commentary by Claire Voltarel, Campus Carrier managing editor
Rome Axe Throwing, one of the newest additions to the entertainment scene in Rome, provides our community with the unexpected thrill we didn’t know we needed. Their light-hearted take on a seemingly dangerous activity is equally exciting as it is stress-relieving, and worth every penny of their $15 per hour charge for Berry students and faculty (on Fridays only).
Pulling up to their building on 8th Avenue, I didn’t know what to expect. My first impression of the space was secure but surprisingly open. A majority of the inside is dedicated to fans of throwers, with lounge chairs, a popcorn machine and bar stools to watch. Employees even noted that we could have ordered a pizza while we played. I went with a group of five individuals, however, only two of us actually threw. The others hung out and watched as we attempted to even come close to the target. It was a fun and casual atmosphere that took the edge off my nerves and made the activity exciting even for those who weren’t participating. Everyone likes to have someone in their corner.
As for the actual axe throwing area, three cages with two boards each were separated by chain-link fences and boards from floor to ceiling (for obvious reasons). My partner and I threw side by side at a large target about 7 feet in front of us, and the bullseye was at eye level. Marks on the floor separated where you could stand to throw or stay back until you could collect your axe.
Rules were enforced for safety, but easy to remember. Each group had a designated employee to show the throwers techniques, lead them through games and hold conversation in downtime. Employees were experienced and friendly, so I was quick to trust their guidance while enjoying myself.
We caught on quicker than I anticipated, and my partner and I were at varying levels of athleticism, so really anyone could do it. The trick is to throw the axe so it completes a 360-degree rotation to land the head on the target, and our guide showed us a few ways to attempt this, all of which could be mastered in no more than three throws. The stations also included various kinds of axes, so we could try out different weights and shapes to find the one most comfortable. Plus, the 2000s alt-rock music playing in the background really got us into our zone.
After about 20 minutes of throwing and figuring out what worked (mostly what didn’t), my partner and I were feeling comfortable enough to try a little competition. Our guide kept score as we each took turns throwing for 10 rounds to see who could get the most points, as the rings of the bullseye were labeled with quantities. This game was a great way to liven up our appointment, as simply throwing for an hour could have turned boring. The game was the perfect balance of challenging and relaxed, and our friends on the sidelines got into it as well.
Hitting the target with a perfect throw is one of the most satisfying moments. The cage became a runway as I strutted to retrieve my axe from the bullseye and slide it out of the split I had just made in the board. Other times, the cage became a walk of shame as I briskly stepped to retrieve my axe and head back to the line before all dignity was lost.
Overall, Rome Axe Throwing is well deserving of the hype. As a newbie, the kind employees were helpful but hands-off when my group wanted to have our own time. The relaxed environment proved enjoyable for both participants and fans alike, and allowed room for you to find your rhythm in your throw and test it, or laugh at yourself when the axe barely stayed inside the cage. The activity is easy enough to pick up, but challenging enough to want to get better.
For those looking to dive deeper into the axe throwing experience, Rome Axe Throwing offers other methods of participation for more advanced or committed throwers. They have weekly competitions to win your own axe, or even an eight-week league for $125.
In any capacity, if you have any interest in trying it out I would absolutely recommend giving Rome Axe Throwing a shot. If you decide to go, fill out the waiver and reserve your spot online to save time once you arrive. Additionally, Berry students and faculty should consider going on Fridays to get a discount of $15 per hour with their ID.
For more information or to make a reservation, visit http://www.RomeAxeThrowing.com.