It's not every day that a Maryland-made product gets its claim to fame on national television.
Back in 2010, Steve McLaughlin was attending his son's basketball practice, watching with a mixture of laughter and concern as the team slid across the court in their brand new basketball shoes. The slippery surface sparked McLaughlin's creativity, and now seven years later, his solution is set to be featured on Steve Harvey's new reality series, FUNDERDOME.
"It was like something out of comedy show – as the team would change direction, all the players would wipe out," McLaughlin said. "The boys couldn't play well and with the potential for injury with falls like that, I knew we had to find a way to get better traction on the court."
McLaughlin – a Harford County native and current resident of York, PA – has always had a knack for fabricating solutions to everyday problems; even as a child, McLaughlin would repair his own sports equipment. After that disastrous basketball practice, he and his son Seth spent the following weeks tinkering with ways to get improved, sustainable traction on the court. From there, Court Grabbers was born.
The lightweight system laces onto athletic shoes to restore traction. Court Grabbers includes clear Base Strips that attach to the shoe using the laces, cloth Traction Pads, and a bottle of Traction Gel. When used together, the system maintains athlete's traction for indoor sports without the need to reapply mid-game or resort to old, unsanitary practices like licking your hands and wiping your shoes.
"Court Grabbers improves player's performance by providing consistent traction as well as court safety and health." McLaughlin said. "Between injuries and falling during play, this solves a lot of problems for today's court athletes."
Court Grabbers has already sold its product to 15 countries for 16 different sports including basketball, volleyball, badminton, and racquetball. The product is marketed, manufactured, and shipped from the Greater Baltimore area and McLaughlin credits the team effort of Maryland's local businesses in making it a success. Harbor Designs in Baltimore City, Prime Manufacturing in Savage, and Pack-It, LLC in Hunt Valley are all responsible for making Court Grabbers a reality. The company hopes to dramatically increase its numbers after an appearance on FUNDERDOME, where products compete for funding through audience participation.
"It's my hope that our appearance on the show will give us the exposure to really take this technology to its full potential," McLaughlin said. "I'm hoping sports giants like Nike and Under Armour will see that this product is valuable to athletes of all ages in variety of sports around the world. Even the most expensive shoes are ineffective in dealing with the dust on the court that causes slippage. Our equipment gives your shoe the traction the manufacturer can't."
Watch Court Grabbers compete on FUNDERDOME this Sunday, July 23, at 9PM EDT on ABC. For more information about Court Grabbers visit courtgrabbers.com.