I celebrated my birthday on Saturday at BATL in Pickering with a little axe throwing party.
I know, axe throwing. Where did that come from?! One of my coworkers went to the Toronto BATL (Backyard Axe Throwing League) location a while ago and was raving about how fun it was, so I was immediately intrigued. It sounded awesome. When Evan asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday this year, I responded “I would like to go axe throwing,” and he said “Well that sounds…weird but cool. Okay!” So he booked it. And then he thought back to the time we went bowling and I accidentally launched the ball behind me instead of down the lane and he was all “Maybe don’t do that with the axe…” and I didn’t, but I am kind of clumsy, so I understand his concern.
BATL is basically a big warehouse with fenced off sections set up for each party of axe throwers. It is a popular spot for birthdays (judging by the three other groups of birthday parties I saw there), and also apparently bachelor/bachelorette parties and corporate team building stuff. Your party name is in front of your section, so I was excited about this.
I felt famous. Though had I known this in advance I would have come up with a more entertaining name, like Jug Jugs’ Party or something.
Another notable thing about the axe throwing is you are encouraged to bring snacks and drinks. So we brought a bunch of chips, Timbits, and Evan brought me a giant cake with buttercream icing from Costco!
He even arranged the 2 and 3 candles to read 23 instead of 32, bless his heart. I am embracing 32 though. It’s gonna be a good year.
You were also allowed (and I might go as far as to say encouraged) to bring alcohol, so of course we brought beer.
What’s an axe throwing party without beer? You’d think alcohol and axe throwing wouldn’t mix very well, but it is well run and I felt safe. No one got decapitated or lost a limb.
We had two staff members with us in our private throwing area and I felt like we were friends by the end of it. They took us through about an hour of practice on the targets, and then we did a round robin followed by a group playoff. We were there for about three and a half hours, which I thought was the perfect amount of time. It was fun the entire time, it didn’t drag on, and I felt like we got our money’s worth (it is $45 a person with tax).
Evan was a natural.
Seriously, watch that video, he was awesome. He grew his beard just for this moment. Our girl instructor (I am kicking myself for not being able to remember her name) told me she was betting on him to win the whole thing because he was just so confident, and so smooth and controlled with his axe throwing motion. I was not surprised to hear this. Evan is always really good at all the random things. I mentioned this in my first post about the reasons why he is the best ever. He has a gift with random activities.
But Evan wasn’t the only one to get a bullseye! Here is Marni posing with hers…
Marni, if you remember, was our high school English teacher who we are now friends with. I still think she looks the same age as us.
And Joanna with her bullseye.
I had a few too. Actually I was kind of good! But not consistently good. I was really good in practice, throwing the axe felt so easy and I was nailing it most times. Then I’d move over to battle my partner and my axe just stopped sticking to the board. Just like in darts, and pool, and bowling, and random backyard games, I was good and then I sucked. So I continue to be consistent at being inconsistent, I guess.
When I played Evan during my final match I threw my best axes of the day. I was really killing it, nailing that board every time, bullseyes all over the place, and we were tied until the very end. And then he beat me. But our staff guy was like “But you should be proud! You did so well!” so that was a nice little pep talk.
Corey and Evan were next, and they actually did tie so they got to throw the REAL full sized axe for their tie-breaker.
They both missed the first time, then Corey missed again, and Evan got it to win the round. This put him against Mark for the final match. I think Evan crumbled under the pressure (we were all staring at him, watching his every move), because Mark got the win.
I don’t know if you can see it up there, but Emily thought our names were all going to be displayed on a screen like in bowling so she told our staff that her name was Emilion. They kept having trouble pronouncing that.
Man, it was a good axe throwing time!
I am really not sure where that drill came from that Corey is holding… And the water bottle Mark has they were using to saturate the wood so the axes would stick.
Our staff friends made us take a bunch of group photos making various faces.
That would be our angry face picture. Corey just seems to look disappointed. I don’t think I would want to be his child (I am thinking of my parents when I was in trouble and they would be like “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed” and it was so much worse).
I really loved axe throwing, and I am actually considering joining the league in North York.
Pickering was great, but too far for me. There are locations across the GTA, and Calgary, and they’re opening one soon in Ottawa. I don’t know about the US, but this idea is really taking off around here so I bet you’ll see it soon. Evan and I are even talking about setting up an axe throwing spot at his cottage. I’m sure it’s legal.
Afterwards we went to Lonestar for dinner, because fajitas!!!
More beer, and more friends who couldn’t make it in the afternoon.
This is my third birthday dinner at Lonestar in the past 5 years or so, and I am no stranger to the giant foam birthday hat.
That has been worn by who knows how many people. I still like it. But I still get embarrassed when the staff come out stomping and singing happy birthday. Actually, on this night it was nearing the end of the evening and they kind of trailed off mid-way through the birthday song. Oh well. If I had to sing happy birthday to a stranger every 5 minutes I’d half-ass it too.
Anyway, good times. Axe throwing, do it!