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The Joy of Throwing Axes

When you think about the combined activities of drinking alcoholic beverages and throwing axes around in a room, one might fairly ask the question, “what’s the worst that could happen?” and come up with some cringe-worthy images. Yet humans have been throwing sharp objects while drinking for as long as there have been humans and sharp objects to throw. We’ve just moved the throwing of said objects into a controlled environment.

The act of throwing an axe is surprisingly easy and intuitive. If you closed your eyes for a moment and imagined throwing an axe you’d likely have a proper go of it on your first attempt. And so it is in when you’ve lubed your brain with a beverage or two. Rest assured there’s always an adult hovering around to make sure the basics are covered. Basics like proper respect for a deadly object.

Axe throwing is done in a cage. The host accepts your money, has you sign away any liability and sprays the cork wall with water to moisten it, so that the axes sink in more often than bounce off the target (I’m guessing it also extends the life of the cork). After a few minutes of basic instruction, you go about throwing axes.

The axes themselves are light stainless steel in a couple of sizes, so you don’t have to be Conan to throw the axe. The target itself is projected onto the cork, giving you a clear idea of what you’re throwing at. As with darts, you can receive progressively more points the closer to the center you get, but as with Skee Ball there are a couple of enticing small targets where you can score higher if you hit them or much lower if you miss. The rules of the arcade and life apply: It’s all about risk and reward. If you’ve played either darts or Skee Ball you’ll know where to throw. And that’s a good thing, because after all, people are drinking.

The act of throwing an axe and sticking it into the wall is profoundly satisfying and exhilerating. Our ancestors would be proud of us, sort of, for keeping the family trade alive. Or maybe they’d look around and wonder why they bothered to keep the gene pool going with all that fighting and impaling back in the day. Still, I bet they’d be a ringer in a game of axe throwing.

This may seem a trivial pursuit, and perhaps a trivial blog post too. Then again, life is about plucking joyful moments out of thin air. With all the stress and darkness in the world, it’s fun to do something completely primordial and delightfully analog. Go throw an axe—I dare you not to smile from ear-to-ear.

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