The pressure was on at Arkansas Escape Rooms when two local baseball teams decided to compete in a recent team-building event. The Benton Panthers and Bryant Hornets went head-to-head in one of Arkansas Escape Room’s special teamwork centered adventures, putting their teamwork and communication skills to the test.
Arkansas Escape Rooms is the premiere escape room in Saline County, located just off Highway 5 at North Prickett Road in Bryant. The escape room craze first came to the U.S. in 2012 and quickly grew in popularity, with one recent estimate of more than 600 located across the country.
Escape rooms provide a unique, mentally stimulating experience in which a team must solve puzzles, unlock clues and use logical thinking to escape the room of choice before time runs out. Although the clues are very challenging, according to Arkansas Escape Rooms’ owner and long-time baseball fan, Danny Chism, no special skill-set or knowledge is required to participate. “When I describe Escape Rooms to people that have never played, I tell them it’s like trying to connect all the dots with several of the dots missing. Some of our puzzles can be solved by simple observation, critical thinking, and reasoning. Others you will need to use part A that you discovered with part B to solve the problem.”
The rooms vary in difficulty and theme and are designed to promote teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills. There are currently two rooms available, with a third opening soon. The Pirate Plunder room is a pirate themed room where you are looking for an elusive pirate treasure. This room holds 12 and is a perfect team building activity. The Deadly Double Agent room is an escape the room scenario where you have 60 minutes to find the double agent files and escape or wind up in an enemy prison. This room holds six people. “The room I am most excited about is the one opening soon for the 12 plus age group. This new addition room will hold roughly 12 people and will be perfect for a child’s birthday party. The puzzles are fairly easy, and some are geared toward math, science, and geography, so the kids are having fun while they are learning.”
All of the features in the various rooms make Arkansas Escape Rooms an effective exercise for local baseball players to practice working together as a team and using quick logical thinking, much as they would do during an actual game.
Both the Panthers and the Hornets took on the Pirate’s Plunder room one at a time, and were given 60 minutes to make their escape and find the plunder. To get out of the room, the teams had to complete a series of hands-on analytical thinking puzzles to unlock clues. The Pirate’s Plunder room has a success rate of about 25 percent, so these young men had their work cut out for them. Nonetheless, both teams approached the situation with excitement and confidence.
The Benton Panthers were up first. They performed very well solving many of the puzzles contained in the room. Coach of the Benton Panthers, Mark Balisterri, was happy to see his players working together. “They had to use one another to solve the puzzles, which is what we teach in baseball. Its not an individual sport, and this was no different. I saw them divide and conquer to accomplish the same goal.” Unfortunately, they weren’t able to find the elusive treasure, but they remarked about how much they enjoyed the experience. Third baseman Ross Carter said, “I would definitely do this again, even though we didn’t escape I had a lot of fun.”
Next up were the Hornets who worked together extremely well, completing all the logic games and finding the plunder with 7 minutes and 15 seconds left on the clock. They stayed focused on the tasks at hand, proving to be the champions of this team building exercise. The Hornets were all smiles as they triumphantly made their escape. When asked how they secured the victory, Pitcher, Beaux Bonvillain said, “Staying focused was key, and keeping a cool head. Once you figure out a few of the clues, you gain that momentum and confidence that keeps you moving forward.”
Both teams had a great time, and good sportsmanship was in the air as they shook hands and talked about their experiences in the room. Coltyn Lane of the Benton Panthers commented about his experience. “The team really got a chance to bond. We are all in different grades, so it was cool to encourage the younger guys and see them unlock puzzles. I want to come back with a group of friends! I think it would be really fun.”
Not only did these young men build comradery through trust and teamwork, but they also had a blast searching for the elusive treasure!
For more information about Arkansas Escape Rooms visit their or Facebook page or check out the website www.arkansasescaperooms.com.