Sure, you can have parties just about anywhere – at your home, at a restaurant, at a bar or pub – but they’ll generally just amount to the same thing: people sitting around with drinks talking. Don’t people already do that enough? As if people need another excuse to go eat a meal or hang out in their home!

If you want to add some thrill and excitement into your next party, whether it’s a birthday party, bachelorette party or whatever else, put together an axe throwing party and invite all your friends. Not only is it engaging and exciting, but it’s also competitive, cool and a surprisingly good workout. BATL, which stands for Backyard Axe Throwing League, here in Chicago rents out private lanes for a reasonable price, and includes a lesson from their expert axe throwers on form and technique, followed by a tournament.

Essentially, axe throwing is all about form. Gripping the axe like you would a bat and making sure it’s very straight, you begin by bringing the axe back behind your head. Then, keeping your feet in a pitcher’s position – that is, with your foot opposite your throwing arm forward –hurl the axe forward in a fluid motion, making sure to keep it as straight as possible. Release the axe when your arm is straight and parallel to the target. It will take some practice, but there are the fundamentals, just in case you want to get a head start before you go axe throwing with your friends.

The reason why this makes for such a good party is because it divides the evening into three stages essentially. The first stage is actually learning how to throw an axe, which keeps everybody engaged, and always gets a few laughs as everyone watches everyone else struggle to initially get it right. Everyone is motivated by a natural desire to want to be good at something, so everybody has fun. Next stage is the competition – place some friendly wagers on who will win, and let your competitive side come out. This usually leads to some good-spirited trash talking, some laughs and a generous amount of high fives.

Finally, when the competition is over and you hit the bar, or head home, you do the all-important post-mortem conversation about the competition. You feel exercised without even knowing it, so there’s a lovely sense of accomplishment and you’re still running on that euphoric high of trying a new activity. Plus, you’re bound to get a few awesome photos out of it as well, since everyone – literally everyone – looks cool while throwing an axe through the air.

So, yes, you could go the normal, low-key route with your next party, but why would you when there’s something this exciting that combines competition, physical activity and a freaking axe? There are plenty of opportunities in a Chicago winter to hit the pub with friends – if it’s a part you’re after, why not try something different?

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