Surely it could not be done; could an unknown and first time thrower 13,500kms from home ACTUALLY take the Maple leaf and win the Timber Lounger Pride Week Open? Making it through to the eliminations well and truely on the leaderboard the scene was set was an epic showdown.
The Timber Lounge
There’s now more than a couple of places scattered trough-out Canada where you can throw an Axe, but all except one throw Hatchets one-arm hammer style. All except for Timber Lounge Halifx NS; the only place in North America, and possible the world where you can throw competition size double-axe handles in competition style double-overhead method. AND, you can have a beer WHILST doing it!
HOW they got that one past the licensing commissioning is beyond me. But WELL DONE Halifax, WELL BLOODY DONE.
But there was a problem.
Whilst the Timber Lounge run weekly tournaments as part of there league, if you want to just have a throw it’s based on a minimum group size of 8 for the lane hire and instruction. This was not good.
Fate however was on my side.
Not to be deterred I contact Gillian at the Timber Lounge (see The End for details); and it just happened that on the very weekend I was in town, as a fundraiser and to mark the end of Pride week a one-off tournament was on and open to anyone.
And so it was foretold. This WOULD be my chance.
Unordinary Chatting afterwards to the team at my hostel Hi-Halifax I suggested this would be a good activity they could offer, so if you find yourself in Halifax and wanting to give this ago (and you should), see if Hi-Halifax are doing i Yet. And when your at the ‘lounge say hi to Gillian for me.
The deal was simple; basic instruction provided then three practise throws followed by a round-robin competition of four rounds, each having five throws per rounds. Your total score is then tallied for the make up of the elimination rounds.
You throw from 20 feet, technique optional but all except one were using the double overhead method as is generally recommended due to the size and weight of the Axe (but we’ll get to that later). A bullseye (the Moose) is five points and there’s another four rings worth of points before you need to turn and face your audience in shame. If the blade cuts across multiple areas the highest point score wins.
Being first to signup I was first to be called onto the court for the round of practise throws. And being first on court I was acutely aware my moves WERE being watched.
Throw one it would seem I attempted to exit the axe via the building roof. Throw two, whilst avoiding the roof also did little to persuade onlookers that the target was in any real danger of being hit. Number three, again whilst closer still it similarly did nothing to unnerve the target.
So that was it. Practise over, three throws down and still a solid axe handle away from the target.
But I’m Tasmanian and we KNOW a thing or two about Axes and Trees (dont we); so I summoned the great man and asked –
“What would David Foster do?” – So got another Beer.
As nervous as a kite whose afraid of heights I re-entered the battlefield for round one, as without yet hitting the target my confidence was not good. Throw four and yet further improvement to three, but still the target eluded me. Throw five, almost. And whilst I still hadn’t hit the board it was now I felt the force was near, Davids spirit had arrived. So I steadied myself….. and got a point.
But that was all I needed, the Force had arrived, now it was GAME ON. And with throw six, it was.
At the end of the Rounds the scores were read;
First – 54 points Matt @mattpushie; two time league champion, possibly the only man on the planet to have hit a moving target from 50 feet with the double-axe handle, the only thrower in the completion using single arm hammer style and a man who’d LITERALLY just got of a plane from Ireland WHERE HE WAS THROWING IN COMPETITION.
Second – 52 points Tyler @thelittleboatthatcould; future league champion and competing WITH HIS OWN AXE.
But wait for it.
Third – 48 points; the.unordinary.traveller @the.unordinary.traveller with now 28 Career throws and five pints of Red Ale.
I gulped when it called; it was the.unordinary.traveller versus Tyler in an elimination showdown. AND this was going to be no easy match.
The leader-board shuffled around with each throw but going into the last chuck the card had Tyler up by one. Could it be, was all that was separating ordinary from the Unordinary into the finals be one last straight throw?
The scene was set.
But with that Tyler stepped up to the line and showed his experience.
And there were no longer enough points left on the board…. the dream was over.
Tyler went on to face Matt in the finals where despite a galliant effort Matt showed why he’s two time league champion putting another cut on his tree.
It was a well deserved victory; but I couldn’t help but wonder what might have been.
I did walk away from the night with a ‘T’ which I was happy about, although having forgot to check the size before leaving; like said kite whose afraid of heights, the XL sizing was a little useless to me.
After the match I was asking Matt why he threw hammer style;
“I’m a carpenter and it just feels more natural to me” he replied. So I asked the staff if I could have a few more throws and if Matt could give me some instructions.
Throw one; previously being unsuccessful through the roof this time I decided to try and tunnel a path out via the floor. Two and three whilst moving up the wall were against still along way of the target.
“Hmm, I’ve been here before”
But then, standing quietly observantly Tyler spoke up.
“Straighten your thumb” he said. “Place your thumb along the line of the handle and don’t wrap it around”.
And again we were on the board, only just a one-pointer, but on. And again I felt the Force being strong so I gave my phone Tyler and to film the next shot…..
Where to do it
2712 Agricola Street, NS
Bus number 7 from downtown runs right right nearby and well into the evening, but its easily walking distance.
Unordinary Once your done head round the corner to Good Robot and have yourself a flight of some very tasty craft beers including an Amber Stout, which alone is worth your visit.