Photography by Andreea Iorga Curpan
Video editing by Jordan Biordi
Got the Holiday blues? Boss asking you to work, so you can’t join your friends at the cottage? Cat pee on your couch? Rage Room.
Who doesn’t feel like smashing a cup or plate to smithereens, the shards reminding you that, at least when it comes to dinnerware, you’re still in charge of deciding what stays or doesn’t stay intact. Up until recently these urges had to be contained or risk weird looks and incarceration (“I swear the printer came with that baseball bat imprint!”). Battle Sports to the rescue! In addition to foam-tipped archery dodgeball, they recently added the Rage Room which is exactly what it sounds like: bring your rage and release it in a safe environment. It might even turn your frustrations into fun.
Tim Cheung, one of the co-owners, told me how it all came about: “[…] we had a room left unused as we were finishing renovations. I remembered hearing about a pair of Serbians who started a similar concept in Serbia back in 2013. I thought that it would work well in Toronto because it’s such a high-stress city, so […] I decided to make it happen. We made some retrofits to the room, told some people about it, and the attention it has gotten since is phenomenal.”
Booking is more straightforward than ebay and payment can be done through Paypal. The Rage Room is open from 6pm-10pm, a good end to a stressful day and an alternative to that glass of wine that will turn into that bottle of wine.
After signing a comprehensive waiver, I put on overalls, torso protection, a full face mask (that I was extremely thankful for when a shard launched towards my face), gloves and I was ready to go: for $20 you get half an hour, 5 items to start (additional items available at fair prices) and your choice of weapons: baseball bats, golf clubs and even a mean crowbar.
It feels as good as you imagine. I found a good grip on the bat and swung with all the rage I could muster: “Oh yeah? You’re not into dating because your touring schedule keeps you busy?” *smash!* *smash!* You know, make it your own, whether it’s spiders, weird neighbours, or the fact that you’re getting socks and job fair brochures for Xmas, again. For my next visit, I will bring some pictures of anger-inducing subjects, tape them to the wall and throw plates or shards at them. Rage Room doesn’t allow burning, as of yet.
While breaking shit is gratifying, screaming helps release even more anger as long as you are OK with other people hearing a faint version, outside of the well-insulated Rage Room. I hooked up my phone to the wireless speaker and loaded Royal Blood’s album on YouTube, although in hindsight I should have gone for something more hardcore. Speaking of soundtracks, the team at Battle Sports would like your help in creating the ultimate smash-playlist so e-mail, Tweet , or Facebook them.
It was impossible to continuously break stuff for half an hour so a pause was in order. I hadn’t realized how physically taxing 10 minutes of smashing would be. It felt like a high-intensity work out or a sprint, both of which are far removed from my Netflix-binging couch-potato lifestyle. Rehydrated, I asked for something bigger to destroy. Printers are not my thing, so I opted for a simple chair, which turned out to be a lot sturdier than it looked. The harder it is to break, the more satisfying; so I recommend a large object in addition to the plates. You can even bring your own smashable for an extra $20. Once you’re done breaking you can deface the walls with some graffiti of your choosing, which is harder than you might think when your body is pumped with adrenaline.
The only downside was that the room was a tad on the small side, making it difficult to swing the bat from certain angles. Moving the centre pedestal to accommodate each person’s comfort would be an easy fix. Ask for it.
If it tickles your fancy, take some friends with you; they can watch on a security cam broadcast while they wait for their turn. Better yet, bring a date and smash things at the same time… just maybe not on the first date. Bring a USB stick to download proof of your crazy skills and upload it to YouTube, because, who doesn’t have a channel, right?
Overall, it was fun, exhilarating and just the right amount of scary for a person who refuses to ride a roller-coaster. It releases anger, if you bring it with you. I had more excitement and fun than rage that day, but this just goes to show what a versatile experience Rage Room can offer. Yours truly is definitely going back.