Knife-throw­ing as a sport

THE HALL OF FAME HOLDS A THREE-DAY NA­TIONAL THROW EV­ERY YEAR TO ES­TAB­LISH THE BEST IN VAR­I­OUS CAT­E­GORIES

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do it, it’s a re­ward and it dumps en­dor­phins in our brain and it gives us im­me­di­ate con­fir­ma­tion of a job well done — right there, right then.”

‘Thunk junkies’ drove hours to Mac­carone and O’Brien’s house for the com­pe­ti­tion.

“This is one thing we have in com­mon,” said David Cox, a chef from Row­ley, Mas­sachusetts, who wore a crude knife tat­too on the in­side of his left fore­arm, a re­sult of blue ink, a sewing nee­dle and thread, and the fact that he was 13 when he de­cided it would be a good idea to cre­ate it.

In­ter­net’s role

Knife-throw­ing has been big since the 1970s, con­tended Bobby Bran­ton, who also makes knives. The in­ter­net’s emer­gence in the 1990s con­nected fel­low afi­ciona­dos and pro­vided a fo­rum for com­pe­ti­tion in vir­tual and real con­tests around the world.

As far as recog­nised cham­pi­ons in the sport, the Hall of Fame holds a three-day na­tional throw ev­ery year to es­tab­lish the best in var­i­ous cat­e­gories. Then again, the hall isn’t the only group of throw­ers; other cham­pi­ons ex­ist, too. Some­day per­haps, there will be a grand merger.

As for the typ­i­cal knifethrower, he or she is hard to de­scribe, since any­one can throw.

“There’s re­ally no age­ing out,” said Rick Lem­berg, an or­gan­iser of the on­line Aim Games, in which peo­ple com­pete by post­ing their scores. Be­cause there is no phys­i­cal con­tact, in­juries are rare, he added.

In no rush

Yet knife-throw­ing — and its vari­a­tions — linger on the fringe of pro­fes­sional sports. Con­tests am­ble. Par­tic­i­pants ap­proach the des­ig­nated dis­tance with the ur­gency of open­ing a door, size up the tar­get and thrust their fore­arm for­ward. Take a few steps back. Re­peat.

The sport can be de­scribed as a hy­brid of archery, be­cause peo­ple are aim­ing at a tar­get from a dis­tance, and darts, be­cause a sharp ob­ject is be­ing tossed.

“It’s kind of bor­ing if you re­ally look at it, be­cause it’s ‘thunk’, ‘thunk’,” Bran­ton said. “It’s ex­cit­ing for peo­ple to throw and every­thing. But as far as a vis­ual sport, it’s not.”

TV op­por­tu­ni­ties have been dis­cussed, ac­cord­ing to Mac­carone and Dag­ger. “While we have yet to carry knife-throw­ing on ESPN, we’d con­sider it if there is an au­di­ence for cov­er­age of this kind of com­pe­ti­tion and if the ac­tion is com­pelling,” Bill Hofheimer, ESPN’s se­nior di­rec­tor for com­mu­ni­ca­tions, said in an email.

Is it dan­ger­ous? Ac­tu­ally, most of the knives used in throw­ing, Dag­ger said, re­sem­ble “weird-shaped tent pegs” — the tip is sharp be­cause the han­dle and the blade are both held in mak­ing the toss. Over­all, then, the knives are not that in­tim­i­dat­ing. In ad­di­tion, some­one is al­ways des­ig­nated to be a range mas­ter when throw­ing takes place to keep the tar­get lanes clear of other peo­ple.

The New York Times

Dave Greene throws a Tom­a­hawk while com­pet­ing in the 2017 Fin­ger Lakes Fling in Ithaca, New York. There are a grow­ing num­ber of devo­tees who love the sound of knife or axe hit­ting wood.

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