BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - "They showed me the ax throwing area and I was completely stunned. I never expected to be doing anything like this ever in my career," says Autobahn Head Ax Coach Patrick Murphy.
That's right. He's an ax throwing coach.
He left his job as a sales manager ADT to join the new facility, and says it's an experience everyone should try.
"I feel like it's a great away to get out of the house and get away from life for a minute. A fun alternative instead of going to the park, if you want to go out and take out a little bit of anger or take out a little bit of frustration from the work week and the office, come out and throw a couple of axes and you'll relax it will help you calm down and it will help you have a lot of fun," says Murphy.
The ax throwing facility looks kind of like batting cages. The concept is similar to darts, just with axes and much bigger wooden targets. For groups of four or more, coaches will establish teams and competitions.
Don't worry, even if you haven't even held an ax before, you can still play.
"Usually we will start out with just the holding of the ax first. We wil start out with the two hand throw and after the two hand throw usually they will have it down pat, and usually they will be sticking it in the board by their 4th or 5th throw," says Murphy. "Then they are ready for the competition. You can go head to head with your spouses or your family."
That's just what Braden and Barry Smith did. The father and son duo came for the high speed go kart racing track, and were drawn to the ax throwing.
"It's pretty fun," says Braden. "It will take a lot of practice but it's fun to do." His Dad agrees.
"It's fun, I didn't think it would be such a fun thing to throw an ax into the wall and make it stick," says Barry.
The sport of ax throwing is believed to be an old tradition that originated in Europe, though modern contests have been growing in recent years. There is even an "International Ax Throwing Day," which was of course the day of the grand opening of the ax throwing facility at the Autobahn.
Autobahn Development director Bill Harris says the sport has been taking off in bigger cities like Philadelphia and Chicago, and after studying the industry, he feels Birmingham is ready.
"We are proud to bring it to Birmingham, and we hope to add it to our other locations around the country," says Harris.