BATAVIA — Cradle a hatchet in your hand. Then take careful aim and impart just the right amount of rotation.
With skill or luck, you’ll get a bullseye, and probably have a lot of fun in the process — which is why Eric and Sarah Jones have opened Game of Throws at the Harvester Center.
The sports and recreation establishment includes axe-throwing galleries, soccer pool and two cornhole lanes. It officially opened Saturday morning.
“My brother actually owns one in Pennsylvania,” Eric said. “He started with escape rooms and, two years ago, he incorporated an axe-throwing game. We got to talking about it, and said, ‘Why not try something up here?’”
Axe throwing has been growing in popularity, whether as a sport or fun. It’s as simple as tossing a hatchet at a sizeable wooden target, but with some subtleties along the way.
Demonstrating on Saturday, Eric stood at a painted line on the floor, lined up his arm and threw.
It’s not so much about strength as the technique that makes a person successful. Sarah said the axe’s rotation is key — it needs a bit of spin to lodge itself in the wood.
“You have to try it,” she said. “The fun of it is getting the axe to stick. You have to be at a certain length and you have to have a certain rotation — everybody’s different.
“Everybody’s excited when they get it to stick,” she continued. “Once you get it to stick, you can go on and do scores, and compete against each other.”
Safety is basic and commonsense, and axe throwing might be considered vaguely similar to a game of darts.
The person throwing stands out in front of the others. Rubber mats are located on the floor in front of the targets, to absorb the energy if a hatchet hits the floor.
Even if a hatchet makes it off the mat, it’s typically low-energy.
“They don’t come flying at you (if you miss) but sometimes they skid along the floor,” Eric said. “Closed-toed shoes are a must because they do skip back.”
The Joneses generally recommend about 13 years old and up for those participating.
They recommend booking an appointment beforehand. Check www.gameofthrowsbatavia.com for more information, and follow the “Game of Throws Sports & Recreation” Facebook page for more information.
Once they’re booked, people have about an hour of fun.
“We also want people know that if they book it, it’s available to them,” Sarah said. “They don’t have to wait. Their lane will be ready. Like have a group of 10 people, you know you’ll be able to play — this is your spot. We’ll teach you and then let you have at it. Same as the soccer pool.”
The result is a fun test of skill.
“This is so much fun,” Sarah said. “You have to try it.”