Battling axes at the end of the semester


Axe throwing isn’t new to this blog. Sarah has written about axe throwing before. See Livin’ on the Edge(s). She did great a job of explaining what it’s all about and she’s good at it too. Sarah made it sound like so much fun that I wanted to go too. So when a mutual friend announced she was organizing a group to go, I chimed in, “me too, me too.”


The day we went, Sarah won our championship. You can tell because she’s front and center, holding the big axe.

But it’s new to me. And I’m not so good at it. I still had a lot of fun so this is the perspective of someone who isn’t talented at throwing sharp things at targets. If you’re picking people for your zombie apocalypse survival team, you want Sarah not me. If you’re going for fun and laughs, then maybe I’m the axe thrower you want. Okay, it’s probably a toss up.

So some thoughts about axe throwing…

First, there is something satisfying about the thud as the axe sinks into the wood. That’s a very nice sound. Not so nice is the sound of the axe bouncing off the wood and clattering on the floor. It’s hard not to do the skittish “dance of disappointment” when that happens. Even the toughest of us did it.

Second, the skill level required to get the occasional axe on the target isn’t that high. I think most people are good enough to have fun. It’s kind of like my fave card game, Wizard, that way. Almost anyone can play. Our kids started when they were 8 or so. But the game is hard enough to interest people who are actually good at cards. Ditto axe throwing as a physical activity. Once you’re consistently hitting the wood, you can focus on the bull’s eye. (I got two!)

Here’s one:


Third, I don’t know if it’s just because it’s the end of the term and I’m dealing with student grade appeals and my own overdue writing deadlines. Or because it’s been a really rough past six months, really rough past two years but it felt very good to throw axes. One of us even used the phrase “profoundly satisfying.”

I suggested we might imagine aiming at difficult people in our lives but one of us thought that was too violent, that it wouldn’t work for her. Trump’s name might have come up in this context. Someone else volunteered that she would do better aiming at positive things like goals for the coming year. I’m not sure I could imagine throwing axes at specific people but “take that, patriarchy” worked well for me.

Fourth, take a big group. I can’t imagine that it would be anywhere near as much fun with just two or three other people. You need enough people to have play-offs and to chat and eat snacks between axe throwing. (It’s bring your own snacks. No alcohol allowed and that suited me just fine. Drunken axe throwing does seem like a risky idea.) There were all different sorts of groups there. My friends saw a bridal shower there. It would work well for work groups as a team building outing too.

Fifth, the instructors were cheerful and patient and had great throwing tips. My guess is that they’ve seen lots of different people come through their doors and they’re gotten really good at teaching and at encouraging people. We liked Bruce, our instructor in the photo below, a lot. Thanks Bruce! I’ll be back!