America is full of sports wonders. There are the Fenway Parks and Lambeau Fields, of course, the standard destinations on any fan’s bucket list. But to fully appreciate the rich patchwork of our pastimes, you have to look beyond the grandeur of those familiar hallowed grounds to lesser-known locales that are just as stunning: a custom-built sandlot baseball field in Texas, a Wimbledon replica in heartland farm country, an unlikely spawning ground of Olympic swimmers in a landlocked state, a small soccer club thriving in a resurgent Rust Belt city. They aren’t always easy to find, these hidden gems. You have to know where to look. But as it turns out, there’s nothing like feeling the magic of sports in places you’d least expect. Sports Illustrated photographers traveled across the country to capture some of these local masterpieces.
The All Iowa Lawn Tennis Club is a “whimsical replica” of Wimbledon, as the court’s creator puts it.
Grass tennis courts are rare in the United States, and farmer Mark Kuhn’s creation is an even rarer non-private lawn.
At the Long Time, a sandlot baseball field near Austin, the score isn’t as important as the vibe.