where women celebrate their ageless authenticity

Kiss My Axe!

The Alphabet Adventures With Nancy Hubbell Fournier (pronounced Forn yay)

Journey along with our resident humorist Nancy as she embarks on unusual adventures from A to Z. With the alphabet as her guide to new experiences, Nancy will rate her excursions as a “Fourn-Yay” or “Fourn-Nay.” Got something fun on your bucket list she should try? We’d love to hear your suggestions at intentfullyfit@gmail.com.

LETTER “A”: Axe Throwing.  A Group Of Friends Wielding Weapons What Could Go Wrong?

It looks simple. You throw the axe. It somersaults blade over handle a few times, and then lands in the bullseye, right?

That was what our group thought as we entered Stumpy’s Axe-Throwing House (how great is that name?) in Huntington Beach, Calif.  But we soon realized…axe throwing is harder than it looks.

It turns out you need to have good balance, accurate timing, and a straight release to achieve that sweet-sounding “thunk” of landing your axe into the wooden target.

So let’s start at the beginning….

I dressed in my only plaid shirt because: Lumberjack! Closed-toe shoes are mandatory, and I opted for my hiking boots to complete my pseudo-forest theme. I was not alone in my thinking as I joined numerous people in plaid flannel, and some even completed the look with suspenders.

When we arrived, and confessed that we were all axe-throwing virgins, we received guidance from a young Presley (“yes, like Elvis” she said):

Two women ready to throw axe at bullseye

  • Start with both feet together at the back line
  • Hold the axe with your thumbs evenly spaced on the back of the axe
  • Put the axe over your head, take a big step forward, and then release with arms straight out in front of you and your chest facing the target

Some other words of safety she added:

  • Don’t retrieve your axe until you’re sure no one else is throwing
  • Watch for axes that bounce back (the required closed-toe shoes have probably saved a few piggies from getting severed)
  • Don’t do trick shots and idiot moves like you’re at a drunken bachelor party

With that sage advice, I started.  As a 58-year-old woman with legacy issues from a torn rotator cuff, I’ll be honest and admit I was nervous.  I thought about all those summer camps my kids went to and learned new things. I didn’t think twice about signing them up. But when was the last time I did something new?

Suddenly, I had flashbacks to other challenges I had conquered; running a marathon (one and done!), my first-ever scuba dive where we brought the leftover seafood buffet to sharks in Tahiti, and the several times I test-drove priceless Lexus prototype vehicles on racetracks in Japan. My anxiety diminished and I confidently told myself, “You’ve got this!”

I gamely found my balance, took a big step, let my axe fly, and watched it bounce off the target and fall to the ground. Ugh.

But I realized I hadn’t released it straight and switched to stepping with my left leg instead of my right. I tried again. And again. And finally landed it sweetly, right in the bullseye.  I cheered and headed to the bullseye bell to ring in my accomplishment.

Nancy Hubbell Fournier shows off her bullseye axe throw

Midway through our evening, I got more tips from another instructor, Micah, about holding the axe with one hand. That technique didn’t work so well for me, but the guys in our group gravitated to it. As the night wore on, my fellow axers and I logged numerous bullseyes, terrible shots, and laughs. We played girls vs. guys to 21 points. FYI – the girls won (ok, maybe the guys did, too).

It was clear that the primal urge to throw…and land…an axe was rewarding. Axe-throwing entered the recreational space in the mid-2000s and locations have popped up in many urban centers since then. There’s no doubt that this is a workout for the body with your core, abs, pecs, shoulders, and arms in play. But really, that feeling of whipping a sharp object across the room and having it slice cleanly into the bullseye is the ultimate reward of axe throwing. Aggression management 101.

So, am I going to ask for my own set of axes for my birthday? (Much like bowling balls, people bring their own axes).  Ummm…no.  And should you count on me to protect you in the next Zombie Apocalypse? Probably not a smart move.

However, I did have a fun night out with a group of friends and got them to try something new, as well. And as my A to Z adventures continue, I know I can get out my metaphorical axe and slay any obstacles in my way.  I’ve got this.

It’s a wrap: (Please note: This adventure was fully paid for, this is not a promotion or partnership)

Fourn-YAY – the world can be a challenging place and while we can seek serenity and peace, sometimes it just feels good to chuck a weapon. Bring along some friends, and it makes for a fun night out!

Nancy Hubbell Fournier montage of fun faces