At Cal Ripken's Myrtle Beach fantasy camp, held in May, applicants get six days of clinics and diamond action with Ripken's former teammates and professional managers, including Mike Bordick, Ben McDonald, and Jim Leyland; personal instruction with baseball's Hall of Fame Iron Man; and an autograph session. For those who would rather hone their skills and rub shoulders with today's players, virtually each major league team boasts a fantasy camp, including the Anaheim Angels ($3,495), Atlanta Braves ($3,495), Boston Red Sox ($3,595), Tampa Bay Devil Rays ($2,995), and the Minnesota Twins ($3,895).
Going one-on-one with perhaps the greatest player in basketball history isn't exactly cheap: $17,500 for just 3 1/2 days. Still, who wouldn't want to learn from the best?Held each August at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Jordan's camp offers participants a one-bedroom suite in the hotel, Jordan-branded shoes, golf shirts, and court gear, as well as some time on the hardwood with His Airness.
It's the stuff avid duffers dream of: a nameplate on the driving range, a caddie with a bib bearing their last name, a first tee introduction—pretty much everything PGA Tour players take for granted during the course of a day's work. And with the PGA Tour Experiences' Platinum package, the experience takes place at arguably one of America's best courses, the TPC at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. For something more exclusive, the Tour Experience (a company unaffiliated with the professional tours) arranges a round with select professionals at their leisure and on their home course. The daylong outing includes morning practice, lunch, a round of golf, and (what else?) afternoon cocktails.
Each winter at the oft-lauded Boca Raton Resort and Club, a haven for moneyed sybarites, Chris Evert headlines her eponymous fantasy camp. Here, participants hit the hard courts in two half-day sessions with the three-time Wimbledon winner and her brother John, a leading professional coach. The camp, which takes place in late January, also features three nights' accommodations, spa treatments, cocktail receptions, and a farewell dinner.
Skaters at Wayne Gretzky's Glendale, Arizona, power camp not only bask in the glory of the Great One, but are treated to five days of practice sessions, clinics, and scrimmages, as well as three games (which are professionally videotaped for your digital scrapbook). You also receive a framed and autographed photo, custom-made jerseys, and a full equipment ensemble. The camp is capped off with a closing-night gala at the Jobing.com Arena.
Gretzky Fantasy Camp, $10,000; gretzky.com; 480/778-1899
We know: Every time you get into a tuck coming down a cruiser, you pretend an Olympic gold medal is on the line. So learn from someone who won one: Phil Mahre, who teamed up with his silver medal-winning twin brother, Steve, to create the Mahre Training Center at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah. There, you get five days of training developed by former U.S. Ski Team coach and director Harold Schoenhaar, with lift tickets, six hours of daily coaching, video analysis, and drills. Off-piste activities include an awards banquet and a DVD of your new winning form.
You wouldn't expect a dull experience from a racing camp bearing Richard Petty's name. This is, after all, the colorful seven-time winner of NASCAR's Championship series, aptly nicknamed the King. Today, petrol heads can climb into the cockpit and strap themselves in for 60 laps at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. In addition to an adrenaline surge, you keep the open-faced helmet you raced in and the Nomex driving gloves you've probably sweated through. The event also includes a private lunch with Petty.
Richard Petty Driving Experience; from $5,499; 1800bepetty.com; 800/237-3889
If not for physical injuries and legal liabilities, football camps would abound. As it is, they're few and far between. But in the lee of South Bend, fans of the Fighting Irish can enjoy the dulcet tones of crashing helmets and shoulder pads at a five-day fantasy camp where they learn and participate in the finer points of gridiron supremacy with some of Notre Dame's best. There are scrimmages, workouts, and instruction—all in the famed Blue-Gold Notre Dame Stadium—as well as an awards ceremony and a coaching presentation from Irish head coach Charlie Weis.