Jazmyne Boozer, Managing Editor and Casey Mikell, Visual Editor
It’s been a long day. Your alarm went off late, making you miss your morning devotional time. You get to your job in which you deal with way too much for too little pay. Your colleagues are morons who somehow manage to keep their jobs and maybe it’s because your boss is a nutjob too. Let’s not forget our crumbling society, our hysterically terrible political climate and everyday chaotic lives. It’s no wonder that Americans are investing in more and more activities to alleviate their stress.
There are many ways that people alleviate said stress. Some exercise, some squeeze a stress ball, and some hurl axes. That’s right. At Craft Axe Throwing you can pay $13 for 30 minutes of throwing or $20 for an hour.
Craft Axe Throwing is tucked away behind an abandoned and graffitied water tower. Stationed between railroad tracks, a Cross-fit gym and White Duck tacos; the location adds to the already niche environment. Walking inside can be a bit intimidating. First time guests can expect to hear the loud clang of fortified steel splintering wooden targets. Between this and the brazen roar-cries of victory of someone finally hitting their mark; one can feel like they are thrown back in time to a more primitive society.
All the workers look the same too. Their neatly trimmed beards all tickle the first buttons of their flannel shirts. Each one accessorizes in their jeans. They are either Wrangler or Levi’s men. Although they have merchandise on display, they never wear it...they are far too cool for that.
The aesthetic is what you would expect for any male-owned, rugged and tough company: minimalist. There are multiple lanes with multiple targets. A “stock-room” is clearly seen with stacks and stacks of wood for when the targets have endured enough punishment. Spray paint occupies a back corner of the stock room to allow for quick rebuilding.
After interacting with the “worker-hipsters" and signing a long waiver you’re in. You will be given three axes and a quick two-minute lesson on the dos and don’ts of hurling a weapon. They will also teach show you the three different games you can play. The classic way is to play ten rounds and the one with the most points wins. The bright red bulls-eye is worth three points, the inner ring is two and the outer ring is one. The two tinier blue dots outside and on top of the main target are worth five points. One can also play for accuracy meaning the closest to the bulls-eyes wins the set, best out of seven sets wins the game.
From here, you are kind of on your own. If you go with a group of “first-time-hurlers", no one will want to go first. Although you’ve been given a spectacular two-minute lesson; there’s still something you need to tap into. Axe throwing is not pretty. There’s something innately primal about throwing a weapon with two hands above your head and watching it slam and stick to your target. Some can tap into it quickly. Those who can embrace the awkward stance, the awkwardness of the whole idea of throwing axes and throw in a grunt or two usually come out on top.
The first few throws will feel uncomfortable. You’ll see those around you who seemingly have been throwing axes their whole life. Your axe will probably hit the target at awkward angles or maybe not even come close at all. You may get stares from the “hipster-workers” who wonder why you just cannot throw the axe exactly like they showed you. You may be even so unlucky as to be in a lane next to one of the people from their axe-throwing league.
With all this in mind, nothing beats the satisfaction of finally seeing your axe fly at exactly the right angle and at the right speed to stick to board. You won’t care how many points you earned with that first axe; you’ll just feel powerful. This is where the stress alleviation can begin.
“At first I was nervous and a little scared,” Sarah Bishop, junior, stated when asked her first experience was. [I] didn’t think I was strong enough to even throw it but at the same time I couldn’t wait to throw it”
When asked how it felt when she first struck the board she stated, “I was so excited. [I felt] strong.”
What seems to be the best aspect of axe throwing is that it can work for any occasion. From just a fun and corky night out, to bachelorette parties and date nights; it can help you blow off some steam, or just be a fun day out with some friends.
“It was amazing,” Casey Mykell stated after her first time going. “I felt empowered and stronger than what I thought...I would highly recommend it to anyone.”
So, if you’re ever in a stressful situation, lose the stress-ball, drop the dumbbells, and pick up an axe. Not a random axe...but an axe at Craft Axe Throwing. If for nothing else, you’ll gain respect from all your peers when you send them a video of you heaving an axe and hitting the bullseye.