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Crush It! Virtual Sports Lounge Lets People Play Ball Come Rain or Shine

Hector Loya of Hurst steps up to the virtual plate during a game of Home Run Derby at the Crush It! Virtual Sports Lounge in Grapevine.
Hector Loya of Hurst steps up to the virtual plate during a game of Home Run Derby at the Crush It! Virtual Sports Lounge in Grapevine. Danny Gallagher
Virtual reality has become a huge draw for entertainment venues and most focus on putting people in otherworldly situations that impede their chances for survival — like a zombie apocalypse or a perilous jungle adventure.

Crush It! Virtual Sports Lounge in Grapevine is starting to gain attention for providing interactive ways to do something some of us may have forgotten how to do in the digital age: go outside and play sports.

"People come in here when they can't play golf outside," says Mike Speets, the owner and operator of the Crush It! Virtual Sports Lounge in Grapevine. "It's a great alternative. You can play a quick round inexpensively and it's climate-controlled."

The virtual sports lounge offers 11 games that let players compete in a home run derby on a virtual baseball diamond, pass a football on an aircraft carrier and face off in a soccer penalty shoot out with an alien goalie. The difference between these and console and PC games is that Crush It! lets its customers use real sports equipment to knock a baseball out of the park, toss the pigskin to the open man and get a soccer ball past the alien's greasy suction cup fingers.


"I love golf and initially I thought I'd do an indoor virtual golf place," Speets says. "Then I found out I could do more than golf, so I expanded."

The private virtual player pods can host a group of people along with a bite to eat and something that can only quench the thirst created by a successful run at the net. Every pod comes with an array of sports equipment from the familiar — such as a baseball bat and a set of golf clubs — to the more unique — such as a lacrosse net and a cricket ball. The virtual systems also offer shooting and hunting games that can be played with a safe, simulated, infrared firearm.
click to enlarge Kelli Nicole McClain blows away some desert varmints for points during a round of Prairie Dog Hunt at the Crush It! Virtual Sports Lounge. - DANNY GALLAGHER
Kelli Nicole McClain blows away some desert varmints for points during a round of Prairie Dog Hunt at the Crush It! Virtual Sports Lounge.
Danny Gallagher
"I figured if I'm gonna invest in this, I'm gonna do it right," Speets says.

Each virtual pod has a full screen where participants can throw, smack, shoot and roll actual sports equipment at the screen to score points. The games range from arcade action to realistic simulations of a wide variety of golf courses. Shots are tracked by a pair of lasers embedded in the floor just in front of the screen, which track the trajectory and speed of each shot. There's also a camera located over the launching pad that can track and even record players' shots in games like baseball and golf.

Speets says he's working on expanding the number of sports he can offer as the crowds start to turn back out for a round of virtual golf.

"I'm focused on taking this to the next level," Speets says. "Even [with] the Delta variant [of the coronavirus], I'm focused on hiring and adding more games and sports. It's been bumpy, but the holiday and corporate events have really helped. Bad weather also really helps us." 
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.