While Orange County may best be known for its Disney theme parks, surfing beaches, and pop culture television/movie fame, this slice of congested southern California real estate (population 3MM) may very well be the #1 breeding ground for professional athletes in the U.S.
Hundreds of high school athletes throughout Orange County have gone on to succeed in professional sports. And, unlike other areas of the country known for "growing" athletes in a particular sport (e.g., football in Western Pennsylvania and basketball in NYC), Orange County consistently churns out talented athletes in every sport imaginable. We're not just talking about men and women who enjoyed a six month stint in the minor leagues. Some of professional sports' most famous players got their start in this athletic incubator.
Who are some of these famous athletes you ask? Ever hear of a golfer named Tiger Woods? Yep, he took his first swings inside his O.C. garage. Football fans, get a load of these names: Carson Palmer, Tony Gonzalez, DeShawn Foster, Matt Leinart, Bubba Smith, Reuben Droughns, Tony Parrish, Steve Beuerline, Steve Deberg, and Rob Johnson, all Orange County offspring. Want Major League Baseball examples? Mark McGwire, Trevor Hoffman, Jim Edmonds, Shawn Greene, and JT Snow are just a few.
Lest you think this success is limited to Orange County testosterone, O.C. women have also advanced to the top of the athletic ranks. Sasha Cohen (figure skating), Amanda Beard (swimming), Joy Fawcett (soccer), and Rochelle Ballard (surfing), are stars in their sports and hometown heroines.
Maybe, it's in the water? Whether it is or isn't, be sure to drink up during your O.C. stay. Who knows? It may help you back at the office or even in your next amateur event.