An Axe-Throwing Club Is Coming to Kensington

A near-bullseye throw at Urban Axes

My almost bullseye at the future site of Urban Axes in Kensington.

I must look stupid.

I have this fear a lot, but this time I’m sure of it: My left foot is forward, and my weight is all on my back foot. My hands are in front of me, and I’m trying to remember to keep my wrists at a 90-degree angle. Oh, and I’m holding a 1.5-pound axe. I pull my hands back behind my head, thrust them forward and release.

Thunk. The axe handle hits the wooden board 10 feet in front of me, then bounces harmlessly to the floor. “Maybe you actually need to move up,” my instructor says. “And keep those wrists straight!” Despite my errors, I think I’m getting the hang of it.

I’m at Urban Axes, the new axe-throwing space in Kensington a few blocks from the York-Dauphin El stop in the former Sazz Vintage warehouse. My instructor is Lily Cope, the former executive director at Cook who took a job as “axe master general” at Urban Axes earlier this year.

Four friends — two in Philly, two in Toronto — founded Urban Axes and plan to open in late July or early August, if the place gets through zoning. (It needs to switch from industrial to commercial zoning.) When it gets going, Urban Axes will hold private events and run leagues. Through it all, an Urban Axes team member will offer tips and make sure everything is running smoothly and safely.

Axe-throwing has no doubt been done in the woods for centuries, but the sport version of it traces its roots to Toronto. As Cope tells it, the founders were inspired by the dozen or so axe-throwing clubs in the Canadian city. They played the sport up north and decided Philadelphia would be the best spot for what they say is the first one in the United States. Read more »

NATIONAL NEWS: San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus Insulted at Padres Game

San Diego Gay Men Chorus (Screenshot)

San Diego Gay Men Chorus (screenshot)

The members of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus claim they were insulted with homophobic slurs while trying to perform the National Anthem.

Saturday night “turned into a nightmare” for the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus, according to a recent statement from the organization. The Padres, which sponsors an annual “Out at the Park” event geared toward LGBTQ patrons, invited the chorus to perform the National Anthem. However, once the 100 volunteer gay vocalists reached the field, their microphones were turned off and a recording of a female voice was played. The chorus also claims its members were subjected to homophobic slurs as they left the podium. “No attempt was made to stop the recording and start over,” the chorus remarked in a public statement on Saturday night. “No announcement of apology was made to the singers or their friends and families in the stands.” Read more »

Pro Baseball Player Sean Murphy, Fishtown Native, Dead at 27

Sean Murphy. Photo | MLB

Sean Murphy. Photo | MLB

The Oakland Athletics announced today that Sean Murphy, a 27-year-old minor leaguer with the franchise, was found dead yesterday in Arizona. Murphy, a native of Philadelphia, was 27.

“The A’s are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Sean Murphy,” A’s executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane said in a release. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

According to Philadelphia Baseball Review, Murphy was a native of Thompson Street in Fishtown. Like his older brother Pat, Murphy was a sports star at Northeast Catholic High School. The Spirit profiled the family just last week. Read more »

PHOTOS: Stonewall Sports Kickball Kick-Off Celebration

Mayor Jim Kenney, State Rep. Brian Sims, and Nellie Fitzpatrick photographed with members of Stonewall Sport's Kickball Team. Photography by Hugh E. Dillon.

Mayor Jim Kenney, state Rep. Brian Sims, and Nellie Fitzpatrick photographed with members of Stonewall Sport’s Kickball Team. Photography by Hugh E. Dillon.

Stonewall Sports Philadelphia opened its kickball season on Saturday, April 10th, at Marconi Park in South Philadelphia. The organization is one of the largest LGBTQ sports organizations in the city, having grown from 100 to more than 1,000 players in recent years. This kickoff event featured an appearance from Mayor Jim Kenney, and Trish Dressel — the widow of Gloria Casarez, Philly’s first director of the Mayor’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs — was on hand to throw out the first pitch. Read more »

Phillies Bring Back Kentucky Bluegrass to Infield

The old infield, during the 2015 season.

The old infield, during the 2015 season.

The Phillies are bringing Kentucky bluegrass back to their infield — the same type of turf they played on during the earliest years of Citizens Bank Park, including the 2008 World (Bleeping) Series championship.

The club had replaced the turf with Bermuda grass before the 2012 season, since Bermuda can take the punishment of hot summers and 80-plus games a little better. But players didn’t like it much.

The Wall Street Journal this week named the Phillies’ turf switch one of the changes to look for across the league this 2016 season: Read more »

Recording of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-Point Game to be Preserved by Library of Congress

Wilt Chamberlain

Photo | Malcolm Emmons- USA TODAY Sports

A recording of the fourth-quarter of Wilt Chamberlain’s famous 100-point game will be preserved by the Library of Congress, the institution announced today.

The recording is one of 25 announced for inclusion on the National Recording Registry. Other entries include Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.”

The Library of Congress described the 100-point game recording this way: Read more »

Comcast Buys Philly Tech Company to Capitalize on Sports Stat Craze

OneTwoSee co-founder Chris Reynolds and Preston Smalley, vice president of product, sports & X1 Apps for Comcast.

Done deal: OneTwoSee co-founder Chris Reynolds and Preston Smalley, vice president of product, sports & X1 Apps for Comcast in front of the Comcast tower in Center City.

In today’s era of Netflix, on-demand programming, and recorded TV shows, nobody is really watching live television — unless it’s sports. In fact, 93 percent of the top 100 live TV programs were sports content, according to a 2015 Nielsen report. In 2005, sports only made up 14 percent of live viewership.

Nobody knows this better than Comcast, a company that’s investing big dollars to make sports viewing a better experience for the viewer. Today Comcast announced that it has purchased Philly tech company OneTwoSee — the business that provides the statistics behind its X1 Sports App. Financial terms of the deal were not released. Read more »

American Ninja Warrior Qualifiers to Be Held in Philadelphia

American Ninja Warrior - Isaac Caldiero

Isaac Caldiero became the first American Ninja Warrior during last year’s competition. | Photo by Kyle Rivas/NBC

If you can get over the fact that half the contestants seem to be parkour professionals, American Ninja Warrior is one of the most fun shows on television. It’s just a simple obstacle course competition, similar to the American Gladiators Eliminator or the 1990s Nickelodeon game shows. But it’s impossible. Adapted from the Japanese show SASUKE, the show becomes such a treat when you realize how hard it is. When someone completes a round of the course — or just gets past a few obstacles, even — it’s a thrill for the audience. Last season, the show finally got a winner: Isaac Caldiero.

This year, Philadelphia is getting in on the action. Trials and regional finals will be held in Philadelphia on May 26th and 27th, according to television audience company On Camera Audiences. The news was first reported by NinjaWarrior.info, a Ninja Warrior training and fan site based in Bryn Mawr. Read more »

« Older Posts