we can’t necessarily say precisely how we feel, a mother knows that a squeeze of the hand, an honest glare, or the words ‘Thank You’ from her son or daughter is the recognition of a lifetime of compassion and giving.  At 5:30AM on Sunday, I’ll be awake and groggily readying myself for the Susan G. Komen 5K in Philadelphia, but whether you are racing or not, being active and supportive to your mother in any endeavor is important.

Go Mom, Go Blue!
Go Mom, Go Blue!

Spending time and acknowledging her value as a mother is what Mother’s Day is about, but that isn’t to say that moms don’t like gifts!  I would however suggest that you buy her something that represents the person she is and wants to be.  We won’t stop you from running, or relaxing, or climbing a mountain, but maybe this weekend, bring your mom along.

Happy Mother’s Day everybody.

By Isaac Clark

Isaac is a writer at Sports Unlimited.

Best Horseshoe Sets for Your Game

Find the perfect horseshoe set for you and your family this picnic and summer season!

Picnic HorseshoesWhen shopping at most retail outlets you’ll find mostly “picnic” style horseshoe sets, as opposed to professional. Those picnic type horseshoes are also known as “recreational” sets, and it’s what you typically see at your backyard picnics or on the beach. Depending on your level of play, where you’re playing, and how competitive your spirit, we at SU will help guide you to selecting the best horseshoes for your game.

Some things to consider before purchasing your shoes:
American Professional Series Horseshoes
American Professional Series Horseshoe Set

Who’s primarily playing?  Adults, Kids or a Mix of both? If you’re planning a picnic for teenagers or adults, it’s fun to go with a recreational, steel set. You get the real feel of horseshoes and the classic clang when hitting the stake. We recommend the American Professional Series Horseshoe Set by St. Pierre for $39.99. It’s a quality set that’s made in the USA and was designed by a former world champion.

Kids Rubber Horseshoes
Rubber Horseshoe Set

If your kids are primarily playing with the set, or if you’re looking for something light and easy to carry down to the beach, then you might want to go with a well-made, rubber horseshoe set. Trust me, I know from experience that you want your kids playing with a rubber or plastic set. When they inevitably drop a horseshoe on your toes, you’re going to be thankful it’s not steel! For only $19.99 this Rubber Horseshoe Set is a great, pain-free choice, and can be used for both indoor and outdoor play.


Are you looking for horseshoes that are approved for NHPA, professional play?

If you’re considering entering a certified NHPA sanction tournament, or training for one, it’s important to understand that your horseshoes need to be approved by the NHPA. We offer a number of tournament horseshoe sets and horseshoes in various weights, colors, shapes, and prices. These shoes are manufactured by WD Horseshoe Company in Erie, PA so they’re all made in the USA and are of superior quality. All the horseshoes on our site are clearly marked if they are approved by the NHPA for tournament play. Our top picks for tournament approved sets are the Mustang at $66.99, the Bandit for $89.99 and the Glory for $119.99.

Happy Pitching!


By Mike Neff.

Mike is the Director of E-commerce at Sports Unlimited.

How to Buy a Baseball Glove

Buying a new baseball glove can be a confusing process. Most gloves look the same to the layman, so learn how buy a baseball glove, tell gloves apart, and find the one that works for your needs, and fits into your budget.

Adult Baseball GlovesHanding down your old baseball or softball glove to your kids for a game of catch in the yard can be a loving rite of passage…and something moms and dads look forward to for a long time. But when it comes to serious little league games and beyond, that worn out old glove just isn’t going to pass muster. At some point, your kids are going to need a new glove, and hey…you might need one too! But to most new baseball moms and dads, all gloves look exactly the same.

So how do you tell baseball gloves apart, let alone find one that meets your needs and fits into your budget?

Glove Features:

Even I’ll admit that almost all baseball gloves have a similar look. But there are three main features of a glove’s build that make it unique, and determine its use and performance in the field. Recognize them, and an entire world of differences will open up before you:

  • Webbing – This connects the thumb of the glove to the fingers and expands Glove Websthe catching area well beyond the hand. There are many, many different types of webs, each with their own cool name (like the Modified Traz-eze web!), but they all generally fall within two categories:
    • Closed Webs feature tight woven patterns of leather that create a solid, strong web.
    • Open Webs use loose cross patterns of leather or leather lacing to create spaces between each piece of leather webbing, for a web you can see through.
  • Pocket – The indentation in the palm of the glove where the ball rests when it’s caught. Pockets range from shallow to deep, and pocket depth can affect your hold on the ball, as well as determine how long it takes to retrieve it from the pocket.
  • Glove BackBack– The wrist closure of the glove.
    • Open backs have a space above the Velcro adjuster for more flexibility around the wrist.
    • Closed backs have no space for more strength and support.
Glove Patterns:

Every baseball glove on the market uses these three features in various combinations to create a unique glove “pattern.” This pattern, along with the size of the glove, tailors its performance to meet the needs of players at different positions around the diamond. For instance;

  • Outfielders need a longer reach, wider catching area, and added support to catch pop-flys. To meet their needs, outfielder glovestypically feature:
    • A closed back for strength and wrist support
    • An open web to see through when catching fly balls, filtering out glare from sunlight or stadium lights
    • A deeper pocket for better hold on the ball
  • Infielders need to stop hard hit shots and make fast throws. To get that kind of performance, infielder gloves generally feature:
    • Shallower pockets for faster catches and quicker throws
    • Open backs for added wrist flexibility and faster movements
    • Open webs for 3rd basemen, to help field hard hit balls down their baseline,
    • Closed webs for short stops, 1st, and 2nd basemen, for faster transfers from glove to throwing hand
  • Pitchers are less specific in their needs, and generally rely on personal preference in a glove pattern. But almost all pitching gloves use a closed web to help hide the ball and grip from the batter.
  • Baseball Catchers MittCatchers have a very specific role behind the bag, and all they’re typically worried about is catching the ball and not breaking their hand. That’s why catcher’s mitts are unique and finger-less, designed to protect the hand with heavy padding. A shallow pocket provides easy access to the ball for fast throws, and a closed web snaps shut when catching pitches.

When choosing a new baseball glove, it’s also important to consider the leather it’s built with. Leather quality has a dramatic affect on the glove’s durability, longevity, softness, performance, look, feel, and break-in time. It also happens to be a central factor in its price! High-end gloves with pro-stock, pro-choice leather, like the Wilson A2000, are definitely worth the price as they practically last forever, and can dramatically improve your game. However, if you’re looking for a youth baseball glove for your son or daughter, who is just starting out, playing in smaller leagues, or still growing rapidly, it’s not practical to buy such an expensive glove. Instead, check out Mizuno Prospect Series baseball gloves or Franklin baseball gloves, for a more affordable, but still high quality option.

This is a great year for baseball gloves, and there are tons of new 2012 baseball gear and gloves that you and your kids are sure to love! So look around, and use all of your new-found baseball glove knowledge to find something perfect. And if you still need some more help, be sure to check out our complete Baseball Glove Buying Guide.

By Brandon Porter.Brandon is a product specialist at Sports Unlimited.

New Life Is Good Spring 2012 Apparel!

With all of this cold, grey winter weather, the warm greenery of spring may seem impossibly far off. But to the people at Life is good, the scents of backdoor barbeques and fresh cut grass, the sounds of softly strumming guitars, and the joys of pure relaxation are never out of reach. That’s why we figured there was no better time than now to unveil the brand new Life is good spring line at Sports Unlimited, and to reveal our sweet new life is good deal! Stock up on these new styles, and when you buy 2 life is good shirts, get the 3rd 50% off! Sweet deal right?

2012 Life is good Women’s Spring Line:

Celebrating the many moods of the season, the new life is good women’s apparel spring line delivers a range of new, cool colors and styles, offering something for everyone and every occasion. Check out a few of our new favorites:

2012 Life is good Men’s Spring Line:

The latest life is good men’s wear continues to honor all that is man! From fishing to camping, golfing to barbecuing, life is good men’s spring apparel details the best parts of being a guy this season!

Life is good for the kids too! The life is good kids apparel spring line has the coolest school clothes and weekend tee’s to keep them stylish, with that unique flare. Plus, there is no higher quality brand than life is good, so you know these shirts will last through years of horsing around!

Known for their unimaginably comfortable shirts and sweatshirts, sporting the cool colors of the seasons and uniquely heartwarming graphics, life is good has built their success by embodying happiness. What started with a simple t-shirt and the undeniably lovable grin of their character “Jake,” has evolved into full lines of apparel and accessories that define the many things that make life good! But it’s what life is good does outside of the stores that makes them really unique, and what makes them a favorite here at SU. Constantly and consistently charitable, life is good is dedicated to improving the lives of children everywhere, and hosts countless festivals every year to raise money for causes that bring joy and education to kids around the globe. So when you rock life is good this spring, know that you’re also making life a little better for others!

Best Basketball Hoops – Driveway In-ground Adjustable Hoops

The sun is out and here to stay in much of the great USA.  Going outside and shooting hoops is a popular way to spend time out in the spring and summer months, which is why we fully loaded our basketball hoop lineup for you this season.  If you are looking for a driveway basketball hoop, is your home to find the perfect basketball system for your needs.  And it’s never been easier with our fully updated Basketball Hoop Comparison Chart, where you can find the systems organized by type and size in a straightforward manner.

We’ve compiled a ranking of the top residential adjustable basketball hoops for the current season.  The rankings are completely subjective, and are compiled incorporating price, quality, and value of the basketball hoop.  Without further ado, the top driveway basketball hoops are:

1. Spalding Arena View 88724AGP In-Ground Adjustable Basketball Hoop – $2499 + Free Shipping

   The Spalding Arena View 88724AGP is the baddest of the bunch.  It has an absolutely massive 8″ square steel pole made of 3/16″ steel, giving it supreme rigidity, or stability, which is the truest measure in quality for basketball systems.  The Arena View has a 42″ x 72″ heavy-duty tempered glass backboard that measures 1/2″ thick, providing superior reboundability (new word) that trumps any other backboard material on the market.  A 180 degree flex action breakaway rim and stadium style pole pad finish the touch on this beast, while an official four-foot regulation offset allows you to play under-the basket and reduces the risk of injury from running into the pole.  Adjusting the behemoth has never been easier, as an ergonomically designed U-Turn Pro system allows you to easily adjust the system from 7′ to regulation 10′ heights.  It’s supported by a bolt down anchor system, rather than a concrete in-ground bury, meaning if you end up moving, you can remove the system and take it with you.  If you’re looking for the best basketball hoop for your driveway, this Spalding Arena View Basketball Hoop is the end-all be-all system for you.

Continue reading “Best Basketball Hoops – Driveway In-ground Adjustable Hoops”

New Spring Apparel and Footwear: New Running Shoes and New Running Apparel

We have plenty of brand New Spring Apparel and Footwear that has just come in!  From brands including The North Face, Under Armour, Nike, STX, and Burton, we have all the fresh gear you want for the season ahead.  We’ve got especially good news for the runners out there: There’s a whole lot of new running gear for you to stock up on this Spring.  Some highlights include:

Nike Zoom Structure Triax+14 Mens Running Shoes

Selected as an Editor’s Choice from Runner’s World, the innovative Nike Zoom Structure Triax=14 Mens Running Shoes offer advanced technology in the running shoe world.  Advanced features include Nike Zoom Construction, which provides ideal feel and aggressive maneuverability by bringing the foot closer to the ground with lightweight, thin, super-responsive cushioning.  Nike Flywire Technology helps provide ultra-lightweight support and comfort for your foot.  Strategically placed thin Nylon fibers placed on the upper of the shoe hold the foot in place, helping reduce slippage during your run.  Because material is used only where it’s needed for proper structure, less material is used, resulting in less weight and a lighter feel.  On top of all of that, these running shoes feature Nike+ Ready technology so you can measure and monitor your workouts.

The North Face Better Than Naked Womens Crew Shirt

Pop Quiz:  Are you female?  Do you run?  If you answered yes to both of these questions, congratulations; you passed.  The North Face, known for their outdoor superiority, has done it again with The North Face Better than Naked Womens Crew Shirt.  This female running shirt is designed for running, even in slightly lousy weather.  Along with being extremely lightweight, the Better Than Naked Shirt has a streamlined design with flatlocked seams which prevent abrasion and chaffing while running.  Super comfortable, water resistant, and breathable thanks to a strategically bonded ventilation system, it will instantly become your favorite running shirt!

New for Spring 2011 – The North Face Amp Hybrid Jackets

Spring time is near.  Though it’s still mid-February, the Winter season is approaching its end.  Throughout much of the United States, for instance, today’s weather is a preview of glorious days ahead, as many regions are experiencing spring-like weather upwards of 50-plus degrees.  The cold and dark winter is quickly becoming a memory (fingers crossed, at least), so it’s time to trade in those heavy winter jackets for lighter spring windbreakers.

The North Face has just what you need this spring with its newly designed Amp Hybrid Jackets.  These technical jackets are part windproof and part stretch-fit construction, hence the “Hybrid” in the name.  Ideal for aerobic use such as running, biking, and climbing in cooler temperatures, The North Face Amp Hybrid Jacket is mostly covered in a windproof shell, protecting you from the cutting wind, while the rest of the jacket is made of four-way stretch TNF Apex Aerobic materials, offering more mobility in places you need it, such as under the arms and the sides, for unrestricted movement.

These jackets also feature a DWR (durable water repellent) finish and have a performance fit, perfect for your exercising needs.

<– The North Face Womens Amp Hybrid Jacket

The North Face Mens Amp Hybrid Jacket –>