The days are long and bright, the skies are blue, and you’re just itching to get out of the office every day. You’ve got a restlessness to go on adventures, eat new foods, try new things, and meet new people. It’s summer in Canada and Canadians are feeling the spirit of endless days and excitement, the carefree kind of lifestyle you get to enjoy when you don’t have to throw a parka on every time you go outside. Summer in Canada can be intoxicating and it’s a great time to try out something new.
Lately, you’ve probably heard about the axe throwing phenomenon, whether you’ve been invited or just read about it in any number of papers or blogs across the country. Axe throwing is quickly turning into Canada’s new favourite sport; it may never upset hockey, but for adults who just want to book an axe throwing party once this summer or play in a league that doesn’t require them to have tons of equipment, axe throwing is as Canadian as it gets. Practiced in the lumber camps that first brought European settlers to many parts of this country, it’s been a way of blowing off steam and sharpening your skills in Canada for centuries.
Summer is a great time to try it out for yourself and no matter where you live in Canada, there’s axe throwing nearby. One axe throwing venue, the Backyard Axe Throwing League (BATL), has locations throughout Ontario and Alberta. Known for being one of the original, if not the first, axe throwing league to reach critical mass, rent a warehouse-style venue, and open itself up for private parties with expert leaguers instructing, it has expanded outside of Toronto into Calgary, Niagara Falls, London, Kitchener, Pickering, Ottawa, and North York. It’s not hard to find a BATL location near you, whether you’re up for walk-in axe throwing, an axe throwing party, or you want to compete in the league.
Locations are staffed by expert axe throwers who will instruct you on the art of the game; how to throw, how the match ups work, and tips on your technique. A typical match up at BATL is a dart-like competition, with two competitors facing off on the pitch. Each one gets five throws and scores on a target board (you should see what they look like after a long day). The bulls eye is worth five points and the outer two concentric rings are worth three points and one. There’s a large, no-point empty space around the ring, and two green dots in the corner: the clutch, worth seven points, but only available on the final throw.
The clutch may very well be what makes this game so thrilling and so addictive – it’s a chance to pull out of a dead-heat race, a chance to catch up after falling behind, a winner-take-all effort that can lead to upsets or crushing defeats. The point is, it’s not easy to land the clutch, and devastating when you miss it. If you want to experience the thrill of victory (or the agony of defeat) on the axe throwing pitch, check out a local venue near you.
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