CHEK Upside: IRL Battle Arena returns after pandemic hiatus

CHEK Upside: IRL Battle Arena returns after pandemic hiatus
WatchGames such as Nerf gun fights, laser tag and combat archery are all back as part of IRL Battle Arena's return after a pandemic shutdown.

At Mount Douglas Park, the battle lines have been drawn.

Not for an invasion, but a Nerf gun war.

IRL Battle Arena was created amidst the COVID-19 pandemic as a way for people to safely enjoy a variety of different games, such as Nerf, laser tag and combat archery.

“IRL means In Real Life,” says IRL founder Derek Madson.

“So the idea is we’re playing the kinds of games that you’d maybe play in a first-person shooter online, but we’re getting outside and we’re actually playing it for real,” says Madson.

After hosting several events at Pacific FC’s indoor training facility last summer, Madson and his team had to put things on hold when pandemic restrictions tightened in the fall.

Now with restrictions lifting and the battles returning, they’ve been a huge hit.

“It’s been awesome, we went up to the one that they had in Langford before we weren’t able to do that anymore and we’re having a lot of fun outside,” says participant Mike Vardy.

“My favourite part I think is just like in general getting this many people to fight together because most of the time it’s just me and my dad or me and like one or two friends at my house,” says Mike’s son Colton.

As the summer rolls on, IRL plans on hosting more events to give back to the community.

“The plan is for every Sunday through the rest of the summer to have a charity donation event for Island Prostate,” says Madson.

It’s a great way to get out and get active.

“It feels like a sense of normality’s returning and we can get outside especially when the weather’s this great,” says Vardy.

To learn when the next Battle Arena event is taking place, visit the IRL website.

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Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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